One of the perils (or at least considerations) in putting together a brief muzzleloading video is the limitations enforced by the brevity of the format itself. Certainly, no short video production can possibly convey the entire experience of a hunt, much less several hunts. Nevertheless, many folks want a lot of action in a very short period of time and “time compression” is one of the fall-outs from this.

Many of the most personally memorable hunts are not based singularly on hunting success. Sometimes, the grand finale of taking an animal generates mixed emotions. It can be quite satisfying, of course, but it also signifies the end of the hunt which is a bit sad in itself if you really enjoy the outdoors. I'm reminded of an elk hunt a while back in the Bob Marshall Wilderness that was on horseback. My horse's name was “Paint,” a more miserable and humorless animal I've never met. To spend ten days living on the back of such a vile, dead-mouthed, insipidly stupid creature is something no one would forget. Paint had very short legs making it a virtual certainty that he would quickly fall behind other horses with his normal gait. Then, Paint would become scared that other horses were not in close proximity, so would run to catch up-- pounding your posterior into the ground like a tent stake as he did. After a twenty mile day on Paint, anyone would be walking funny. Some think that I still walk funny and good old Paint must have had a lasting effect. When your legs finally give out, Paint was free to inflict the full force of his intermittent pounding on you. After the hunt was mercifully over, I offered the outfitter several hundred dollars to stake old Paint out at five hundred yards so I could have one clean shot at him. Perhaps Mike the outfitter thought I was kidding but I can assure you I was not. Sadly, the shot was never taken and Paint lives on to torture other hapless humans. It's all part of hunting. I love horses, but never knew why but now I do. None of them are exactly like Paint, which perhaps is the reason for my admiration of them.

I've had the good fortune to be able to hunt for many years. The opening caribou hunt may look effortless, but that isn't exactly the case. It took no less than six plane rides to get the job done along with a couple of bonus nights in fleabag motels. Out on the tundra, some days are warm with the bonus of black flies, but things can change in a moment. Rain or sleet is going to happen almost every day with winds picking up to the point that the lake we were hunting from can quickly become treacherous to the point where spending the night under a boat on the tundra is the only option, as many hunters have found out. When the waves are crashing into your small boat, you can only bail so fast. I learned immediately to be a very, very fast bailer. It is all part of what makes hunting a terrific memory.

It isn't hard to comment on the most spectacular shot on this video clip. It wasn't from me, it was from my soon to be eighty-two years young father. It was Dad's first muzzleloading hunt, it happened in the waning hours on the very last day of the North Carolina muzzleloading season, and it was Dad's first shot out of a Savage 10ML-II. It was a storybook ending of sorts. No one can use a Hornady XTP, some Accurate Arms 5744, and a Savage 10ML-II any more effectively at 225 yards than my Dad did right there. Dad wouldn't dream of using any other muzzleloader other than his Savage and perhaps you can see why.

Some folks might wonder what in the world Al Jolson has to do with deer or caribou hunting? Good question. Well, if you have ever heard Henry Ball sing, Henry being the original patent holder of what has become the Savage 10ML series of muzzleloading rifles for the last decade, you'd agree that Al Jolson is the better choice. Inclusion of Al Jolson is just a homage to where the basics of the 10ML were developed, in Carolina in the nineties. Whether it was always in the morning or not I can't say.

I believe that confidence is one of the most important factors translating to success in the field. There is no substitute for a rifle that inspires great confidence. With all the time and money we spend on hunting, by far the cheapest investment of all is your rifle. Next year, expired tags and consumables have nothing to offer you. But a quality rifle sure does. It can serve you well for a lifetime like no other piece of hunting equipment can.

The camaraderie has a lot to do with any hunt. We can't do much better than taking a kid hunting. It's been said that those who hunt with their kids will never have to hunt for their kids; there is more than a little truth in that. The great American tradition of hunting and shooting is something that we need to continue to strive to pass along. If we don't, future generations will have no idea what they are missing. It is hard to put a price on wonderful memories. As a bonus, I'm a big believe in feeding the hungry. I'm always hungry.

As hunters and those that respect and admire nature, we owe it to the trophies we stalk to do the best, cleanest job possible. There is no doubt in my mind that the one-shot, one-kill philosophy of muzzleloading is one of the very best ways to accomplish those goals and also one of the most satisfying. If there is any question about the tremendous effectiveness of a high-quality muzzleloader in the field, this brief video featuring the Savage 10ML-II shows that there really shouldn't be. It is a great way to hunt, a great way to experience the outdoors, and perhaps even a greater way to build memories that are unforgettable.



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