By KENNETH R. COBB
For The Inter-Mountain
What is the most important piece of hunting gear? Naturally, it has to be the gun or bow.
A century ago, man did not have sound-amplifying earmuffs, laser range finders, cellular telephones and other technology. Back then, a big game hunt was a matter of man versus nature, or man versus beast.
Today, hunters need skill, but not as much. They must be well-tuned, skillful, watchful, patient and, most of all, ready. Currently, a deer hunter is capable of going out in the wilderness before daylight, bag a trophy buck and be back in town to enjoy a full-course meal before noon.
Hunting is a hobby that can be expensive. A good rifle with a telescopic sight along with hunting clothes, knife and other accessories can run a lot of money. A new centerfire rifle alone can cost from $500 upward to $3,000. To cut this cost, a person should consider purchasing a used firearm. In buying a used hunting rifle, there are some things to know as to whether you are purchasing a good one or a bad one.
Check the area around the firing pin. Remove the bolt and check the area around the bolt face. If any corrosion appears in these areas, this should tell you that the rifle has not been properly cared for. Do not buy this firearm.
Make sure that the action is working correctly. Work the action hard to check that the firing pin does not go off. Check the bore to make sure that the rifling or grooves are sharp and clean. There should be absolutely no rust in the bore.
If the used rifle is being purchased from a federally licensed firearms dealer, the chances of getting one that is hot or stolen is quite slim. Be patient when buying a used rifle and be willing to shop around.
Cold weather hunting is not for the faint-hearted. I know plenty of people, myself included, who have just simply quit because of sub-zero temperatures.
Venturing outdoors unprepared in temperatures like these is a good way to end up in the hospital with frostbite or some other kind of cold injury.
Good clothing is essential when deer hunting in this area during cold weather. Sportsmen and women will find a wide selection of outdoor clothing and footwear in any discount store this time of year. Once again, be ready to shop around and consider this purchase an investment you would like to have last for about 10-15 years.
Consider packing the body, foot and hand warmers in inclement weather. An emergency solar blanket would be helpful if a hunter is lost or injured in the woods. Some granola or energy bars, candy bars, nuts, etc., in individual packets might be a good idea. Some hunters are carrying cell phones or GPS devices to help locate them in extreme situations. Be sure to let a responsible person know where you are planning to hunt.