Rusty Divine

Live, Love, Learn, Teach

Powderhook.com is great for Beginning Hunters and Expert Hunters

pwdrhkIf you know how to hunt and need to find some people or places to go, or if you don’t know how to hunt and need to find some people to show you the ropes, then Powderhook.com is a great resource for you.

I’m a good shot and have been around guns, but have only hunted a few times in my life. This year I would like to learn how to hunt whitetail deer and I have a lot of questions about how to prepare myself, find the deer, and what to do with the deer after its harvested.

I am going to be learning by following the hunting learning path at OutdoorU.org, watching some videos, and checking out the library. I also would feel better getting out with someone with experience that can answer questions I will certainly still have my first few times out.

At Powderhook I created a discussion room (called a Card) for Lincoln Nebraska area hunters that is meant to connect beginners and experts in this area so that the experts can mentor us beginners and we can all have a good time and make new friends.

Not long after I posted Eric Dinger, the CEO and co-founder of Powderhook, dropped in to answer some of my questions! Hopefully it will be of some help to you, too, and I hope to see you there on Powderhook if you are interested in hunting:

My beginner-hunter questions:

  1. Where to go (Powderhook should be able to help there!)
  2. How close should you be to confidently make the kill (depending on your own skill of course); is 80% sure good enough for example?
  3. What happens if the animal is just wounded; how to finish it as cleanly as possible?
  4. What do you do after its dead - field clean, how to get it out to your vehicle, where can you take it (esp. deer)?
  5. and of course tips and tricks for tracking and finding game and general etiquette so that I don't feel like a newbie.

 

Eric’s answers:

  1. We can help. And, you've got a bunch of time to get ready for next year. Let's talk again this summer about finding a spot.
  2. I think many people would answer this question differently. The idea is if you're going to shoot at a deer you should be really confident you're going to kill it. Not sure if that's 80% or 95%, but it's probably a highly situational deal no matter your confidence level. For example, with some practice, a good scope, rest and a standing deer you could be accurate to several hundred yards. I've never killed one over 200 yards. Boone and Crockett would tell you that anything over 300 yards is not considered fair chase. I fall in the camp of 'if you're confident you'll make an ethical shot, then shoot.' Much of the fun is about getting close - so if I were just getting started I'd force myself to get really accurate up to 150 yards and hunt until I had a chance at an animal in that range. Doers choice, though, no judgment here!
  3. If you wound a deer you want to give it ample time to expire. Most deer you hit solidly with a rifle will die within a few hours. The last thing you want to do is chase them when they're wounded - they'll run for miles and you'll never find them. If you're confident you hit the deer a good rule of thumb is to give it at least an hour before you move. That hour will feel like 4 hours... which is why I'm saying an hour and not 30 minutes! If you pick up a really good blood trail you're probably safe to continue to track the deer. If there is scattered blood and you're not sure you made a lethal shot, I would back out and give the deer a few more hours. If you come up to a deer that hasn't expired but doesn't run, the ethical thing to do is make a lethal shot or use your knife do the same. Use the barrel of your gun to touch the deer's eye to make sure it's dead.
  4. Field dressing a deer is not nearly as difficult as you'd think. That said it's definitely intimidating at first. My suggestion? Find a friend who will show you in person. Or, there are lots of "how-to" videos online. The long and short of it is you have to get what's inside out - ideally without cutting into the intestines and getting deer musk all over your new jacket. Ha! My Step Dad showed me once and I've been good to go ever since. If you end up shooting a deer on your own, hit me up and either I will come help you or I'll find you someone who will - wherever that might be. As for where to take it, Schuster's is what I hear everyone talk about [Other spots in NE]. I always took mine to C and C in Diller, Ne, but I think they're done doing it as of this year. You can also do it yourself, but I don't because I don't have a good place to do it. Most importantly - just make plans to go. The rest will come together for you. There are hundreds of people like me who would love nothing more than to help you get started.

 

I have a lot of time to prepare before next season and am looking forward to finding some great places and new friends over at Powderhook.

2014 WASP-B Trapshoot League Schedule

Here is the 2014 WASP-B schedule. You can come shoot at any one of these even if that’s the only shoot you decide to try.

April 6: Valley

May 4: Ashland

May 18: Lincoln T&S

June 1: Papillion

July 13: Bellevue

August 17: Nebraska City

September 14: Finals at Valley

All club shoots start at 8am and close at 3pm. Finals start at 8am and close at 2pm.

Here’s some more information about the WASP-B league from a previous post, and they have a website this year, I think for the first time: http://waspbleague.com/

2013 WASP-B Trapshoot League Schedule

2013 WASP-B Schedule

Here is the 2013 WASP-B schedule. You can come shoot at any one of these even if that’s the only shoot you decide to try.

April 7: Nebraska City

April 21: Valley

May 5: Ashland

June 2: Lincoln T&S

July 7: Papillion

August 18: Bellevue

September 15: Finals at Nebraska City

All club shoots start at 8am and close at 3pm. Finals start at 8am and close at 2pm.

Public Access to Target Shooting in Lancaster County (near Lincoln), Nebraska

Update for 2015:

There are now some other options for target shooting in Lincoln Nebraska. Big Shots is a terrific indoor range, and Outdoor Nebraska has a really good brand new facility for archery and guns.

There are also some Wildlife Management Areas where you may be able to shoot – these are from 2012 so may be different/closed. Always look for the signs posted. Happy shooting:

WMAs

Branched Oak_Target Shootingolive creek_Target ShootingOsage WMA_Target ShootingPawnee WMA_Target Shooting

STAGECOACH_Target ShootingTWIN LAKES_Target ShootingTwin Oaks WMAWAGONTRAIN_Target ShootingWildwood_target shooting

/End 2015 update

I like going to the indoor range, Thunder Alley, in Lincoln. I hear that the Izaak Walton range just east of Lincoln is a great place, too.  But, sometimes I just want to shoot outdoors.

I’ve looked at the NRD website, and app, and cross-referenced with the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoors site and their Guide to Hunting on Public Lands, 2011 and Public Access Atlas then checked which nearby areas allow at least some target shooting on a map I copied from Nebraska Sportsman’s Atlas, 1995.  I’ve also put a request for information into the Southeast Wildlife Manager listed in the Guide to Hunting Public Lands for more information.

There are only a few spots in Lancaster County, NE, that allow target shooting.  I haven’t ground-truthed any of these yet, but evidently there will be signs posted in areas that are off limits: Wildwood, Branched Oak, Wagon Train, Stagecoach, Olive Creek, and Teal Lake:


View Target Shooting in Lancaster County, NE in a larger map

WASP-B Trap Shoot League, Nebraska

2012 WASP-B Schedule

Here is the 2012 WASP-B schedule. You can come shoot at any one of these even if that’s the only shoot you decide to try.

April 15: Bellevue

May 27: Nebraska City

July 8: Valley

July 15: Ashland

August 12: Lincoln T&S

September 2: Papillion

September 16: Finals at Bellevue

 

Ed Divine

Mom_Dad_HouseMy father, Ed Divine, was an avid trap shooter.  When I was a young boy, I’d play “army” with the silver and golden men shouldering their shotguns that he had taken off the trophy pedestals won over the years, many before I was even born.  He enjoyed loading his own shotgun shells and had worked for a time for Western Gun and then Pacific Tool Company (of Pacific Reloader fame) before it was purchased by Hornady.

Each summer for over 40 years he would shoot in the WASP-B trap shoot league (WASP-B => Wahoo, Ashland, Seward, Bellevue; I believe).  He often said that the WASP-B was a little like a secret society because you almost had to know someone who shot the league who could tell you how to get to all the different trap clubs that are scattered around southeastern Nebraska.

He taught me to shoot, and my mom, too, and now we carry on the tradition each year.  This post is dedicated to his love of the sport of trap shooting, and I hope he would be proud to see that I am trying to help others find their way into this still hard-to-find league.

 

WASP-B League

WASP-B Trap Shoot

Each summer there are six regular shoots, and one prize shoot.  The location of the first shoot each year is also the location of the finals shoot, and it rotates to a different club each year.  Each shooter picks a club to shoot for, and that club is responsible for handing out any special prizes for its best-in-class shooters.  All ages are welcome; the WASP-B league is really a learning league for folks of all skill levels.  It is very low-pressure and forgiving to newbies – a great place to try out the sport and meet some other shooters.  You can shoot at just one, or two, or however many you want, and you don’t have to pre-register; just show up.

 

What to Expect

A typical trap shoot day begins at 8am on the Sunday of the shoot, although you can show up anytime up until 3pm to shoot.  First, you find the club house and the folks taking the dues (cash or check only) [Note: don’t bring your gun into the clubhouse, and when you are carrying it around keep the action open and unloaded].  If you’ve shot before, you’ll have a registration card with your name and class on it (if not, ask them how to sign up).  Show the card to the folks and pay your shooting fee (as of 2012 it is $11 per shoot).  They’ll mark you down on a sheet with up to four other shooters; the group of you is called a “squad”.  You may get to pick your post (your starting position), and if you are new to the sport pick any post except post 1, because that post is the squad leader who has a few minor responsibilities.  They’ll also tell you your “house” or “trap”, which is the number of the low box on the ground where the blue rocks are slung out from.  You can ask them how much wait-time to expect, they usually know if you need to hurry and get your gun or not.

Most of the clubs have a sign for which squad is shooting, and which squad is on deck, and most of the clubs have 5 or more squads shooting at the same time, so usually you won’t have to wait for more than one squad to finish.

When your squad is up, take your position at the 16-yard mark (the closest to the trap house) on the post your name marked by when you paid.  There will be a score keeper who sits back a ways from the 16-yard who has the sheet and can tell you your spot if you forgot.  Don’t put more than one shell in your gun, and generally don’t close your gun until the person to your left has fired.  When it’s your turn, shoulder your gun, sight it around the top of the trap house, and say, “banana” and watch for the rock to fly.  (Ok, actually it is more common to say “Pull” or “Yaaaaa” than “banana” – there are voice-activated automatic rock throwers at all the clubs now, so say whatever you like, but draw it out long and low so they pick up on your voice) 

Limit your movements – try not to be turning around or bending down a lot, it’s distracting for everyone else on the line.  Each shooter takes turns shooting once, then you repeat until you each have shot five shells.  At that time, you all move to the next post to your left and the score keeper calls out how many rocks you broke out of the last five.  Once you shoot at all posts, 25 shots total, you take a break and go back to the gun stand to get another box of shells ready.  After about 5 minutes, you come back to the post you started on and shoot another 25.  And then your done!  You can go home at that point, but I’d recommend getting some pie and a cup of coffee before you go.

100_0536On the final shoot of the year you will be assigned to a 25-person group that is also called a class.  Don’t confuse this class with the class listed on your card, it is just the group’s designation.  It does, however, indicate how well you’ve done that year because the 25 shooters with the best season average go into class A, followed by the next 25 in class B, and so on.  The good news is that if there are say 13 classes (A to M, say), then there will be 13 prize tables with nearly identical prizes.  So, you are competing with people within your range where the person in your class that day who gets the best score gets to pick their prize first, followed by the second best, and so on.  I think they sometimes have shoot-offs, but it may be for best overall or best veteran – I’m not sure, and I’ve obviously never been in one!