Howard Delo

The Wasilla Hockey Boosters annual gun show starts tomorrow at Wasilla High School. I think the doors open at 10am and I believe the admission price is seven dollars for adults. I’m planning to be there, hopefully helping the Mt. McKinley blackpowder club at their table. If that all works out, I’ll have a few different round ball molds for sale on the club’s sale table. Stop by and say hi!

If you’re planning to submit written comments on proposals coming before the Board of Fisheries at their Upper Cook Inlet meeting in February in Anchorage, next Thursday, Jan. 23, is the deadline for submission. Hopefully, you’ll either attend the early part of the meeting and provide oral testimony or submit something in writing by the deadline.

We stand a chance of regaining some of the ground lost at the 2017 meeting regarding passage of our northern-bound salmon through the Central District drift gillnet fishery. If you care about our Coho returns, you should participate in one form or another. The BOF tries to base their decisions on the science and biology of things, but they do count noses of who shows up. Not participating either in person or in writing tells the board there is no interest in what they are doing – not a good thing when trying to regain lost ground! The commercial drifters will be there in numbers – guaranteed!

When I was a kid, I had my own subscription to Outdoor Like magazine and I read every issue of Field and Stream and Sports Afield magazines I could get my hands on. I devoured all the hunting stories and dreamed of owning some of the firearms profiled in the magazines. I was such a fanatic, when my paternal grandfather passed away, my grandmother had the remaining year or two of his subscription to Outdoor Life added on to my subscription.

I grew up in a gun and hunting family. My dad hunted white-tailed deer almost every year in Michigan (when work would allow) and we made an annual squirrel hunting trip to southern Illinois for several years prior to the start of the school year. When I got old enough to drive, my brother and I would travel to various counties in Illinois to hunt deer with our muzzleloading rifles. We would also bowhunt for deer on a federal research station’s fenced-in, extensive wooded acreage near home. We were, technically, trespassing but we figured the worst they would do is run us off. Sometimes, being a kid can have some advantages (don’t show this to your youngsters!)!

My dad expanded his handloading over time to offset the cost of teaching us kids safe gun handling and shooting practices. He also taught us how to safely handload the various calibers we shot, i.e., checking for the correct amount of powder in each case. We were expected to help with various steps in the handloading process and, as my dad became comfortable we weren’t going to screw up something in the handloading sequence, we were allowed to handload our own ammunition, from start to finish.

As the kids grew older and some left home, coupled with my dad’s increasing responsibilities at work, his disposable income increased and he was able to add firearms of interest to him to his gun collection. He also started doing some trading and he loved to go to gun shows, if he had a little extra money to work with.

As you can imagine, growing up in this type of household, I developed a lifelong interest in hunting, shooting, and working with firearms. And, as you know, I continue to follow those interests. I like to talk guns with anyone interested and I’ll often tell the story of each hunt I participate in.

I’ve been writing about this stuff for several years now. Occasionally, I’ll slip over into a discussion about some specific firearm or caliber I’ve recently shot or hunted with. Since gun control is such a volatile topic, I must be careful how I approach the subject in this column. I won’t claim to be an expert, but I do have extensive knowledge of all the various classes of firearms out there: i.e., rifles, handguns, muzzleloaders, and blackpowder cartridge firearms.

I may test the waters in the future writing about firearms here. I’ve always wanted to be a so-called gun writer, but that’s a tough nut to crack in the gun magazine venue. If you have an opinion, let the editor know.

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