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November 11, 2008

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Bourjaily: My Favorite Flashlight

Bear with me. This really is a post about hunting gear.

When my younger son John was still a baby, we took a family car trip east. Right after we drove across the New Jersey line, it became pungently apparent that John needed a fresh diaper.

We pulled into a crowded service plaza to use a restroom, only to find the power out in half the building. When I walked into the men’s room, it was pitch black except for a circle of light bobbing over the changing table. There was a dad at the table, holding a mini-Mag Lite in his teeth to keep both hands free as he put a clean diaper on his child. He finished, saw me and John waiting our turn and handed me the flashlight. “Take this. A guy in here changing his kid gave it to me. Give it to the next guy who needs it.” With that, he disappeared into the gloom.

I was halfway through changing John when the lights came back on. My benefactor was gone. No one else would need the light, so there was nothing to do but keep it. Now, although I own eight or ten better, brighter, higher-tech lights, that blue Mini Mag  remains my favorite. It’s the light I wear on my belt for early morning and evening hunts. John is 14 now, and I brought the light with me on our recent Youth Duck hunt together. It reminds me of how much he has grown, and of the kindness of a total stranger in the dark. 

We tend to think of guns when it comes to hunting gear with sentimental value, but little things --  lights, knives, calls --  can have special meaning, too. Anybody else own some little item that means a lot?


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Rocky Mtn Hunter

My Uncle 63 ys ago gave me a Marbles sheath knife when I was sick. I continue to carry that knife with me on each hunt. I just returned from Montana on a Elk Mule Deer Hunt and got a nice Mulie. Weather was too warm for Elk and they were beyond my reach. At 73, doubt I go west again, as the l6 day trip completely wore me out. No so much the hunt as the flying out and back. The Airlines treat us as 2nd class citizens and charge us a Kings Ransom. If I'm ever able to go west again, will be by vehicle other than flying. Not only are we treated unkindly, but the cost is beyond the average guy to hunt the Rockies now. You can count on 5-6K bucks for a 7-l0 day hunt. So now will just hunt at home my remaining hunt days and be thankful I did got to the Rockies many times, and filled the tags on the game I was after. Deer season opens here Sat for B/P for a week then 4 weeks of rifle. So will try my new MArlin XL7 here and see how She does on w-tails. After using a 06 for so many years, this new 270 has a lot to prove. Shoot-um-straight and often.

Jim in Mo

Rky Mtn Hunter,
Good you got there, what rifle did you take. I don't think I'll ever fly if I can drive.

Clay Cooper

I remember a story my Mother told me about my Great Great Grandfather trying to light his pipe with a flashlight when they first came out.

My favorite flashlight for hunting is a scuba diving light that uses 3 size “C” batteries that really lights up the world! Had it down to 175 feet deep so I think it just might be waterproof

WA Mtnhunter

Rocky Mountain Hunter

Congratulations on your Montana hunt. Glad to hear that you got a nice buck. The weather was not favorable for our hunt either. I managed to get a raghorn bull, but no deer. Maybe better luck next year. Just hope gas prices stay lower than they have been.

Best regards,


WA Mtnhunter

Concerning the off topic comments about folks claiming game not theirs. I have had several instances where fellow waterfowl hunters(?) claimed birds that I am sure I knocked down. As long as my Lab gets to retrieve them and gets the workout, I'm not going to argue with some armed moron over a bird.

One of the fellows on our elk hunt got a little irritated because a cow elk that he was sure that he shot ran several hundred yards and was shot and dropped on the spot by another hunter in our group who claimed and tagged it.

That brings up the question of how far would it have gone if hunter #2 had not shot it dead? Who really killed the elk? The first shooter that only wounded it or the shooter that killed it? The case where a slob hunter gets to the animal before you find it and claims it with a couple of armed buddies is a pretty clear cut case.


Zermoid, John r is right on track, It 's something simple.. Have you already converted to LED, If not, that should do the trick as you change most every thing on the upper end.. LOL.


Rocky MTN Hunter, got your E-mail, Just havent had time to answer, Talkto you soon, Congrats on the BT buck....

Rocky Mtn Hunter

JIM and WMH and Sarge:
Good to go. better to return safe and sound and somewhat successful trip other than the flight home. Jim I carried my Re, 700 CDl in 30-06 using Scricco's l80 grs. Man did it do a number on the 325= Mulie. First gun I ever had that is so dependable and shoots to point of aim after flying 2800 miles. Checked zero in MT and was yet on 0. The Marlin XL7 in 270 with the Leupold DDT set up has to prove itselfnext week when rifle season opens here. Back to the 700. This firearm has killed with one shot each and everyanimal I shot at since I bought it. Gun fits me well and the DDt set up with Nikon scope is a dream. You can spend many more $$$ on a firearm than this one and I doubt would kill any better. But, I have confidence in the gun, ammo,scope and my tad of ability to shoot well. Pratice does help. Above all, regardless of firearm you use, buy the best ammo available, it's the cheapest item you buy, use on a hunt. Scrimpt elsewhere but never on Ammo. Even if I had teh extra $$$ which I don;t now after this trip, I would not buy a different firerm for a Rocky Mtn Hunt. Only purpose for the MArlin is I use my 4 wheeler and truck here and they take a beating in the woods, and narrow roads with limbs hanging out. Hate to scratch up a beautiful piece of Walnut.It's not teh cost of a gun that matters, its the shooter, ammo, optics and more pratice. I got about l500.00 in my 700 complete and thats enough for me to invest in a hunting gun, especially the way this gun shoots. Ok, bedtime, as B/P opens in Am for a week, and 4 Am comes early for this old man. Shoot-up-straight and often. I hate B/P hunting, but does get me out in the great outdoors a week early of the orange caps for Rifle season. Now if can stop our poachers on our place I may get a nice buck this week.Law or no LAw I carry a Kel-tec 380 for protection against these poachers as the B/P with one shot I don;t feel comfortable. So tuck the tiny 9oz Kel-tec in my pocket for just in case I'm in trouble by the unwanted idiots. Hey, my wife saw a Mountain Lion just 20 yds away from us in Montana.(think he was after 2 fawns) Kinda scared here to stay closer to me then.O for a shot at that big boy or either a Wolf. Plenty of each in the Rockies. A limited hunt for both is up-coming in my opinion, game is more scarce than in past 2 yrs since I was out there. Especially Mulies and w-tails.Many Elk calves taken asper the locals in the area I hunt. They plan to bait and kill both ASAP after season closes in Nov. Chat again soon.

WA Mtnhunter

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Thanks for the update. I also still mostly use my Remington 700, the most accurate gun I own. I have spent $389 for the purchase price, $399 Leupold 3x9, $40 mounts, and a $35 stock fome Ebay to save the original one from the scars of hunting. Shoots MOA with Federal Premium loads. I agree, no need to spend thousands on a rifle, unless you just want to!

Best of luck in black powder season.



Bella's post about buying at the BX, I've got a Winchester .22 lever action rifle model 250 I bought at the BX in Vandenburg AFB in CA> Still nice looking and a good shooter.

Peter H.

LOL....ya got a sentimental Mini mag too? I got one ive had since i was six....so thats close to 13 years old now. Its currently out of commission( got to get a new LED bulb assembly for it...dropped it really hard a on a concrete floor and broke the one in it) but i still got it..and dont see getting rid of it anytime soon. Everything from coonhunting to deer hunting..to work, and pretty much everything else in between.

I can even tell ya how i got that flashlight...i got it as a reward for being a pillow boy in someones wedding.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

WAMtn Hunter:
To me my 700 CDL shoots better than the custom Mauser I had built. When I get serious and want game,the 700 is my choice.I've use many brands of firearms ovr my 63 ys of hunting,but this 700 CDl is by far more accurae than any of the othes. Its topped with Leupold rings and bases and a Nikon Monarch 3 x 9 x 40 scopre and if I hold still will put teh bullet where I want it. AS for Black Powder hunting, I disliked B.P hunting till this year. My first kill with a B/P was a 4" oak tree. Then I added as Bushnell BAnner (Dusk till Dawn ) scope wth 5" eye relief and zeroed in for l50 yds. Had not shot the gun in 3 ys till this years opening day and about 2 minutes of shooting light remaining a deer walked out. I could see horns, but how many did not know. Deerwalked straigh to me as my Red Blazer ws 40 ft away and he had his head up looking directly at me, Only had a split second to decide, so as stated earlier, I like a neck shot, so I put the cross hairs just under the white patch on his neck and fired. After the smoke cleared, there lay my 9 pointer. Son at the exact moment 500 yds away killed a 6 p0inter with his CVA 50 val, he also shot him in the neck. Neither deer moved a hair. Then teh work began, was cold and windy, and out skinning pole is outside with winches and no wind breaker. Was after ll PM before we finished. Then Monday I killed a nice 4 x 4 about 10 minutes after light, Son killed a nice 8 2 days later. Now we have killed teh boss bucks and believe teh does have left town. S hunted 3 days never saw a animal, till today and saw 3 does and Son saw 3 does and a 3 pointer. Did see a Turkey, carrying my 22 mag in Am, may have WILD turkey Thursday if my 0 is yet ok at 100 yds.Almost shot him with teh 06, but doubt any meat left and doubt I can hit a Turkey head at l00+ yards. Will try to shoot this bird at the base of his neck, a tad more target. Or may be real sporting and try for a head shot. I live in the woods, and I mean woods, and had zillion squirrels till the HAWKS moved in, now see a squirel now and then,. I may delacre war on the Hawks after all the oak leaves fall off. We got 3 weeks left of rifle, and my Daughter lives in VA, 50 miles away and their B/P season opens next week till lst Sat in January. May go up for 2 days and cull some Deer and Turkeys, she also lives in the woods. I can sit on here up=stairs deck and hunt both. Plan to take a bushel of apples and put them out l day in advance. The Deer up there Antlers grow so much larger than here, plus she's seen 2 spotted deer, of which I want one,.Son-in-law has killed 3 spotted small bucks, look great on game room wall. TAnned the hide and left the head atached, and lays flat against the wall. Been told there is l in l0K spotted or white deer. Figue my # is up. We had 2 spotted deer early last season, but nevere agan. Figure someone poached them and never said a word, as was on my property. They not been see since opening day last year. On, enough for tonight. Did not plan to wrie a book. Take care, Shoot up straight and often.As for Remington firearms, I would like one of the 700's iwith the rubber molded stocks, not a beauty, but great for rough. I wipe my Wood guns down at night with light coat of Rem oil, but never clean the bbl till season is over. Have a piece of elec. tape on muzzle. weather,. In fact I never clean the bbl after my final zero shot beforer I go west, even if is shot 2-3 times. I always shoot my gun when arrive in teh Rockies to make sure the baggage handlers did not throw out at 40K feet, then if see game fire then.Clean up when season ovre. Also, Learned, do not chane ammo fromthe break in ammo. I stick with the Scricco's.May cost extra, but nothing compared to a trip for wife and I for l6-21 days in the Rockies. Moe later. Shoot-um-straight, often. Gunslinger in N>C>

WA Mtnhunter


I hear ya. If you get a rifle that really shoots, hang on to it!

This year I hunted the first 4 days with my Weatherby and didn't see squat to shoot at. My son told me I had bad ju-ju going on since I left my Remington 700 .35 Whelen at the cabin. About an hour after the first Colorado light hit that M700, my bull was on the ground! Not a monster, but a bull no less. So there is something to be said for 'magic' rifles.

I use the same zero and cleaning routine you described, too.

Best regards, sir.

Rocky Mtn Huntet

WMH: O for the lve of Hunting, what are us old guys gonna do when too old to hunt? look at movies and old pictures of game we killed. For past 3-4 days, deer have hidden, gone away,. but we killed the boss'es I thin. My Son saw 2 spotted deer lst year prior to season, but never showed up during season. Well this Am at l0 till 7 one made the final mistake of walking out in a clover field, and bam. So Son got hi spotted deer, looks funny, shorter front lets,white spots and teh hir on very top looks like a man who's hair is turning white. Lehss all 4 white. It's aDoe, so he is gonna have teh hair tanned for a courch throw or easy chair. Cost l25.00 + freight both ways to get it tanned???? last hide I had tanned was 35 bucks that was in 97. Now I want that other spotted deer if will show. got 3 weeks left, maybe he will return looking for his Sister. Changing out the MArlin XL7 set up, and going with Leupold set up and Nikon Monarch scope, a set up that works well on my 700's. Rain due tonight, hope so, as we dry as a bone and cold. I would for-go huntng for a couple days of good steady rain. My pond is l8" below normal.Bad sigh for this time of year. Take care.

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