Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Richard Machholz
What do you do when it is too cold and windy to shoot on a rare weekday off? Why you get your dogs and you head to the range of course. Now 40 degrees and cloudy isn’t my idea of a perfect day and add 15 to 25 mph gusts and the day becomes much less ideal.
So first things first. I shooed my wife off to work, number one priority.
Since I was already up and moving, I got dressed, headed out and had a nice breakfast with the early crew at the local coffee hangout. After all the usual “When are you going to retire?” and “What are you doing off today? Did you retire?” questions and comments about the lack of components I begged off and headed home.
It didn’t take long to determine there was a wind chill involved in the day as I filled the bird feeders. I glanced at the thermometer as I went in and it said 36! So I thought rather than even try to shoot, why not take the dogs and head to the farm and let them run while I did some chores. Dressed appropriately and ready to head out, I put my boots on, loaded up the dogs, and off we went.
I turned off the main road onto our lane and as I got to the shooting pavilion, I noticed my son had mowed the range and containment dikes so we stopped right there. As I picked up some wind scattered debris, the dogs managed to find the creek and they had to come show me. Just as proud as can be as they came bounding up the bank tails wagging with excitement, plenty wet, and a little muddy. One of the dogs is a 16 pound, 14-year-old terrier/Dashound mix who is pretty active for an oldtimer and built close to the ground. The other dog is a 62 pound 6 year old Catahoula that is as fast as the wind and very active. Both are rescue dogs and a far cry from the laid back Labs we used to have but just as lovable.
So off we went to explore this freshly cut path around our 100 acres of WRP (Wetland Restoration Program) ground. It didn’t take long for them to find a blue heron and chase him off a small pond with a squawk. We found lots of trails and of course the dogs go at least three times further than I did weaving in and out and coming back to make sure I hadn’t detoured or got lost. We managed to find where a wild turkey surrendered to the well being of a predator, variety undisclosed. We have plenty of coyotes and a few bobcats, so your guess is a s good as mine, but I’m thinking bobcat judging from where the majority of the feathers were. The big creek held scents of lots of mysteries, but none were visible. Later as we turned away from the creek, we found an old deer skeleton bleached white by the weather and sun. Cause of death undetermined. It was a small buck and the mice had already gnawed most of the antlers away. As we passed Tree Island and the deer shack we flushed a flock of snipe, from the shallow water of the diversion ditch that makes Tree Island an island. Aside from a long walk that’s all we discovered. It was a nice day to be out and about in the outdoors.