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In a Foreign Land November 2017
Gerhard Schroeder

                  Niklas trying Steve’s AR                               It’s the wild west, after all. They loved this Puma levergun

Edmund and Niklas accepted. My invitation to come visit Arizona, that is. You may know that I’ve managed to make it to Germany about every December in recent years. There they had always invited my brother and me to hunt waterfowl on their lease. Now it was my turn to play host, for ten days. We would not waste a minute.

The very first morning we were at our familiar shooting location off Table Mesa exit, trying some of my guns they had selected the evening before, for the hunting they wanted to do. That was bear, or whatever predator would come in to our calling, and quail and rabbit. Of course we also played a little.

In the middle of our plinking session quail showed up. Steve had heard them. Now, Edmund, Niklas and I pursued. About 30 minutes later we returned. Note that temperatures were still above 90. And it was the first day of quail season.

Edmund had dropped the only quail we got. Niklas got lucky that this fellow rattled first, about three steps away. Both were delighted about taking their first ‘exotic’ game, by German reference. After our plinking session we stopped on our way out, trying for more quail. Didn’t find any, but Edmund added a cottontail to that day’s dinner. I had suggested to add the rattler to the pot, but they both declined.

The very next day we got up early again, this time to be in bear country at first light. At least the temperatures up on the Rim were pleasant. We stayed there for two nights, did a lot of varmint calling. But nothing came in. Well, not exactly. At one stand a curious cow elk moved in a little closer. We all enjoyed hearing a few bugles, seeing bull elk and mule deer and turkeys.

Bear camp. Cool pines, but no predators responded to our fake promises of an easy meal. It is always an adventure to explore new terrain on your own.

              They discovered a place of beauty.                         This guy definitely counts among the exotics for them.

At a waterhole we did find this track. Reason enough for Edmund to sit in ambush
there that evening, hoping for bear. But only two whitetail bucks came in.
He managed to ‘nail’ this one with his phone.

Their trip wasn’t only about hunting. One day was dedicated to the Big Hole. On our way there we detoured briefly through the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. They considered the bunny population there as ironic. Speaking of …

... in their neck of the woods it is so very unlikely to find that many cottontails, or this bumper sticker.

So we did the Grand Canyon thing. But back to hunting, and look at this coyote country.

And finally our calling got answered.

A very happy Niklas with his coyote. He also liked my Tikka.

To summarize the remaining hunting adventures, of which Niklas got the lion share:

Niklas with his first quail. And just like the coyote this jack died running.
Note the missing head – and did I mention he liked that T3 in .243?

    We all got into a good covey of quail.                                           Edmund with a jack.

A few parting comments:

They also tried the famous prickly pear fruit
And can you guess what Edmund stalked here after dark?

By the way, Edmund is a professional gunsmith. Has trained at Sauer & Sohn, and others. When I told him about a recently acquired Heym-built 98 sporter which had trouble cocking, he, without seeing that rifle, immediately asked if it had a Timney trigger. It did, and he fixed it.

Unusual in Germany, but he had worked on and made reliable a few M1 carbines. I have known of a few here in AZ, shot one, all plagued with reliability issues. He said each one needed different tweaking to make it work.

Edmund confirmed that by far the most asked-for caliber in new rifles there (they recently tend to have shorter barrels, typically around 20 inches) is the .308 Win, followed by the 8mm Mauser (8x57). That’s because today rifles see most of their duty during running boar hunts. And those two calibers have demonstrated good knockdown without excessive blast from the shorter barrels. In third place may be the 9.3x62.

On my favorite subject of suppressors, the world in Europe is different as well. Note that a basic Tikka T3X sells there for about $1500! But suppressors rarely cost more than $400. In Germany it depends on the county if they allow a hunter to get one, but no special application is required, only registration like a firearm. The best Cans come from Norway and Sweden. Their designs also vary, but clearly address hunting application. They are not rated for semi-auto fire. Some are even made of carbon fiber, super light, but if you indeed shoot 3 or 4 successive rounds, please let the thing cool until making another shot.

Our time together flew by. Niklas mentioned he can’t remember when he had last experienced ten days in a row with sunny skies, actually almost cloudless. They flew back on a Sunday. I made sure that my Tikka was not in his suitcase.

Then, three days later, I followed. This time visiting my folks in Germany in late October-early November instead of my typical December routine. That was due to an invitation to a family event, a baptism. In Germany it rained almost every day, hence no pictures. No wild boar, either. But I enjoyed my brother’s .222 Rem again, bagging roe deer (all does) and geese. Yes, it is legal there to use a rifle. An unforgettable experience to down a goose from over 250 yards away. Did that twice, when they were feeding on some fields.

I would have liked to stay a little longer, since it’s the season there for party / drive hunts, which always have a good possibility of flushing out boars. But my own whitetail hunt here in Arizona made me return. Even in retirement there is never enough time .

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