Category Archives: Manly Arts

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Let’s talk about gunbelts and holsters for outdoor work.  No concealed-carry stuff here – let’s discuss rigs for carrying a heavy, powerful belt gun for serious work.

But before we do that, let’s talk about the gun.

While I favor my Glock 36 for everyday concealed carry, for outdoor work I like a big-bore wheelgun.  When woods-bumming, I usually have either my S&W 25-5 or my Ruger Vaquero, both in .45 Colt.  If I take it in my head to carry a semi-auto, it’s either the 1911 or the Glock 21, both (obviously) .45 ACPs.  In the revolvers I like 8 grains of Unique behind a Lasercast 250-grain hard-cast flat point.  That load will blow through a railroad tie and knock a big handful of splinters out the far side, and will easily lengthwise a big mulie or a cow elk.

For the .45 ACP I like the 200 grain Lasercast semi-wadcutter.  Like most Glocks, my 21 will feed almost anything; the 1911 is a little fussier but will feed SWCs fine with a good magazine.  I use Kimber magazines, and the 1911 will feed empty cases with those.

The gun belt and holster should be comfortable and solid.  Choice of material is up to the shooter; some like nylon web belts and holsters, and there is certainly nothing wrong with such a rig; I’ve used many myself.  But it’s hard to beat good leather.  Heavy harness leather should be used in the belt, and good stout bullhide in the holster.  A heavy leather rig will start out very stiff, but wear and the application of a softening oil, like neatsfoot oil,  will soon make the rig softer and more wearable.

For my belt guns, I like the America’s Gun Store #110 Wyoming Drop belt with the #114 Cheyenne holster, which rig hangs the but of the gun at about wrist height when your arms are hanging naturally.  I find this near perfect for being able to get the gun into action quickly; as long as you use the leg tie down to hold the holster in place, you can wipe off the holster’s hammer loop with the shooting hand’s thumb just as your fingers wrap around the grip.  Train yourself to keep your finger off the trigger while drawing; cock the single-action or start the double-action pull after you have cleared leather and are already pushing the muzzle of the piece towards the target.

Lots of folks like the Threepersons holster as well, and the same statements apply.

If your stomping grounds tend to be wet and snowy/rainy, like the Pacific Northwest or Alaska, Great America’s also makes their very nice K #17 flap holster, which keeps weather off the gun but makes it take longer to bring the piece to bear.

Whichever rig you choose, keep it clean (saddle soap and water) and softened, and it will give many, many years of solid service.

Rule Five Man Test Friday

On the Friday of this Memorial Day weekend during which we commemorate fallen heroes, and due to the current upswing in appearances of Beta Males, I’ve decided to re-run the classic Animal Man Test.   Are you an Alpha Male?  Take the test and find out.  Count one for every point you can answer in the affirmative; your total score is, well, your total score.  Grading is at the end.  Feel free to post your results in the comments.

Personal Hygiene
1. I use soap in the shower. A bar of soap.
2. I do not use body washes.
3. I do not trim or pluck my eyebrows.
4. I do not get manicures.
5. I do not put any lotions, oils, balms or creams on my body unless there is some purpose either medicinal or sexual.
6. I have a “haircut,” not a “hair style.”
7. I can wash my hair with soap and a washcloth.
8. I do not wear cologne. Perfume is for girls. Aftershave is acceptable, as long as it’s Old Spice.
9. I can go from ‘asleep’ to ‘ready to leave for work/movie/date’ in under fifteen minutes.

Personal Style
10. I own a pair of cowboy boots or engineer boots.
11. I own more than one pair of cowboy boots and/or engineer boots.
12. I own a cowboy hat.
13. I own more than one cowboy hat.
14. I own more than one cap with a logo from either a car company, heavy equipment manufacturer, or an agricultural supplier.
15. I do not use an umbrella. If it rains, I have caps and hats.
16. I know the difference between a cap and a hat.
17. I own a leather jacket.
18. I own a black leather jacket.
19. I have scars.
20. I have scars that I brag about.
21. I have scars from gunshot wounds.
22. I carry a pocketknife.
23. I hang stuff on my belt.

24. I can drive a manual transmission.
25. I can drive a motorcycle.
26. I can drive a commercial truck.
27. I can operate almost any vehicle on two, four or more wheels, from a motorbike to a five-ton truck.
28. I can operate tracked machinery (i.e. Caterpillar.)
29. I can operate a light airplane.
30. I own a truck.
31. I own a four-wheel drive truck.
32. My truck has branch scrapes and rock chips. Lots of them.
33. I carry jumper cables in my truck.
34. I carry a high-lift jack in my truck.
35. I carry a tow strap in my truck.
36. I carry an axe in my truck.
37. I carry a gun in my truck.

38. I can navigate with map and compass.
39. I can navigate by orienteering.
40. I can run a chainsaw.
41. I can start a fire without match or lighter.
42. I am proficient with a pistol
43. I am proficient with a rifle.
44. I am proficient with a shotgun.
45. I can make improvised traps.
46. I can capture, kill, prepare and cook wildlife.
47. I can catch fish with purchased fishing tackle.
48. I can catch fish with fishing tackle improvised from materials obtained in the wild.
49. I can build an improvised shelter with materials obtained in the wild.

50. I do not see “chick” movies unless there is a chance that I might get sex afterwards by so doing.
51. John Wayne is, very nearly, a deity.
52. I love Westerns. Especially John Wayne Westerns.
53. I enjoy movies that feature:
•    Hot vampire chicks in black leather.
•    Hot any kind of chicks in black leather.
•    Hot any kind of chicks.
•    Killer androids.
•    Killer aliens.
•    Zombies.
•    Hot vampire android alien zombie chicks.
54. Tom Cruise is the result of a Communist plot to demoralize America by subjecting us to crappy acting.

55. Vegetarian, my ass. Give me a steak.
56. The four major food groups are: Steak, pizza, beer and cheeseburgers.
57. Real men eat any damn thing they want.
58. I love bacon with near-religious passion.
59. All foods should be served with home fries and/or corn bread.
60. Everything’s better with Tabasco.

Total up the number of question you can honestly answer “yes.”
55+ – You’re a manly man in the manliest form.

50+ – Your testosterone level is normal, but you’re not blowing up anyone’s skirts.

< 50 – Oh, for crying out loud, cowboy up already.

Notes on my own score:
Of course I scored 60/60, I wrote the test.
5. Trust me, you do not want to know.
14. Mine include Ford, CAT Diesel Power, J&W Meat Processing and Pioneer Seed.
21. Yes, I really do.
29. I can, but it’s been a long time. A looooonnnng time.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks again to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

I never receive any fiscal recompense for any products I talk about in these virtual pages; hell, I never receive any fiscal recompense for anything I do here, except for selling the odd book here and there.  I do this for fun, for my own amusement, and to occasionally spark some discussion or (hopefully) make someone think a new way about an old issue.  So, when I endorse any commercial product, it’s because I use that product myself and think it’s great.

Being the sort of guy who loves the outdoors, robust living and The Manly Arts, for decades now I’ve stuck to my tested and true Carhartt jeans.  They are stout, sturdy, rugged and fit me pretty well.

But just recently, I’ve changed my mind.  I still advocate Carhartt clothing in general, including their jeans, but I’ve found a new jeans maker that supports my preferences (and my somewhat expanded, late-middle-age body) better and more comfortably.  That new jeans maker, of course, being Duluth Trading Company.

I recently bought a pair of their Men’s Ballroom 5-Pocket Jeans.  These things are great!  The name “Ballroom” derives from the extra gusset sewn into the jeans right where the denim meets your nether regions; it adds a little space in precisely the right spot, greatly increasing comfort and flexibility.

There’s more.  These jeans’ waistband is lined with stout canvas; the front pockets are heavy canvas as well.  The hem of the pants legs are likewise lined with canvas.  The denim is heavy, strong and tightly triple-stitched at the seams.  The fly zipper would not be out of place on a big canvas wall tent.

These jeans are comfortable, durable and tough.  I’ve found a new brand.  I’ll be trying more of their products as time goes on; I think next I’ll try the Men’s Free Swingin’ Flannel shirt.  I’m a big fan of flannel shirts for cool weather – flannel is, after all, America’s fabric – and these look like good ones.

Also, Duluth Trading’s commercials are even entertaining!  Give ’em a look, True Believers.  This is some good tough stuff.

I’m a Lumberjack…

Over at The Daley Gator, blogger pal Doug Hagin had an article (rightly) criticizing Bill Nye, the engineer who pretends to be a science guy; but the thing that jumped out at me was this photo.

I commented:  Regarding Lumberjack Guy above – look at those soft white hands! This gomer has never been near an axe or chainsaw in his life. The “outdoor” setting is probably at the edge of the parking lot for the photography studio.

We see plenty of these types around now; flannel and neck-beards have suddenly become popular among Millennial townies.  What will it be next – camouflage and Confederate flags?

Hey, everyone has the right to wear what they like.  I tend towards boots and my big gus-crown cowboy hats, even when bumming around town.  Now I grew up in a rural setting, and have run many a chainsaw and axe in my life – still do, from time to time.

But I can’t help looking down my nose a little bit at douchebaggery like that exhibited by the guy illustrated at top.  Wearing flannel and a neckbeard doesn’t make you manly.

Doing manly things, practicing the Manly Arts – that does.

Animal’s Daily Cigar Aficionado News

The Obama Administration was, to put it mildly, not friendly to manufacturers of fine cigars.  The incoming Trump team may be looking to reverse that.  Excerpt:

Late last week, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the incoming chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, met with President-elect Donald Trump and submitted a list of 232 items that could be repealed immediately after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

“We must undo Obama’s harmful regulatory regime that has hurt hardworking Americans across the nation,” the group said in language akin to Trump’s campaign rhetoric.

One item in the report entitled “First 100 Days: Rules, Regulations and Executive Orders to Examine, Revoke and Issue” recommends stripping the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of its authority to regulate tobacco products.

The move could save at least 2,600 Florida jobs currently at risk and spare many businesses, according to Mark Pursell, CEO of the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association.

Progressive-liberal firebrand U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who’s no fan of Republicans, urged the executive branch agency to back off premium cigars when it first began targeting the industry through a proposed administrative rule in 2014, but to no avail.

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Grayson said that “the premium cigar industry is responsible for employing an estimated 20,000 Americans, and realizes almost $2 billion in annual revenue.”

The incoming Trump administration could extinguish the economic hardship on day one, according to Meadows.

Personally, I’m not concerned about the crappy, cheap-ass flavored cigarillos sold in liquor stores – except as a matter of principle.  I’m personally concerned about more upscale cigars like my favored Cosechero maduros.  But, moving back to those matters of principle, I’ll repeat something that has been a running theme here since I began keeping these virtual pages:  It is not the role of government to protect people from the consequences of their own bad decisions.

Nor is it the role of government to use the power of taxation to influence decisions that the Top Men in government don’t approve.  That’s what the Obama Administration has done with the various rules on fine cigars.  That’s what the incoming Trump Administration will, hopefully, undo.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Programming note:  I’ll be flying to Tokyo on Sunday for a two-week gig, so look for some interesting travel posts.

Now, today:  Thoughts on the classic shotgun collection!

Since I now have both 12 and 16 gauge versions of the renowned Winchester Model 12 and Browning Auto-5 shotguns – one of that latter being the sought-after Sweet Sixteen version – I’m casting thoughts not only to 20-gauge versions of those guns but also to another iconic American scattergun, the Winchester 1897.

The 1897 is an interesting piece.  Designed by the DaVinci of firearms, the ’97 was the first commercially manufactured 1897-winchester-ipump-action shotgun.  It was used by the U.S. military in WW1 and WW2 as a trench broom, as well as being sold in a variety of sporting versions including the Black Diamond trap guns.  Being an aficionado of trap shooting myself, a Black Diamond Winchester would be a neat addition, but there are plenty of 12 and 16 gauge guns available.

There’s another unique feature of the 97 – its external hammer.  There is no other safety on these guns, but I have always been of the notion that a gun with an external hammer needs no other safety, and besides which the only real effective safety on a gun is the one between the shooter’s ears.

If I decide to go down this road, one thing I may eschew in a restoration is the addition of choke tubes.  While I have done this on other guns (and I highly recommend using Briley for these conversions – you get what you pay for, especially on old Winchesters with their notoriously thin barrel walls) it seems appropriate to keep this historic gun more or less as is.

I haven’t made up my mind yet, but if I run across a particularly fine example, I may not be able to resist the purchase, especially if a Black Diamond gun is in the deal.

1897-winchester-ii 1897-winchester-iii

Animal’s Daily Hunting News

Yr. obdt. looking over some Grand County elk country.

Our annual elk hunt, abbreviated as it was by some sudden travel plans, ended with an empty sack.  Note that I do not say “ended sadly,” as any time spent in the great Western outdoors is never cause for anything but happiness.

We had one good shot at filling one of our cow elk tags.  Near the spot shown above, loyal sidekick Rat heard an elk mew softly in the timber.  We split up and stalked into the pines in a pincer movement towards the patch of pines where the sound came from.

Rat overlooking the same country.
Rat overlooking the same country.

As we moved in, through the heavy dark timber I saw a pair of elk legs moving slowly upslope.  I moved up to a large pine, found an opening in the trees, and braced against the tree to place Thunder Speaker’s scope on the opening.  I saw an orange elk butt moving towards the opening from the left at a range of about fifty yards; then I saw in the scope a bit of elk neck, then an ear, then the head…

…then an antler.  It was a young raghorn bull, and we had cow tags.  Oh well.

Anyway, it was a highly enjoyable week.  Photos follow.

Animal’s Daily News

A bit late and a bit short this morning.  Sorry.  Yesterday’s activities involved a quick scouting trip to Grand County, where loyal sidekick Rat and I will be headed tomorrow morning to spend a few days doing battle with antlered ungulates.

img_0879Unfortunately the inestimable Rojito (pictured here) developed a transfer case problem.  It’s in the shop now, having made it back to Denver OK.  Hopefully it will be ready for tomorrow’s departure.  If not, we plan to borrow Mrs. Animal’s Explorer, which will limit us to graveled roads; no muddy jeep trails.  Oh well.  Update:  Rojito’s repairs are complete and Plan A is in effect.

In any case, here are a few photos from yesterday’s adventure.

Not much snow up high, as you can see.  The snowy areas are up on Smith Mesa near Hot Sulphur Springs, at about 8000 feet.  The big body of water is Williams Fork Reservoir, the sage country around which is good for picking up some late-season mulies in a normal year.  This has been a warmer and drier than normal year, so I suspect we’ll be hunting higher than normal for early November.  We’ll see.

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearWell, we can now get Cuban cigars.  Excerpt:

I have good news for the winners and the losers of the election, whoever they may be. The winners may enjoy the pleasure of celebrating victory with genuine Cuban cigars. The losers can drown their sorrows in Cuban rum straight from the island.

That’s because President Barack Obama has made such indulgences easier. Until recently, any American traveler could bring back no more than $100 worth of these items. Under the new policy, you’re free to bring as much as you can carry.

True, you may bring supplies only for your personal use; selling them is forbidden. Ha. Enterprising travelers will either ignore or find ways to evade these rules. I imagine Americans who really want Cuban rum or cigars will be able to satisfy their desire without flying to Havana.

How good are they? Before he imposed an embargo on Fidel Castro’s communist state in 1962, President John F. Kennedy ordered an aide to lay in 1,000 of his favorite Cuban cigars. In the ensuing decades, they have been prized by aficionados. Havana Club’s cachet has been sufficient to make it the best-selling rum on the planet.

Even some smokers who despised Castro were known to indulge when they got the chance. Anti-communists caught puffing Cuban cigars would say they weren’t subsidizing the dictatorship; they were burning the enemy’s crops.

Now, I’ve had Cuban cigars.  On a recent trip to Guadalajara, a bunch of the local company folks took my colleague and I out for a dinner in a rather upscale restaurant, and Cubano cigars were on the dessert menu, so I had one; I also bought one in a small tobacconist’s near the hotel and smoked in while on an evening walkabout.  They were good cigars and I enjoyed them, but honestly they weren’t noticeably better than my normal Coschero Torpedo Maduro.

underwearwinecigarBut that’s not the point.  The point is this:  The Cuban embargo has, for decades, failed to bring down the Castro cabal that rules Cuba.  Maybe trade will do the job.  I’ve long said that the Soviet Union was brought down not only by the arms race that the couldn’t afford, but also by the blue jeans and rock&roll that their younger generations wouldn’t and the apparatchiks in charge couldn’t afford to ignore.

It’s worth a shot to see if the apparatchiks in Cuba could be brought down the same way.

Rule Five Hunting FAQ Friday

2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (1)I’ve been working on this for a year or so now; I think I will make it a permanent page here on the site.

Q: Is hunting dangerous?

A:  No, in fact hunting is one of the safest of all outdoor activities.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation gathers and reports data on causes of accidental death and injury in hunting.  Their 2010 data shows a 0.05% rate of injury among participants hunting with firearms.  You have a greater chance of being injured on a golf course or tennis court than in the hunting fields.

Q: Was hunting responsible for the loss of the Passenger Pigeon, and the near-extinction of bison, along with many other endangered and threatened species?

A:  No species has ever been endangered by modern, scientifically regulated hunting.  It’s sadly true that in the last two centuries, over-consumptive practices including unregulated market gunning resulted in the extinction or endangerment of several species.  Habitat loss added to the poor management practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  However, modern scientific management has resulted in the dramatic recovery of white-tailed and mule deer, elk, bison, pronghorn antelope, wood ducks, prairie grouse, and many other birds and animals.

Q: Will game populations stabilize eventually without human hunting?

A:  Yes, they certainly will.  They will stabilize through the mechanisms of starvation, disease, vehicle accident, parasite infestation, and a host of other unpleasant means.  Wild ani2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (2)mals rarely if ever die peacefully of old age.

Q: Can we use chemical contraception?

A:  Chemical contraception has proven practical, in deer, in controlled areas, with limited populations, where most of the animals were individually known to the control officers.  On a large scale, it’s impossible.

Q: Does hunting desensitize people, especially young people, to the sanctity of life?

A:  Just the opposite has been shown to be the case.  A Texas Department of Justice study examined several demographic groups of ‘at-risk’ youths.  They surveyed three groups; youths who did not own or have access to guns, youths who owned illegal guns, and youths who owned and used guns legally.  The latter group, which included many hunters as well as recreational shooters, had the lowest delinquency rates of any; lower in fact than teens who did not own or have access to any guns at all.  The study concluded that this group, who received most of their socialization in home and family, was more law-abiding than the other two groups.  If hunting ‘cheapened’ the value of life, these youths would have been at a high risk for delinquency – the opposite of what was observed.

Q: Do modern weapons give hunters an un2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (3)fair advantage over game animals?

A:  Success rates tell the tale.  Success rates on big game average anywhere from 10-40% in most areas.  That rate is calculated on the basis of animals taken / licenses issued; if you figure, roughly, three attempted stalks/shots for each animals, that is a per-attempt success rate of 3.3-12%.  Odds are stacked against the human hunter, indeed; game animals have far more acute senses, they’re stronger, they can run faster, they have natural cunning and an intimate knowledge of their environment.  One needs look no farther than popular hunting literature to see many stories of a hunter outfoxed by a wily deer, elk or bear.

Q: Do h2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (4)unters frequently kill endangered animals?

A:  No, very few.  The main reason is obvious; not many endangered animal are available to be accidental targets.  That’s why they’re endangered.  It’s important to note that the largest cause of extinction or endangerment is habitat loss – and hunters are the uncontested champions of habitat preservation.

Q: What’s the difference between a hunter and a poacher?

A:  A poacher is one who hunts illegally, with callous disregard for the law and for the scientific process of wildlife management.  The ethical hunter scrupulously obeys the game laws of his/her area, and hunts with mindfulness of the surroundings, the game, and the importance of a clean, human kill.  The poacher does none of these things.  In short, the ethical hunter is a sportsman; the poacher is a criminal.

2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (5)Q: Isn’t hunting a bastion of male chauvinists?

A:  Not even close. Women are the fastest growing demographic group in hunter’s ranks, according to recent license sales figures; this reflect a trend towards the view of hunting as a family activity, rather than a guy’s getaway.

Q: Are hunters vicious and cruel people?

A:  Not even close.  Noted German psychiatrist Erich Fromm, in his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, notes that the impulses for destructive aggression are very different from those involved in predation (hunting) and notes that hunters tend to be very peaceful people.[1]

[1] Erich Fromm. 1973. The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. Holt,Rinehart and Winston, New York. ISBN 0-03-007596-3

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