Over the years I’ve accumulated a number of guns of assorted calibers and have always enjoyed shooting. I’ve reloaded ammunition for centerfire rifles for more than 40 years and rarely buy factory loads.
Reloading started out as a much cheaper alternative, and I always knew what power charge I had by doing it myself. Ammunition manufacturers have refined their quality and I believe modern ammunition is every bit as accurate as reloading. But I continue to reload, even though I have trouble finding the time to do so.
I’ve always enjoyed reloading for a number of reasons. When I started, factory ammunition seemed to not provide the groups I wanted. I started out with a .243-caliber rifle that my father bought me for my 16th birthday, and after some experimenting I finally found a load that achieved a half-inch grouping at 100 yards. The purpose of striving for that group was to reduce the factors that could make me miss that all important shot at a deer. And I evidently achieved that, as that .243 has harvested many deer for me. And, as importantly, every one of my sons has shot at least one deer with that rifle.
We’re moving closer to deer season and many are anxious to find out whether they were successful in the deer lottery. Over the past several years we’ve been able to complete the lottery by the first or second week of July, but this year there was a law change that has served to delay the process to some extent.
The new law states that a gratis applicant must have their application in by the regular deadline if they are to receive an any-deer license, excluding mule deer does. If they did not apply by the deadline, they would still be eligible for a gratis license, but only for those licenses remaining after the first lottery, which in the past few years has been limited to doe licenses. With this in mind, it takes longer to enter the gratis information, including legal land descriptions, into the computer system. It is an impartial system across the board, but will certainly delay the deer drawing to some extent.
Which brings me back to the reloading situation: It’s never too early to get out and work up a new load and prepare for the deer gun season. Since I started reloading, I don’t remember how many rounds I’ve fired, but know I’ve worked up loads for a number of different rifles and I’m still working on a few. I’m always striving for that perfect group, but have yet to achieve it.
While we all look forward to the fall hunting seasons, let’s not forget about what is in front of us. Fishing has never been better in North Dakota and each week I hear about the fantastic opportunities across the state. Some lakes amaze me in that they shouldn’t be as good as they are this time of year, but I’m not going to argue about it.
Loss of habitat is continually a concern and challenge and something we’re addressing on a daily basis. Like shooting, we’re rarely satisfied with the quality or quantity of habitat that’s available in North Dakota, nor should we be. Hunting and fishing are important to many of us and we’ll continue to strive to provide as many quality opportunities as possible.
There is still time to go out and get ready to hunt this fall, whether it be trap shooting, or sighting in your rifle. But certainly don’t forget about wetting a line. The key is to enjoy what the state has to offer in the great North Dakota outdoors.