It May Take A Village to Get Me Muzzleloader Hunting After Thanksgiving
Phil Godding 11.23.21
We have all heard the phrase “It Takes A Village” in some form or fashion. The premise is that we are all bound together and the antithesis is that we are all rugged individualists. The extremes of this statement are easy to pick apart, but sometimes the village idea holds true. We all we need people watching over us. I recall that at the start of my 2nd year of college I collected my financial aid check and made a beeline for the local grocery store – things had gotten pretty lean in my cupboard. As I pushed my cart down the aisle I spied a display of beef jerky in a big red can – the motherload of young male nourishment. As I was just picking up the can I looked up to see the university bursar (a person who manages the financial affairs of a college) staring at me intently. She simply shook her head “no,” and we both went our separate ways. I still think of store-bought beef jerky as a delicacy I should not afford! The village kept this student from blowing his financial aid on jerky.
Last month, I co-taught my Minnesota “Permit to Carry” class with my brother in the small town of Bluffton. While waiting for my turn to teach I wandered around the sporting goods store hosting our class. It was a new store and I wanted to see the merchandise. On the glass counter were several raffle tickets waiting to be sold to support a local baseball team. There were a variety of prizes, but I was mostly interested in supporting the young man minding the till. A little outside of my village boundary, but he was a nice young man.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. In the mail I receive a notice that I was now the proud owner of a CVA Wolf muzzleloader! After I “opened up” my schedule to pick up my prize I hit the CVA website. I watched YouTube and Googled all sorts of rabbit trails. It turns out that hunting with a muzzleloader is like traveling with a toddler – there are lots of doodads, widgets and thingamabobs to put in my kit.
When everything was laid out on my bench there seemed to be a lot missing. My kit was surprisingly vacuous because of a lack of powder and primers on store shelves. Does this sound familiar? Store “G” had bullets, but empty space for powder. My friend, Adam, was able to tell me what works for him, and he had some of those things in stock. As I left that store I was at the half-kit stage. Store “R” had little to offer, but some white solid propellant, breach grease, and a bit of bore butter. Online retailers had even less in stock for muzzleloader hunting.
Time to call in the village.
Mike, the guy who handed the CVA Wolf to me, told me a few things of importance, but I mostly admired his Springfield Armory 1911 in .45 ACP attached to his hip. He told me about the benefits of swapping out springs to aid in recoil management. It is always good to make small talk with the local store owners just in case you need a favor someday or you just want to learn something. I want Mike to remember my interest in his store. I also thanked him for supporting local youth sports. Alas, his store was devoid of primers and powder as well. My friend and fishing buddy Dick, in the next village over, reveled in my muzzleloader good fortune and stopped by the house with his old kit that had some primers, powder, bore buttered patches. Dick is teaching his grandkids rifle hunting so he would not be needing the contents of his kit this year for muzzleloader hunting. My friend Al insisted that he be the one to teach me the finer points of muzzleloader hunting. Under his watchful eye, we judiciously used 10 primers on a variety of bullets, sabots, powders, and primers until just at dusk my last shot was a bullseye.
All told my kit holds seven #209 primers, twenty bullets, a couple of ball-starters, a 2nd ramrod, three kinds of formed and loose muzzleloading powders, some patches, bore cleaner, and plastic tubes for carrying all I would need for a couple of shots. Sometimes it does take a village to get ready to go muzzleloader hunting for whitetail deer.
And yes, I have some beef jerky in my backpack tucked right beside my kit.
Post-Script: Down the road I’ll write a review, but I find muzzleloader hunting and preparation like reloading pistol ammunition except the primer goes on last. The CVA Wolf has a nice trigger, and being an inline muzzleloader, maintenance is relatively easy. Of course, the best part of each shot is the big plume of smoke that obscures the target for a couple of moments. There is nothing better than the smell of gunpowder in the woods.