Monday, May 28, 2012

.45 GAP Handgun Safari

While returning from the IALEFI Master Firearms Instructor Development Course held last November in Chattanooga, I decided to stop off at the Caryonah Hunting Lodge in Crossville, Tennessee to do some Handgun hunting.  The Caryonah Lodge has the distinction of being the oldest family-owned hunting lodge in the United States.  It has been owned and operated by the same family for over sixty years.  I had hunted at the Lodge once before, so I knew exactly what to expect.  Excellent food and lodging, and a great hunting experience in the Eastern Mountains of Tennessee with my favorite Caryonah guide, Doug. 

On this trip, I was going to hunt several species of the Exotic Rams and Goats with the Glock Model 37 pistol, chambered for the .45 Glock Action Pistol (GAP) round.  Exotics are specialty game animals that have been imported into the U.S. from foreign lands that most hunters can only dream of going to.  For ammunition, I would be using the Corbon 200 grain JHP bullet.  These hollow-points resemble the old Speer "Flying Ashtrays" of the 1970’s.  I chose the .45 GAP cartridge because the Glock 37, equipped with factory night sights, and a Glock tactical illuminator is my favorite Home Defense pistol, and the Glock 38, in .45 GAP is my personal Concealed Carry pistol.  My research also showed that no hunter had yet to take any game animals with the .45 GAP cartridge, so these Critters would probably be the first game animals ever harvested with this round in the United States.

We started the day off with an excellent breakfast at the main lodge.  After eating far too much, my guide Doug and I headed afield.  Three days prior to my hunt, eastern Tennessee had experienced several days of torrential rainfall, so the game seemed to be non-existent.  After a couple of hours of hunting, we finally found a very nice Painted Desert Ram high up on a ridge.  Doug and I formulated a plan of attack, so I took off to stalk this Ram and to hopefully get within iron-sight handgun range.  I got to within thirty yards of the Ram but the brush was far too heavy for a clear, ethical shot, so the Ram caught sight of me and ran off.

Doug and I regrouped and came to the conclusion that the heavy rains had pushed these animals into deep cover, so we'd have to push the heaviest brush we could find on the 2,400 acre lodge.  About an hour or so later, we were making a push through some fairly heavy brush when we spotted a herd of Rams sneaking ahead of us.  I took off to the right of the herd and spotted an exceptional Barbarossa Ram stepping into a clearing.  One shot from the Glock dropped the Ram solidly.  He sported a very nice 32" spread on his horns.  After taking some photos and dressing out the Ram I took off to stalk the remaining group of Rams.

The next Ram I spotted was the same Painted Desert Ram I had stalked on the ridge earlier that morning.  He saw me and immediately took off.  After several minutes of careful stalking, I managed to cut him off and dropped him with the .45 GAP as well.  The Painted Desert Ram is one of the most beautiful of all the Exotic Ram species.  This one was no exception.  Doug came up and we took some more photographs, and dressed the Ram out, so I went after the group once again. 

Sometime later, I spotted a very nice Black Hawaiian Ram sneaking through the brush.  I acted as if I hadn't seen him and continued walking past him to set up an ambush point further up the game trail.  The Ram appeared right where I expected him to show, but sensed I was there and turned to run.  Another one of the Corbon "Flying Ashtrays" found its mark and the Black Ram was mine.  We performed the customary photographic ritual once again and dressed out the Ram.  We headed back to the lodge with our quarry and had a fine lunch.

After lunch, Doug had mentioned that he had seen a fine Jacobs (4-horn) Ram in some high Swale grass in another corner of the lodge.  We proceed to the location and started to hunt the area.  A short time later, I saw a patch of white off to my right and then saw the outline of a very nice Spanish Goat standing broadside.  The Goat turned to beat a hasty retreat, but the 200 grain Corbon JHP caught him behind the left shoulder and he went down in a heap.

As I was walked towards the downed Spanish Goat, I saw a set of horns protruding well above the Swale grass off to my left.  I studied the grass intently and made out the outline of a large Jacobs Ram.  I stalked the Ram to within seven yards or so.  The Jacobs Ram kept very still in the deep, high grass.  I surmised that the Ram probably believed that I hadn’t seen him, so he'd stay put until I passed him by.  That was a mistake on his part.  When I finally got a shot on this Ram, he just looked at me as if I had missed.  I couldn’t believe it!  I shot him twice more before he finally fell.  The Jacobs Ram is a thick and extremely woolly beast, so I believe that some of that matted wool may have plugged up the hollow-point bullet so it may not have expanded as expected.  All three of my shots were very well placed and lethal.  We took our final photos of the Safari and then dressed out these two fine animals.

We drove back to the lodge and hung these animals with the other three Rams that I had taken earlier.  All in all, I harvested five excellent animals on this Tennessee Safari.  They will all make wonderful wall mounts for my training room.  The taxidermist soon arrived and took possession of these five magnificent beasts. 

This hunt has all but completed my Grand Slam for the Exotic Rams species.  Several years prior, I had taken a very surly Wild Boar, an excellent Texas Dall Ram and a beautiful Corsican Ram at Caryonah.  The final Ram I need for Grand Slam status is the Mouflon Ram.  The Mouflon Ram is traditionally found in the Balkans and in the mountains of northern Greece.  Being that I am of Greek decent, a nice Mouflon Ram is high on my list of trophy game animals. 

I planned on leaving very early the following morning, so I bid goodbye to the staff at Caryonah and to my guide Doug that evening.  With such as successful hunt under my belt, the ten-hour drive back to the Chicago area didn't seem so awful.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Two-day Tactical Pistol Course Registered & Approved with NRA LEAD.

First, let me apologize for not posting anything in a while, but I've been very busy with training classes, creating new Power Point presentations, lesson plans, and written examinations.  I finally had time to finish up the ATTS Two-day Tactical Pistol Course and the course is now registered & approved with the NRA LEAD. 

The fourth course we are anxious to get registered and approved by the NRA's LEAD is the ATTS Two-day Precision Rifle (Sniper) Course.  I've already finished up the Power Point presentation and have almost completed the lesson plan and written exam.  I'm sure this course will be well received once it's completed. 

I attended the ILEETA Conference in Wheeling, Illinois this April and picked up several more instructor credentials.  The most important being the Force on Force Air-Soft Instructor.  ATTS will be offering it's first Dynamic Force on Force Air-Soft Training course on Saturday, June 16th, in Elk Grove Village.  Air-soft is an excellent tactical training tool and is about as close as you can get to actual gunfighting.

ATTS will be holding the first of it's two Black Rifle (AR-15) Basics courses on June 2-3, 2012, and the first of it's two Tactical Shotgun courses on July 14-15, 2012.  Please check the course schedule on our website for additional dates.