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Hunting the Honey Hole Tree



Thompson Center RenegadeMy dad bought me my black powder rifle when I was 12 years old, which was my first deer rifle (before this I had been using a 20 gauge shotgun). We were in the sporting goods section at the store, when I noticed it on sale. I don’t remember how much it was, but it was too good a price to pass up. I ended up with a .54 caliber Thompson Center Renegade.

I got the rifle after deer season was over, and I spent the months leading up to the next muzzleloader season practicing with it. I was extremely excited about hunting that year because it was going to be my first time getting to deer hunt in a stand alone. By the time muzzleloader season arrived, I was a crack-shot with my new rifle.

We loaded up the Jeep and headed to the woods the Friday before opening morning (Dad took me out of school early to go hunting). When we got to deer camp we were greeted with my uncle, Paul, telling us about a bear that came under his tree while he had been bow hunting that morning. He said the bear caught his scent and came right up to the tree he was in then stood up and leaned on the tree on its hind legs and watched him for about five minutes before moving on. After giving the bear time to move on, Paul climbed down and hightailed it back to camp.

There were a lot of hunters in camp that weekend so I ended up hunting with Dad opening morning because all the stands were taken. We didn’t see anything. Paul killed a buck about daylight. He field-dressed the buck, dragged it back to camp then went back to his stand and killed another buck about an hour later. Since he was tagged out, Paul suggested that I hunt his stand that evening. My chance had come.

I got in Paul’s stand about 2 o’clock that afternoon and settled in to wait. I didn’t see anything all afternoon, and I had watched like a hawk due to that bear being around. The sun started to dip down behind the top of the mountain behind me, so I decided to call it a day. I removed the cap, tied my string to my rifle and started lowering it out of the tree. My rifle was about halfway down when I heard a noise. I looked up and saw a spike coming down the trail towards me.

shooting tce muzzleloaderI have no idea how that deer didn’t see or hear me trying to get that rifle back up the tree. However I did it, that spike kept coming at me. I jammed a new cap on the nipple with trembling fingers, drew down on Spike and dropped the hammer. Smoke and fire blew out the end of the barrel as the rifle boomed, and I couldn’t see a freaking thing because of all the smoke. I heard the deer running then a crash.

I reloaded with shaking hands and probably spilled half the powder then hustled out of the tree. After a little bit of looking I found him. He had run about 30 yards down the bench and keeled over. I had killed my first deer with a perfect heart shot.

About 5 minutes later, my dad came walking down the bench from the direction the spike had come. Dad had pushed Spike along the bench ahead of him on his way to get me. I am not sure who was more proud, Dad or me.

Three bucks were taken from that tree in one day that year and that was how the legend of the Honey Hole Tree started. That may not sound impressive compared to where you hunt but that never happens hunting in the Ozark Mountains, where a deer camp of 10 men might tag 2-4 deer on a good Opening Morning or sometimes all season depending on the year.

We killed more deer out of that tree over the next several years, but never again so many in one day. We don’t hunt in that area anymore, but one of these days I plan on going back. Those memories are some of my most treasured.

How old were you when you first went hunting?


You can follow Jason on Twitter @thejasonparks and Instagram @jason_parks_brothers_farm.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

The Hook

by Rick Chisholm -- guest contributor
It is often asked, do you remember where you were and what you were doing when certain events took place. It’s usually pretty easy to recall, in perfect detail, those memories formed when JFK was shot, when the Challenger exploded or when those events unfolded on that fateful day in September 2001. However, being shooters, hunters and gun lovers I bet there is something else squirreled away in the back of your mind, something special, something sacred -- that precise moment when you took that first shot that changed you forever.
    I remember that event vividly, I may have been seven years old, and we were attending a small party at my uncle’s place. I had one of those uncles, the kind that was easy to idolize as a child, the kind that could produce some manner of amazing gadget at the drop of a hat, the kind that drew a crowd of wide-eyed children whenever he reached into his pocket. A family gathering never went past without the appearance of a deactivated hand grenade, or a switchblade, or the ever-popular pyrotechnics of questionable legality. Yeah, I had that kind of uncle, it was pretty awesome. Did I mention the guns? 

He was a bit of a gun nut, or maybe just a nut, although hindsight is 20/20, it’s also biased so it’s safest just to say he was an interesting fellow with a decent collection of firearms. Getting back to my story, on that evening in question in the dwindling light of a chill late summer evening a gun was introduced to the crowd. It was a strange contraption, a .22 rimfire that was fed by a sizable magazine and fired from an open bolt. Later in life I discovered this to be a French Gevarm semi-automatic, an interesting firearm to say the least. I should also say I use the term “semi-automatic” loosely, as most who have had the Gevarm experience will understand.
My uncle’s house sat near a cliff and a couple Javex bottles had been tossed down into the surging wash of the Great Lake below. Bobbing in the surf, the bottles made for frustrating targets. Several men took turns alternately sniping and cursing at the elusive quarry as my cousin and I looked on in eager anticipation. To my astonishment, I was also to get a turn. I got the usual coaching you receive as a young, first-time shooter -- butt-stock to shoulder, hand here, hand there, look down the sights, shoot the bottle.
The small firearm was heavy and unwieldy to my younger self, I think the stock ended up in my armpit as I struggled to gain a sight picture of the small, white blob, floating so far below. My small finger squeezed, the bolt slammed forward and a small lead projectile spat forth to the water below. To this day I swear I hit the bottle, but more importantly, I fell in love. I was never to be the same from that point onward, I was hooked and guns would forever have a special place in my heart. It was a defining moment that I remember like it was yesterday, a moment that is largely responsible for who I am today.
What was your first gun experience, what made you love guns? Share your story with the Beretta Nation or shoot us a tweet or comment on Facebook, we would love to hear from you.

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Rick Chisholm is an IT Security Officer and guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

2012 Long Range Sniper Competition

By Len Lucas, Manager - Technical Customer service and Training (LE/DoD) at Beretta

For the past few years Beretta has hosted the Long Range Precision Sniper Competition held at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland and co-hosted by the Baltimore Washington Metropolitan Areas, Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies; where elite two-man teams compete to earn the coveted title of  “Top Sniper”. In this grueling competition, the participants’ precision, camouflage, stalking and observational skills are put to the ultimate test.

Ten challenging events examine the teams’ expertise in long-range shooting, urban combat and covert maneuvering through realistic conflicts and environments. Bringing together the most elite snipers from around the world, the competition is made up of thirty teams from branches of the U.S. Army, Marines, Air Force and Law Enforcement SWAT teams.

Competitors test their long-range marksmanship and participate in events that push their weapons and combat skills to the extreme, including:

• Poker “Run” Shoot - competitors will run a mile course to get their hearts racing and then engage on the poker card target, best 5 card poker hand. A straight royal flush of any suit being the best hand.
• Observation Exercise - This phase of the competition will test the individual sniper teams’ communication capabilities under difficult conditions. The team will wear gas mask during the first 15 minutes of the observation and shooting phase. The team will scan and memorize as much information about the objects during the 30 minute observation time. This will test the individual teams’ knowledge of judging various distances of different objects that will be randomly placed in designated area from 50 meters to 1000 meters.
• Moving Target Phase - Each competitor fires a cold bore shot on a 1 moa target for a possible 100 points, Then will engage moving targets at 200 and 300 meters.
• Stationary Phase 300 meters and 500 meters - This phase of firing tests the individuals’ and each teams’ stationary marksmanship ability as well as their expertise in dealing with weather effects, operational position shooting, reloading techniques, and overall cohesiveness as a Counter Sniper Team.
• Cold Bore Shot, 200 meter and 500 meter - This will test the Counter Sniper Teams’ ability to accurately engage limited sized targets on a cold bore.
• Obstacle Course - One hurdle after the other, competitors get their hearts racing by running a quarter mile while carrying mission-essential equipment, sniper rifle and a 30 pound equipment pack.
• Range Estimation - This phase of the competition test the individual teams’ knowledge of judging various distances of different objects that will be randomly placed from 50 meters out to 1000 meters.
• Counter Sniper - Navigate in high risk environment and engage enemy targets with mixed non-threat targets.
• Unknown Distance Phase - Test the Counter Sniper Teams’ ability to engage steel type targets at various distances ranging from 100 meters out to a 1000 meters in seven minutes or less.
• Stalking Event - This is the most famous sniper event, competitors are judged on their ability to go undetected in open terrain during broad daylight. In full camouflage, snipers have to move toward their target, while going unseen by spotters, and place an accurate shot.

Beretta’s Law Enforcement / Defense Team was on hand displaying military and law enforcement products
The Total Solution”, sharing information and providing products and training which will aid the
sniper in accomplishing his mission.

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