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October 15, 2007

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One Thing in Common

Back in the early 1980s, I was invited to join a group of men who went out to dinner every Thursday evening. They were all customers at a small-town gunshop who had gotten friendly with the owner. An extremely unlike group of people, they included myself, two gunsmiths, a retired New York State trooper who was now a locksmith, a high-school English teacher who had a degree in comparative literature from Harvard, a Wall Street plutocrat, and a machinist.

We would go to a local restaurant, ogle the waitresses, argue, insult each other, and talk about guns and hunting and the military. The intellectual progress of mankind did not advance one iota, but we enjoyed ourselves and each other.

Of course it did not last. One of the gunsmiths moved away; the Wall street plutocrat retired and moved as well; the machinist and the English teacher died, and finally the gunshop itself closed. We were all very lucky to have had what we did, and we knew it even at the time. And I can't think of anything save an interest in guns that can bring together so disparate a group of people, again and again, in place after place.


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You are exactly right Dave.

Guns and hunting will forge friendships between people that otherwise would never have crossed paths. Regardless of age, race, socioeconomic class or gender. Hunting crosses all boundaries and I for one appreciate that.


WA Mtnhunter

You were all the richer for it, indeed. Almost nothing beats a diverse group of men with a common interest. Most of the guys I waterfowl hunt with share no common ground other than loving to sit in the cold rain, wind, and snow with smelly dogs to have a chance at taking some ducks and geese.

My Lab usually smells better than their hunting gear. Definitely not the crowd you invite to Thanksgiving dinner!

Dr. Ralph

Kind of feel like we have that here... only without the waitresses to ogle.


Though there's always the booth babes ...


Ya some waitresses would help,.. a lot Ralh,..Unless ,.. ahh neve mind ,.
Will saty with that ,
waitresss would help a lot
Have nice day!!

Mr Petzal ,. quite the observation ,.. join a Scotch club,. P.T.A. East or
West Side Businesmens assocaition ,.. and national association ,..of what ever ,.. Nothing does it like guns,. talking arguing and or spoofin about guns.

By the way whats a Plutocrat ,. sounds pretty bad
But given my occupatuion probabaly am one,.. would lke to know if Ralh starts calling me names YUK YUK,..

Ralph the Rifleman

Been there years ago;I hope to see my old pals again some day...


If you have no comraderie, no people to tell your stories to, no friends to call as soon as you take an animal or something cool happens in the field - it all kind of seems a bit less important; maybe not quite as fun.

What is better than calling your best bud or girl right after the moment of truth, when your adrenaline is still pumping and you can't believe your eyes.

God! What a feeling!


Just remembered a funny one
We had a group similar in make up.
Eclectic bunch to say the the least.
One day a new guy started hanging around ( the Scotch fountain) ,. he seemed Ok so we sked him for ID passport and jsil ecord if any ,.. whe he said no jail record no pasport we decided OK to talk to him a little,..
But he got put off one day after the Michan and WI,.. deer season had finished .
The chairman ( of sorts) a cop had called an emmergerncy meeting,..someone gave him a big bottle of some high end hooch,so we met,.Resturant owner put in in a room in back sai dOK to drink you booze butyou guys gotta order food ,..no prolem
werdered some stuff and cracked the bottle the new guy came along too. Very nice whisky
About 5 chicken wings and a bunch of frenc hfrys and 4 ,..well maybe 6 oz later.
The fire safty guy asked the cop,.. how he did with new rifle.
Cop said Well it started off pretty slow ,. lot of guys in the woods ya know ,.. but it got better on second day
New guy said you get one?.. cop said not usure
(New gusy eyes got wide) actually had to load more ammo. Good thing I took extrat powder and bullets,..New guys eyes got wider ,. said no kidding how many?
Cop said not sure ,.. but second day got off 7-8 really good sound shots,.. third day close to 20 ,. running low on ammo ,..
New guy was incesnced ,. got up and left ,.. big laugh ,. later call ed him said he was spoofed,..
New guy POd fr a few daysd but he got over it ,..


Like Saturady morning in NC!

Wake co. rifle opener was great! 3.5 year old doe about 10:00am. 70 yds offhand and quartering away.

Staright down!
The 30.06 by the way.
What a cartridge for deer hunting in NC!


About four years ago, I took up spring Turkey hunting. Amazingly, my very first attempt at calling birds with a hand made box call proved very successful. The only person I could think of to call was an old hunting buddy I hadn't seen in twenty years.
He doesn't care to turkey hunt, but he comes up each year for ML deer season. THAT rekindling of old friendships brought about a distant cousin I hadn't seen for even longer. Now I have a spring turkey buddy and a ML deer buddy.



Its the best keeping old friendships strong forging new ones. I resisted the computer age but feel like ive made new friend ships already in a little over a month. Been out of touch with old friends and I miss them. Have made new ones right here on these blogs. Who knows were they lead but I will enjoy th journey!

Dave in St Pete

The venerable '06. If you can only buy one rifle get a 30-06. It will cover the gamut from varmints (Remington 55 grain at 4080 fps) to big stuff (220 grain stoppers).
Love my Savage 111F with the accutrigger. Prints nickle size patterns all day at 100 yards, and that's with a cheap Tasco 4x scope.


Love my Savage 111F with the accutrigger. Prints nickle size patterns all day at 100 yards, and that's with a cheap Tasco 4x scope.

Posted by: Dave in St Pete | October 15, 2007 at 04:26 PM

Hey Dave,

There's something quite satisfying about getting great accuracy out of a gun/scope combo that doesn't cost the equivalent of a used car.

Congrats on the Savage. They make a great rifle @ any price.


W.P. Roberts

Glad you had that memorable experience dining with those gentleman and that you thought enough of the readers of your blog to share it. I've had interesting conversations with shooters, hunters, military veterans, and pilots over the years. Makes life worth living. I just finished "Helmet For My Pillow" and have to agree with you. Wonderfully written and descriptive of a time and conflict that are beyond imagination for most Americans today. Published in 1957 and our library took nearly 2 weeks to get it but the wait was worth it. Thanks. Pete

Steve C

Some of my most cherished moments in life have been hunting with a few select friends. I stopped hunting because I lost these partners and, even though people have since invited me, it's not the same. Such it is with getting older.

I'm not sure if it was much about guns or hunting specifically as much as those things provided a means to feel alive and get a little more acquainted with our inner gyroscope.


Two years ago, I sat in a pop-up blind with my .54 Renegade across my lap watching a small basin.
Since I was hunting, I had put my cell phone on vibrate, and vibrate it did. It was my wife, "What'cha doin' now?" No sooner had the words reached my ear that a buck stepped into the basin! "Hold on a second, I see a deer!" I laid the phone down, raised my rifle and "BOOM"! I watched the deer run about ten steps and lay down! I picked up the phone and hear the excited question, "Did you get him?".
"Yep," I replied, "I watched him go down!"
"You better go make sure he's down," she said, adding, "I expect fried loin when I get home! Love ya, bye!"
She still laughs about that conversation. She's my friend, wife, soul mate..... and I wouldn't trade her for all the Scarlett Johannson's in the world!


Dave in St Pete

Thanks, Jim. Savage is a great deal IMHO.

My best huntin' partner is my son.

We just started on this hunting adventure together this year. He got a great hog (205 lb Russian) at 25 yards with an S&W 629 44 mag. Now we hope to set up a deer hunt.

We really don't know a lot (hog hunt was an outfitter) but we'll figure out how to field dress and such. If nothing else being in the woods together is great. BTW he's 14.


Hey Bubba, That was very touching. I feel the same about my girfriend. She has been here for this past year, Encourages and helps me to hunt and fish as much as my knee will let me. She is a keeper and the best friend an outdoorsman could have. Quit it Bubba I just dripped tears on my key board. You owe me two now as Isee it!lol!

Pastor Loel

Interesting - back then (the 80's)where I grew up (and yet in my vocabulary) the evening meal was called supper. Loel



Sitting next to that English teacher didn't help your vocabulary: Substitute "eclectic" for your clumsy phrase "an extremely unlike group of people"...


Enjoyed the article Dave, and have had similar experiences. Maybe you'd like to join us in church some Sun. morn'? Multitude of backgrounds and socio-economic levels, but unified as one, through our common faith in the Lord!

retired waycar rider

Dave-we have a similar group--meet once a yr to hunt deer--always have the same two cabins--get together ever morning for breakfast and supper---my wife is the queen bee whom they all call mom---can't hardly wait for the second week in November to get here so we can all get together in the Pine Ridge for the annual hunt--this will be our 34th yr.


The first bear stepped into the drenched field about a half hour before first light. The low that had been pounding the East Coast of NC in 2006 had been unrelenting. I had cleared the fire ants from my gun and hands; knuckles pulsing I watched as two more, smaller bears stepped into Higgins Field; which still had thousands of missed peanuts and shells; soggy but there.

They ate for twenty minutes, making there way slowly towards me. It was my first time on the ground, in a blind, by myself with a muzzle-loader hunting deer.
It was the first time I had even hunted the property and there I was watching bears in the rain; now within fifteen yards; and light coming on. I waived the gun to try to get them out of there.

The cubs bolted; two-year olds probably, no squeeling. Thank goodness.

The mother slowly made her exit.
Then a mock charge in the thicket to my left they had gone into a few moments before.

A large wheezing sniff in the air.

Then nothing. It was almost shooting light and 200 to 250 yards out across the field a lone bruin paced about. He was tall and skinny, unlike the three butter balls I had watched before.
He mulled his way around and after watching him for nearly an hour I tried, when he was at about sixty yards to holler at him.

I wanted to deer hunt!

He never looked. I hollered again. Nothing. I got out of the blind and jumped up and down, whistled.

I swear to you; he never looked at me. I backed out; slowly and left for later.

No deer that morning, but the story was told to:

My wife, her parents, our little girl and the walls; which held the afore-mentioned's predecessors
for nearly 50 years.

What an experience.

Dave Petzal

to lastearlofshaw: You are quite right. The rot has set in.

Dr. Ralph

If Dave starts using words like eclectic, I'm out of here... Hell I already had to look up plutocrat just to see if Yohan really was one. He is.

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