Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sheep, Sheepdog or Wolf?

I read an interesting blog identifying three types of people, sheep, wolves and sheep dogs; with the sheep being the rank and file who basically keep their heads down and expect others to care for them, the wolves those that prey on the sheep and of course the sheepdogs being those who choose to defend the sheep.
Interesting as this analogy is I don’t believe it goes far enough. In the ranks of the sheep are actually wolves that act like sheep and in the wolves are many sheep. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on circumstance) the true natures of these changelings often come to the surface in time of stress. What do I mean? Let me explain.

First let us take the case of the wolves who act like sheep. How many times have we heard “He/she was such a nice person, I can’t believe they did this!” these are examples of wolves who did their best to be sheep but one day it all came crashing down and they revert to wolf ways, eating their young and generally attacking anything within striking distance.

On the other side are the sheep who act like wolves, but usually only in a pack setting. Many gang and sect members fall into this category. As long as they are safely surrounded by the rest of their pack they act like wolves, isolate them and they quickly turn tail (metaphorically speaking) and bleat out the rest of the pack to save their own sheep hide. The real wolves get great pleasure and many laughs over leading sheep astray, of course they usually fall on these sheep and eat them (literally or figuratively) by getting them to do such things as the ultimate passive aggressive act such as wearing a vest packed with explosives and setting it off in a flock of sheep.

Of course we also have sheep with rabies and wolves with rabies that attack everyone around them whether they are sheep, wolves or some other unknown subspecies…
Of course we also have sheep who try to be sheepdogs and wolves who think they are sheepdogs. Generally the sheep who try to be sheepdogs are weeded out and placed in desk jobs, or the cemetery. The ones who get desk jobs take it out on the rest of the sheep for their own lack of sheepdogedness. The wolves who try to be sheepdogs usually do very well for a while, but eventually, unless they go out in a blaze of glory or reveal their wolfness in some manner, they end up preying on the sheep in a more virtual manner than the wolves who act like wolves, in the form of graft, corruption, police brutality and other behaviors unbecoming to sheepdogs.

Sometimes a sheepdog falls into wolflike behvior and both the wolves and the sheepdogs tear them to peices.

Finally we have the stealth sheepdogs, they submerge into the flock and act sheeplike until they are needed, unfortunately unless they are prepared like the full sheepdogs, they usually get the sheep dip kicked out of them once they do act. However, many times they do actually help and prevent sheep from falling prey to the weaker wolves.

So where do you fall? Sheep, sheepdog or wolf? Or are you a pretender?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Great Opening Day

My Son-In-Law and I used to hunt a friends farm, but do to family issues, we lost that area for at least the time being. Then my Son-In-Law had a previous commitment to go to the Apple Festival with his brother so it was looking like I was going to get stuck hunting alone on public WMA land with 10,000 other folks.

Then, out of the blue I get an email from Noel Lucas showing me his finished custom rifle (and a very nice one it is too!) We exchanged a few emails (in which he included some game camera shots of the deer on his families property) and to make a long story short, he invited me down to Talbot County near Baughville, GA to hunt with him on opening day.

Of course Baughville, GA is about 127 miles from where I live near Atlanta so I had to be up by 3:30 am to meet Noel at 6 am. After only a few bad turns I made it by 6:15 and met Noel at the BP in Ellerslie, Ga and from there we drove to his families land to begin the hunt. Noel took me to a nice two-man stand and he went to try a new spot with his climber. The two-man stand was overlooking the exact spot from where the game camera shots had been taken. I attached the safety line to my rifle and wearing my backpack climbed up the stand's ladder. Once safely in the stand I pulled the rifle up, loaded it, and was ready for a days hunt.

It was a little crisp at 44 degrees but with my 200 gram long john bottoms I used for diving with drysuits, heavy jeans, a long sleeved tee-shirt, regular shirt, coat and camo-overalls I was actually getting toasty by the time the sun came up. I ended up eventually removing the coat and shirt and just hunting in the long-sleeve tee-shirt on top.

Unfortunately, other than a great many birds and squirrels the morning hunt was fruitless without even a sighting of a flashing white tail through the trees. However, it was peaceful, no phones, no TV and no Oracle and even a poor day hunting is better than one at the office! We came down out of the stands about 10:30am and met up with Noels dad Doug and his Aunt to go into Waverly for lunch at the Cathead Restaurant (Its a southern thing). It looked like a camo-clothing convention in the restaurant with all the hunters in there, in fact the waitress commented when we left that she was already sick of seeing camo.

After lunch we reviewed the game camera footage and determined that the best time was between 5-7pm to be on the stands, so of course we got back on them at about 2pm. We figured that with all the hunters in the woods the deer might be a bit restive and off schedule a bit. We were wrong.

So I spent another 4 and half hours watching the birds and squirrels and listening to the distant, and not-so-distant sounds of gunfire indicating other hunters were having a lucky day (or just shooting their guns so they could tell their friends they missed a really big one...) Finally, at about 6:30 pm I heard the sounds of something pushing through the bush that was obviously not a bird or squirrel. I scanned the game trails I could see from my perch and soon was rewarded with the sight of two deer, a medium size and small size doe. I waited a bit to see if there was a buck following them but since the rut is still a few weeks off it was not to be. In Georgia you are allowed ten"antlerless" deer and 2 bucks a season. In the northern counties there are special either-sex days and hunts, but in the southern counties like Talbot, the entire season is either-sex due to the large proliferation of deer in recent years. I put my eye to the scope and centered on the largest doe's chest, just behind the front shoulder. This would tell if all the weeks of work on the rifle and several trips to the shooting range to zero in the scope would pay off.

I squeezed the 3 pound trigger, and was surprised when the gun went off (not surprised that it went off, just when, which is the sign of a proper trigger pull) and the doe leaped up like a stallion. When the deer does a leap up on the hind legs like a stallion does, it is a sign of a fatal (usually heart, lung or both) hit. She stumbled off with the smaller doe following.

I had just lowered my rifle and was glassing the area where the deer had exited when my cell phone buzzed, it was Noel. "Did you get one?"

"Yep, they came in just like on the camera"

"I'll be there shortly so we can track it down!"

I cycled the bolt on the 8 mm rifle and left it with an empty chamber, recorded the deer on my tag, then packed my hunting backpack and using the line provided, lowered them both to the ground. I then climbed down the ladder and went over to check the kill zone. Just as I located the blood spore I heard Noel drive up in his red Chevy pickup. Together we followed the heavy bright red blood spoor about 50 yards to where the doe lay dead. Grabbing the hind legs I pulled her out to the truck and we put her in the back. I went over and got my rifle and pack and put them into the back seat of the king cab and we headed back to the house.

It was just turning dark when we started to field dress, skin and quarter the doe. We hoisted her up on a sturdy branch of a huge old Oak. With Noel providing light I finished up at about 8 pm and packed the quarters into the cooler. At the same BP we had met at that morning I filled up on gas and got some ice to pack the cooler with, a diet Mountain Dew and some snacks and headed for home. A great end to a great day! I can't wait to go back down and hunt with Noel during November and the rut season. Hopefully I can bag a nice 10 point buck or better!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Final Sight-In

Well I got the final sight-in done for the rifle finished with only a week to go until deer season. Afraid the Leapers scope just didn’t work out. But I am getting ahead of myself! I found a great free rifle range with both pistol and rifle (out to 85 yards) at Wilson Shoals WMA near Alto, Georgia. It is about an hour’s journey but it is free and has great hours. When I was up in Helen, Georgia about 2 weeks ago I actually began the sght-in process.

I took both of my 8 mm rifles, the original one that I had converted 29 years ago from a model 98 Mauser and my most recent Yugoslavian Mauser conversion, to the range in Alto, Georgia to check the sight-in on my original rifle and do the initial sigth-in on the new one. The original rifle has a Nikon Prostaff 3-9X40mm scope with bullet drop compensation (BDC). On the new rifle I decided to try a brand of scope I hadn’t used before, a Leapers 5th Generation 3-9X40 Full Size A.O. Range Estimating Mil-Dot Side Wheel Red/Green Illuminated Zero Locking/Resetting Scope SCP-394AOMDLTS. The first rifle only needed minor adjustments to throw 1 inch groups at 100 yards. The new rifle I could only get adjusted to paper at 4 inches to the right, but at that point it was giving a 1.5 inch group. I decided I would need to get a windage adjustable set of scope rings to get a full zero.

I ordered a set of windage adjustable scope rings and then had to leave for a business trip. When I got home a couple of days later, the new rings were waiting so I switched out the rings and after some tweaking was able to get a laser bore sight zero on the scope. I thought I was home free, little did I know the horror that awaited me!

This weekend Susan and I were helping watch Doc so Mary could get some time off (Doc is my Father-in-law and has Alzheimer’s) and that shortened the drive to the rifle range to only about 45 minutes. I decided to finish up the sight-in on Saturday. I got up nice and early and showed up at the range and was assigned a bench. I waited for the range master to give the all clear and set up a target at about 40 yards to do the initial shooting. After a few shots I tweaked in the laser bore sight to dead on, and during the next clear time, I ran a set of targets out to 85 yards, I couldn’t wait to try out the scope at full range.

I fired one shot and it was a bit high and to the right, so I tweaked the scope and fired a second round. When I checked my placement I wasn’t even on the paper! I looked again through the scope and noticed things looked a little blurry, rather like some of the times way back in the Navy when I had lifted a few too many at the Back Aft tavern… I tried one more shot and something really horrible happened.

As you can see, the main lens group came completely un-mounted and was now free floating in the barrel of the scope. Needless to say that ended my shooting with the new 8mm! I submerged my disappointment by shooting 100 rounds through my .40 SW pistol. On the way home I stopped by the Bass Proshop Warehouse store and picked up a second Nikon Prostaff 3-9 40mm BDC scope (they were on sale for $169.99 and had a $30 rebate! I guess it was meant to be!) When I got back to doc’s I removed the dead Leapers and installed the new Nikon. Needless to say on Monday the Leaper’s goes back for a full refund of its $69.99 price!

I used a rear fence to laser bore sight the rifle on Saturday night. On Sunday the range is open from 12-5pm so I headed over after lunch the next day. It was like night and day! At 50 yards I was off about 4 inches to the left and about 2 inches high, I did the needed adjustment and then moved the target out to 85 yards.

I use a bipod and rest my right elbow on a folded gun case which gives a very stable platform. At 85 yards what my first group looked like is shown below.

I tweaked the windage 4 clicks to the left and then shot the group shown below.

Since I am not trying to save hostages from kidnappers or shoot antelope at 300 yards and this was well within 1 degree of deer, I figured it was good enough. Yes, the top hole is from 2 shots. You can see some of my known outliers, there was a fellow next to me shooting off a .30-06 who had the habit of shooting just as I started to pull off a round.

So now I have two deer rifles that shoot consistent 1 inch groups at near 100 yards. What are the take-aways?

1. Don’t buy Leaper’s scopes for anything other than air or paintball rifles. The shock from high caliber rounds such as an 8mm completely debonded the main lens group in spite of its claim to be for high powered rifles. Stick to known performers such as Nikon, Leopold, Burris, BSA and of course the higher cost scopes.
2. Do a good laser sight-in first, then one at 50 yards and then at 100.