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Author Topic: Shoot'n sports  (Read 54297 times)
« on: October 31, 2012, 09:11:29 PM »

I've owned three guns in my life, and now that I think of it, they were all related to my career in forestry.

When I first started in forestry back in 1957, I bought an old Remington rifle from a neighbour of ours.  I think it was a 30-30 calibre.

We were doing forestry timber cruising and forest inventory work in Northern Alberta and went into the bush for 4-5 weeks at a time on horseback and pack train.  I was the youngest on the crew and the most expendable, the crew boss would put me at the front of the pack train, so if there was a bear attack I'd be the first to get it.  

The only thing I ever shot with the Remington was "tree branches".  One of our jobs was to shoot down branches from the tops of trees where the best cone crop was.  The cones would be sent down to Edmonton, Alberta for processing and cloning to make "super" trees.  My forestry boss had been a sniper in the Canadian Army during WWII and was a crack shot.  Every shot he made was on target.  I was a terrible shot, and maybe got one branch in ten.  His advice to me, was that if a bear attacked, to forget about shooting it, just turn the rifle around and club it to death.

My first forestry job back in 1957, with my Remington.  18 years old. 

My second gun was a revolver.  I was doing forestry work in British Honduras, now Belize,  back in 1959-1961.  Because of my bush experience in Canada, I was put in charge of a forestry crew of Mayan Indians and sent into the bush to do timber cruising, timber inventory and act as liaison officer with the Archaeology Dept, as we used to come across many ancient Mayan ruins on our work. We'd map them and send the information back down to Belize City.  I was working out in the bush along the Guatemalan border, mostly on horseback as there were no roads in the area.  I was issued with a Smith and Wesson, .38 six shot revolver with a 6" barrel.  It was called a "police special".  It was totally useless for work in the bush.  With the high heat and humidity the thing kept rusting and sticking in the holster.

I was issued this revolver and because my crew were doing forestry work along the Belize-Guatemalan border, I was instructed to arrest anyone who came over from Guatemala do do illegal logging. Forestry officers also acted as peace officers.   I was never told that it was the Guatemalan Army that came over the border in their half track trucks with machine guns mounted.  They would cut down a few Mahogany trees and haul them across the border to sell the logs in Guatemala.  They did this to make some money for themselves as the Guatemalan government were notoriously slow in paying their own troops.  I sure as hell wasn't going to try and arrest heavily armed Guat soldiers, and me with a pea shooter .38.  

I gave this Smith and Wesson back to the Forestry Dept and bought an old Spanish made single shot 12 guage shotgun, which lasted me for 3 years in the bush and was a great firearm for shooting birds and snakes at close quarters.

Never had a firearm for my 40 years of forestry work in Canada.  Just too many damned regulations.

Posted on: Today at 07:33:26 PM Posted by: John Backlund

In recent years, I've thought of chucking arrows too, something I could literally do in our own fenced back yard. One of the things that's kept me from doing it is that I don't want a camo hunting bow, but something more target orinted, maybe even an old-fashioned recurve bow, one of those beautiful laminated affairs that I remember people using from my early years.

There must be some interesting, high-tech compound target bows out there too.


You might be interested in this.

I knew Art Williams.  He was one of our local "characters".  He built great old fashioned recurve bows.  He made me one back in 1968, which I used for years and still have.  It's a 48 lb pull.  I paid $25 for it, which was tidy sum back in 1968.

He disappeared with the Mounties on his tail.  The local rumor is that he turned up in the Caribbean and was working with some South American drug cartel.  Who knows.  The stuff of legends.

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