Whether it be your .22-caliber rifle you use for squirrels or a shotgun with slugs, you owe it to your quarry to hunt with accuracy. There are many ranges available in the state or you may do it on private property. Even if your firearm held zero last season, it still is a good idea to check it.
Weather conditions, a bump or just leaning against something can throw your point of impact off enough to make a bad hit or a complete miss.
As soon as a bullet leaves the muzzle, gravity tugs it toward earth at the accelerating rate of 32.17 feet a second. No bullet flies straight. As drag applies the brakes, drop per unit of distance becomes ever more precipitous. So a bullet’s arc is parabolic, steeper on the target end.
Gravity doesn’t care about the terrific drag a bullet meets flying at Mach 3. If you drop a bullet off your shooting bench and fire one across flat ground at the same instant, they’ll hit the ground at the same time. Sounds strange, doesn’t it?
I always take my firearm out and check zero before every season. Now that we have fully rifled barrels in shotguns, the same formula remains. The new shotguns really shoot very well, and I never even realized that companies could, or would, come up with shotguns that shoot as well as they do. I know that companies tend to continue to manufacture improvements on everything. It causes you to want a new car, compound bow or even a boat. Some of the new rods and reels are some of the greatest I have ever seen.
This week, I traveled east of Marseilles to see the construction of the new boat ramp above the dam. The work has been good, and it looked like it was about two-thirds done. This will be good for Marseilles, as many out-of-town folks will buy fuel, eat at our restaurants and have more room to park their vehicles. With the amount of watercraft traffic, especially on weekends, we need this ramp and parking lot to increase tourism. I can’t wait to use it.
I hope to see many of you at Sandy Ford’s annual Fall Chicken Dinner. This will be Sept. 18 at the clubhouse, 1368 N. 18th Road, Streator. Servings start at 5 p.m. and go until 7 p.m. Donations are $8, $4 for kids younger than 12.
Again, catfish are hitting above and below the dams on the Illinois and Fox rivers. Gizzard shad or river herring are the best baits, either fished on the bottom or presented with a float while drifting. White bass are starting to feed in schools on the Illinois. Watch for surface activity near creek mouths and sandbars.
Early Canada goose hunters continue to do well on the rivers. The season ended Sept. 15. Most of the young geese were easy to take, as they hadn’t been shot at. Most marinas and folks who live near the rivers don’t like them, as geese make a large mess.
• Fred Krause is a Shaw Media correspondent.