JANUARY 21, 2019



After retiring from the military, I wanted to do more than hunt; I wanted to help kids learn to hunt. So, I created a nonprofit called The Green Bow Foundation, which formally provides children an opportunity to learn how to shoot a bow, find a deer or turkey, and hunt them. I partnered with local businesses, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the National Wild Turkey Foundation, and my local American Legion, to find, coach, and develop, young hunters. No matter how successful I’ll ever be as a hunter, no memory I’ll ever make, will be better than those I’ve made helping kids. I encourage you to mentor local youths too. You don’t need a nonprofit. You don’t need a lot of money. All you need is time, a servant’s heart, and a little help from your friends. I promise, the best trophy deer you’ll ever see is the one you help a child put their tag on. (Jay Pinsky)


Why do you need a .410 break action shotgun? It’s simple bud, turkeys and TSS. Since Tungsten Super Shot has become commercially available, many turkey hunters are moving to the sub-gauge shotguns to take advantage of less recoil and tungsten’s knockdown power at extreme distances. The Savage 301 Turkey is a single-shot shotgun, with synthetic stock and forearm in Mossy Oak Bottomland or Obsession camo, and it comes with a removable rail if you want top it with an optic. The 26” barrel, with an extended screw in choke tube, is built to get the most out of Federal’s Heavyweight TSS load, killing gobblers graveyard dead at 40 yards. Got a kid at your place? This little shotgun is also a good starter for squirrels, rabbits, and other small game. And, with a retail price of only $199.00, you won’t have to sneak it in the house. (Larry Case)

There’s a disease going around, and just about everyone who hunts with a rifle is catching it. It’s called the “Creedmoor Fever,” and it appears to be highly contagious. In fact it is so contagious, rifles chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor are outselling rifles chambered for everything else – including the 30-06. If you’re suffering from this affliction and looking for a new form of treatment, you might consider the new Cascade rifle from CVA. You know CVA; they’ve been building muzzleloaders since right after Daniel Boone was put in the dirt. The Cascade has a SoftTouch synthetic stock with an adjustable length of pull, a threaded 22-inch barrel, a 70° bolt-throw, and a detachable magazine. It should retail for less than $500.00. And, if you’re immune to the Creedmoor Fever, it’s available in 7mm-8 Remington and 308 Winchester too. (Richard Mann)

The first thing a hunting shotgun needs to do is go bang every time you pull the trigger. The new CZ-USA 1012 is a semi auto that’ll shoot like a house on fire with whatever you stick in it, including light 2 ¾-inch and heavy 3-inch magnums. The 1012 is not a gas-powered shotgun that can be finicky when it gets dirty; this shotgun uses recoil energy to eject the spent shell and load the next one. I’m thinking this is a shotgun you can toss in the duck boat and it’ll stand up to all the water, mud, ice, and dog slobber a bad hunt can throw at it. A shotgun using inertia/recoil to work the action is nothing new, but one with a suggested price of $659.00 is. (Larry Case)

A continuation of Creedmoor Fever is called LRHS (Long Range Hunting Syndrome.) It’s the second stage of the disease, and those afflicted with it are desperate for rifles that shoot just a little faster and flatter than the 6.5 Creedmoor. Hornady helped with a cure last year when they introduced the 6.5 PRC cartridge. The problem is factory rifles chambered for this cartridge have been slow making it to market. Well, here’s an option; the less than $700.00 Mauser M18, with its crafty secret compartment in the butt stock, is now available in 6.5 PRC. Yeah, it’s available in a lot of other popular cartridges too, but I’m not sure anyone cares; with a highly contagious disease sweeping the world, folks are desperate for treatment. (Richard Mann)


Meopta USA is doing something with riflescope reticles we’ve not seen before, except maybe on some science fiction movie. They can now create reticles in multiple color configurations, which will automatically adjust tone and intensity in varying light conditions. Cool huh? What’s even cooler is they can do this with without batteries.

Their first DichroTech reticle is the 4D. It has a 4 MOA red dot in the center, and the dot and crosshairs are activated by ambient light; the coating appears bright red in daylight conditions but, depending on the background, may change to a light green color for better contrast.

If you’ve done much hunting at all you should be able to see the potential advantages. What might surprise you is that Gunsite Academy founder Jeff Cooper had a similar idea in 1998. Cooper felt a semi-transparent triangle would be, “…extremely fast and absolutely precise. It could be offered in any mildly contrasting color such as amber or gray,…”1 I relayed this information to Meopta in early 2018 when I first learned of their secret. They’ve opted for a more traditional reticle, but I’m hoping they consider Cooper’s concept as a future option. They clearly have the technology to pull it off.

1. Jeff Cooper, Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip 2, Gunsite Press, Paulden, Arizona, 2001

(Richard Mann)


I’m like a kid on Christmas when it comes to checking trail cameras. I checked my cameras a while back and had a mess of pictures, but probably 70% of the daylight photos were too bright. There’s nothing worse than checking a trail camera and having a bunch of jacked up photos.

I thought the dang camera was junk, but since I’d spent more than a hundred bucks on it, I moved it to a different spot to see if it would just magically – fix itself. I put it on the edge of a field hoping to catch the deer moving from feeding to bedding areas, and the camera took hundreds of perfect pictures.

Those bad photos at the first location were not the camera’s fault; they were mine. I’d set it up at noon, and positioned the darn thing facing east, right into the morning sun. Yep, rookie mistake. I’ve since had my best success setting trail cameras up facing north or south. This keeps the sunrise and sunset out of the camera’s lens. Where you place your trail camera is important, but so to is the direction it’s facing. (Travis Belcher/Potts Creek Outfitters)

For some reason I picked up an apple as I left the lodge. I shoved it in my pocket and threw my gear in the Land Rover. After almost 30 days away from home, I needed some alone time. An hour later I’d found it under an acacia tree at the edge of a wide savannah. The morning was Africa cold – just above freezing – but the sun felt good on my face. I remembered the apple in my pocket, and the first bite took me back to another cool morning.

I was on a big log and my Dad was sitting behind me. My mom’s old Winchester Model 37 was lying across my lap, and my pockets were full of 410 shells – because I thought was going to kill more squirrels than I could carry. As we listened to the cuttings of hickory nuts falling around us, Dad whispered, “When you find the hickory nuts, you’ll find the squirrels.”

It wasn’t long until a big fox squirrel jumped onto the far end of the log we were sitting on. I started to raise the shotgun, but Dad touched my arm. The squirrel came up the log, sniffed my gun barrel, and hopped off to go dig in the leaves. A few moments later we were both smiling, celebrating my first squirrel. Dad pulled an apple out of his vest – apples have always been his favorite hunting snack – and we shared it as we relived the adventure.

With doves cooing in the distance, my mind got away from me. I recalled Dad carrying me on his shoulders while we raccoon hunted, because my legs were too short to keep up with the hounds. I remembered how he’d explained the difference between red and white oak acorns, showed me bear poop, and taught me about using the wind to your advantage. I even chuckled, thinking about how he always let me shoot first when we flushed a grouse; I’d miss and he’d killed it. And, a grin found my face recalling his advice before I went off to Basic Training, “Take care of your feet. If they get sore, you’re done.” He was right; it’s why I’ve always got extra socks when I go hunting.”

Time passes. Months turn into years, years into decades, and the sun was now much higher. With the wrinkles on my face mirroring my father’s, a wrinkle in time had found me, lost somewhere between the Allegheny Mountains and the Bushveld, and between childhood and all grown up. I felt content and alone, but sensed a hand on my shoulder. That’s when I caught a glimpse of movement.

I reached for my binocular. (Dad called them field glasses and never hunted without them. I won’t either.) It was a mature warthog, walking with his nose in the wind. I tossed the core of the apple onto the red dirt, grabbed my rifle, and started to cut him off. I paralleled him for several hundred yards until I’d cut the distance down to what dad would have called “a sure thing.” Finding the perfect spot for an ambush, I crouched behind a termite mound, and when the old boy stepped out, I shot him right between the eyes. 

It’d been a good morning, which in a way had spanned almost a half-century. As I walked back to the truck I thought about how far and close a safari in Africa and a squirrel hunt in West Virginia are apart. I also thought about how a passion shared between a father an son, fueled during a cool fall morning on a hickory ridge, could be the inspiration for a lifetime of chasing wild things, and a career where it never seems like I actually go to work.

A few days later my son and I were boarding the plane in Johannesburg for our flight home when my phone rang. My wife tearfully and painfully told me Dad had passed away. Over the next 16 hours I tried to remember the last hunt where we were together. I couldn’t. Then I realized, it was just a few days ago. He knew we were on safari. He knew the day we were coming home. And, while he was not able to get his worn out body out of bed, he’d found a way to be there with me.

My son and I will head to Africa for another month again this summer. I’m sure as the end of the safari nears, I’ll once again need to get away from everyone. I’ll find another acacia tree to sit under while the sun warms my body and soul. But, I won’t be alone. Dad will be there, just like he’s always been. And, I’ll have a nice and shiny, big red apple to share with him. (Richard Mann)


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