Sunday, August 16, 2015

Deadeye Dick

As I mentioned earlier, the NRA Whittington Center offers a number of different shooting ranges.    John and I practiced our pistol skills on the “Black Powder Range.”  John’s form, shown below, is much better than mine, and with his experience he outshoots me every time.  

He was pleased, however, when his photo showed the exact instant when I took a shot, including the cartridge ejecting from my 9mm pistol.  We both have a ways to go to qualify for "Deadeye Dick" status, but we're working on it.

We also had a good time watching the participants in the International Single Shot Association 2015 “Schuetzenfest.”  Schuetzen is type of rifle, as well as a shooting sport that came to America with German immigrants.  The rifles are heavy, weighing 12-15
pounds, and are single-shot firearms.  The competitions require shots of over 100 yards, and a great deal of concentration.  Bob Birmley is shown below preparing to take a shot in competition.

And Clark Ehlers explained to John how the cartridges used in the competition are loaded.

This is the firing line on the Coors Range as participants compete in bench and off-hand classes.

We were fortunate to have as next-door neighbors in the RV park Gary and Sue Miller.  Gary was the overall high scorer at the 2015 Schuetzenfest, and he has a chest full of medals to prove it!  He and Sue encouraged us to try the sport, and we may do so next year.

We thoroughly enjoyed our ten days at the Whittington Center, and plan to be back again next year.  Not only did we have a great time practicing our shooting and meeting other firearms enthusiasts, we enjoyed the wildlife as well.  This muley doe was happily grazing just thirty yards or so from where John and I were shooting.

And this pronghorn buck was strolling nonchalantly through the skeet range.

But I didn’t really get excited about wildlife until John called me over to ask, “What is that?”  There he was, a tiny, young horned lizard (a horny toad to all you Texans) only as long as the end of my thumb…about an inch.  

His little horns were just nubs, and he had trouble scrambling over the short grass in our campsite. 

As a kid, horny toads were our playmates (or maybe playthings).  They were prolific, and we had great fun seeing how many we could collect.  After tying different colored threads on them to designate which kid they “belonged” to, we released them so we could catch them again the following day.  Unfortunately, wide-spread use of Clordane insecticide, among other products, led to a drastic reduction of their numbers.  As we eradicated the “big red ants” that are the primary source of their food, the horned lizard population declined as well.  They are now endangered in Texas, and we hardly ever see them

I just hope this little guy has lots of ants to feed on, and survives and thrives to add many more horny toads to the landscape. 

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