Ask your U.S. Senators to support and co-sponsor National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Legislation! Read more…
Anybody who is exposed to the so-called news media these days faces a barrage of bewildering and often outlandish claims. “Breaking news” cycles through the public eye with such frequency and speed that knowing what’s important, much less what’s true, is becoming increasingly difficult. That’s why it’s more critical than ever to stay focused and resolute when it comes to your Second Amendment rights. Because the media wants you — and your elected representatives — to forget why you elected this pro-gun Congress. And for gun owners, there no more important political objective than enacting a national reciprocity law.
Rest assured, your NRA has not forgotten. While the media maelstrom flits from one (usually fabricated or embellished) crisis to the next, we have remained calmly focused on the job our members depend on us to do: protecting and advancing the right to keep and bear arms. Our number one agenda item on Capitol Hill remains passage of national reciprocity.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has already passed the House with a bipartisan majority. Your NRA is now laying the groundwork for success in the Senate. We’re ensuring every Senate office knows where we stand on this landmark legislation for gun owners. We’re dispelling misinformation and providing the facts that support the necessity of the bill. We’re telling the stories of decent, upstanding Americans’ whose lives were turned upside by the status quo, which empowers anti-gun states to trample on the rights of good people so anti-gun politicians and bureaucrats can advance their own ambitions.
But the fact is, we cannot do it alone. The strength of the NRA has always resided in its members and their unwavering commitment to American liberty. Despite what the media wants you to believe, we are on track to make historic gains for your right to defend yourself, wherever your travels in the U.S. may take you.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to cosponsor and support passage of national reciprocity legislation. You can call your U.S. Senators via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or click here to take action.
In 1997, Charlton Heston lamented: “We’ve reached that point in time when our national social policy originates on ‘Oprah.’” Here it is again! Keep reading…
Democrats searching for a standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential election lit on long-time entertainment, media, and publishing figure Oprah Winfrey last week, following a speech Winfrey gave at a televised Hollywood extravaganza. Winfrey received wide acclaim for her remarks, but amidst the #oprah2020 mania that has followed, questions have arisen over what Winfrey stands for politically and whether she has the desire and skill set to lead the Free World. Some of those questions remain unanswered, but for gun owners, one thing is crystal clear: Oprah Winfrey embraces the staunchly anti-gun posture of contemporary Hollywood.
Winfrey’s anti-gun activism dates back to at least the 1990s when she was closely involved with the rabidly anti-gun group CeaseFire, Inc. The now defunct group’s website, still archived online, attests to its fanaticism. It’s Mission Statement, for example, explained:
Through a coordinated public service announcement (PSA) print and broadcast campaign, our mission is to mobilize a broad cross section of American leadership to educate and promote handgun-free homes and families. By highlighting the public health implications of handgun violence, Cease Fire can educate Americans to view handguns as the inherently unsafe and dangerous products they are, and not appropriate to have in any home. [Emphasis added.]
Oprah Winfrey was part of this “education” campaign, appearing in CeaseFire’s print and broadcast ads and in its fundraising materials.
CeaseFire pioneered elements of the modern anti-gun publicity playbook, heavily promoting dubious factoids and inflating statistics about firearms’ supposed toll on “children” by including statistics pertaining to 18- and 19-year-old adults (a common age for gang membership). Its ads featured actors such as Winfrey and Paul Newman gravely recounting media stories about gun owners accidentally killing their loved ones. Even gun safes, according to the group’s ads, weren’t to be trusted. Taglines included, “Before you bring a gun in the house, think about it” and “A Home is no place for a handgun.”
The legendary Charlton Heston, who would go on to be one of the NRA’s most iconic presidents, lamented in 1997, “We’ve reached that point in time when our national social policy originates on ‘Oprah.’”
Indeed, in 2000, Winfrey promoted the so-called Million Mom March (the march) on her popular daytime talk show. The march was actually a Mother’s Day rally of women in support of gun control on the National Mall. Although the actual number of “marchers” who attended the D.C. rally was considerably less than a “million,” the event received a major boost from Winfrey’s free publicity. The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence — which later merged with the anti-gun organization that formed around the march — recounts that the march’s website crashed from the crush of traffic generated when its online address was published during Winfrey’s show. Winfrey told her viewers that if they didn’t “do something” to stop “children” from being killed by firearms, they were “part of the problem.”
Insisting that she is “apolitical,” Winfrey nevertheless became a staunch supporter of Barack Obama’s hyper-partisan political career. Wikidpedia states that “Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama was one of the most widely covered and studied developments of the 2008 presidential campaign.” One paper by two economists from the University of Maryland estimates that Winfrey’s endorsement “was responsible for approximately 1,000,000 additional votes for Obama,” potentially swaying the 2008 Democratic primary in the two-term president’s favor. “Winfrey, for her part, described Obama’s political ascendance as “beyond and above politics” and “something new.”
Obama’s strongly pro-gun control views clearly did not diminish Oprah Winfrey’s support for him. Rather, she repeatedly used her vast public reach to support Obama’s gun control agenda during his presidency. At Harvard’s commencement in 2013, for example, Winfrey plugged the administration’s #1 gun control initiative, “universal background checks.” In 2016, she indicated support for an “assault weapons” ban (another Obama-backed measure) in the wake of a mass murder in Orlando, Florida. “Are we a country that really believes that assault weapons should be made available to anybody?” she commented. “Are assault weapons necessary? I … just say, ‘enough.’”
Fortunately, unlike most of her other high-profile endeavors, Oprah Winfrey’s gun control activism has been a failure, at least as measured by additional federal gun control laws. But it’s hard to overstate the immense cult of personality that surrounds her, as well as the reflexive adulation she engenders from her fellow elites in entertainment and media. Like Barack Obama — with whom she remains close — a President Oprah Winfrey could count on their unconditional support, as well as their protection against any serious scrutiny or criticism.
Gun owners know that the last thing America needs is another gun-control absolutist as president. Because while Oprah Winfrey is wrong that handguns do not belong in the home, it’s true that handgun abolitionists do not belong in the White House.
Wonderful news! Finally, 1911 pistols will soon be available to citizens via the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Read all about it!
On December 12, 2017, President Trump signed into law H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA). Included in the law is a provision long sought by collectors of vintage firearms and militaria that would require military surplus M1911/M1911A1 pistols (1911s) to be made available for sale to the American public. The military currently has some 100,000 excess 1911s sitting in storage at taxpayer expense.
A previous version of the NDAA signed into law by then-President Obama in 2015 authorized, but did not require, the Secretary of Defense to transfer up to 10,000 surplus 1911s per year to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for sale to the public. Unsurprisingly, no such transfers were ever made while Obama remained in the White House.
The language in the 2018 NDAA effectively establishes a mandatory pilot program under which at least 8,000 — and as many as 10,000 — 1911s would be transferred to the CMP for public sale in 2018. The Secretary of Defense must then report to Congress on the outcome of the program. Thereafter, the Secretary would be authorized to continue transferring up to 10,000 surplus 1911s a year to the CMP for further such sales.
Despite the typical heated (and inaccurate) rhetoric from gun control advocates, the CMP pistols sales will utilize a variety of safeguards that exceed even the normal procedures the organization has used for years to distribute surplus military M1 Garands, M1 carbines, and .22 rimfire trainers.
For example, the pistol sales may only occur through a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) in the purchaser’s state of residence, who of course will be obligated to obey all state and local laws of the point of sale. Sales records allowing for the tracing of the firearms — should they later be found at a crime scene — will be kept both by the CMP and by the transferring FFL. Furthermore, the buyer must receive the pistol from the FFL in a face-to-face transaction at the FFL’s business premises. Pistols will not be provided directly to the buyers by the CMP.
The CMP has further indicated two background checks will be conducted in connection with each sale, one by the CMP prior to shipping the pistol to the specified FFL and another by the FFL before releasing the pistol to the customer at the FFL’s place of business. And while federal law allows an FFL to transfer a firearm three days after a “delay” response by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the CMP will only transfer the firearm to the FFL if NICS provides a “proceed” response to the first background check.
Those wishing to acquire one of the surplus 1911s must be U.S. citizens, eligible to receive firearms under federal law and the laws of their places of residence, members of a CMP-affiliated club, and able to provide proof of participation in a marksmanship activity. Only one 1911 will be available to each customer per calendar year.
Once 10,000 orders are received, the CMP will assign a random number to each customer. These customers will be contacted in sequence with the grading and pricing options that are then available.
No timeline for release or pricing information is currently available.
Nevertheless, this is another major victory for gun owners under the Trump administrations. The NRA in particular would like to thank Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) for their leadership in this historic effort.
Stayed tuned for further updates on the implementation of this program.
Here’s a follow-up to the news presented here last time on the historic House passing of H.R. 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act… Keep reading!
Immediately upon passing the House of Representatives, H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, gained support from a coalition of America’s highest-ranking law enforcement officers. Twenty-four attorneys general from across the country signed a letter spearheaded by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley supporting this common sense legislation.
The additional support for Concealed Carry Reciprocity follows House Judiciary Committee approval of H.R. 38. A full House vote is expected soon.
“America’s highest-ranking law enforcement officers understand that law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while traveling across state lines without fear of unknowingly breaking the law. The NRA applauds these attorneys general for supporting this important legislation,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action.
The letter states that H.R. 38 is a much-needed solution to a problem facing gun owners and poses no threat to public safety. “The exercise of Congress’s power is particularly warranted in this case because too many states refuse to allow law-abiding visitors to carry concealed firearms. These states leave people without any real option for self-defense. Allowing concealed carry across state lines will not result in an increased risk of crime, as those states that have reciprocal concealed-carry agreements have not encountered any significant safety issues.”
H.R. 38 would eliminate the confusing patchwork of state laws that make it difficult for law-abiding gun owners to travel across the country with their firearms for personal protection. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act affirms that law-abiding citizens who are qualified to carry concealed firearms in one state can carry in other states that allow residents to do so.
A copy of the letter signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma*, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming can be found HERE.
Great news for gun owners everywhere! H.R. 38 passes! Read all about it…
In a resounding show of support for the Second Amendment, on December 7 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a legislative package that included H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, and H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act of 2017. The bipartisan vote of 231 to 198 advanced a measure that would allow law-abiding Americans who are eligible to carry a concealed handgun under the law of a state to do so in all other U.S. states and territories that recognize the right of their own residents to carry concealed. Without a doubt, this is the strongest piece of self-defense legislation to ever come before Congress. It would also help shore up the National Instant Criminal Background Check System used for licensing and retail firearm purchases by adding additional layers of transparency and accountability to the system.
With this vote, the U.S. Congress ratified the premise that firearms in the hands of law-abiding Americans are a force for good. This of course has been borne out again and again over the past three decades, as more and more Americans have embraced their right to bear arms for self-defense through concealed carry. The nation’s violent crime rate has fallen to historic lows during this time, and concealed carry licensees have proven themselves one of the most law-abiding populations in America.
Today, all 50 states have laws under which residents may carry or apply to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia broadly recognize a right to do so. The remaining eight states, however, have laws that allow even the most qualified applicants to be denied a license unless they can show an extraordinary “reason” for having one.
This results in an arbitrary and unconstitutional system where people are denied their right to carry not because they’re a public safety risk but because licensing officials simply don’t believe that “ordinary” people should have the right. Meanwhile, favoritism and corruption are permitted to flourish, with licenses handed out to celebrities, rich political donors, and sometimes even applicants with disqualifying backgrounds who can afford to bribe the right people.
H.R. 38 would end this two-tiered system and ensure that no upstanding American would be denied an effective means of self-defense while traveling from state to state.
Needless to say, antigun forces will be marshalling an all-out effort to try to block concealed carry reciprocity in the Senate. The same people who insist that Congress has essentially unlimited authority to pass nationwide gun control that would undermine the pro-gun polices of most states are hypocritically citing “states’ rights” as a reason to oppose concealed carry reciprocity.
Yet under H.R. 38, states would maintain complete control of the standards by which they issue their own concealed carry licenses. And property owners, whether public or private, would maintain discretion over the carrying of firearms on their own premises. The primary effect of the bill would be that a handful of anti-gun states could no longer arrest and prosecute travelers simply for crossing into their territory with an otherwise lawfully carried concealed handgun. Any criminal behavior committed with that firearm, of course, would still be subject to the full force of local law.
Opponents of H.R. 38 argued against the bill by citing statistics concerning firearm-related crime and suicide. They did and could not, however, establish that lawful concealed carriers are the driving force of these incidents. Indeed, violent crime and criminals who recognize no restrictions on their own actions are the very reason law-abiding people wish to have their own means of self-protection. Concealed carry reciprocity simply helps even the playing field between law-abiding Americans and predatory criminals.
If the Senate is to send the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act to President Trump for his long-promised signature, American gun owners will have to make their voices heard as never before in the nation’s history.
This vote was a huge step forward for the right of law-abiding Americans to carry a firearm for self-protection, but the fight is not over yet.
More deceit, lies, and the emergence of a very clear agenda from the anti-gunners: read how the “Giffords” seeks to disarm Americans and even take away great-grandad’s gun…
It didn’t take long after the events in Las Vegas, Nevada for gun control advocates to resort to their usual tactic of blaming hardware for the acts of an evil man. Numerous anti-gun bills were introduced almost immediately, with arch anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) leading the charge. “This is written in clean English,” Feinstein insisted of her bill. “It does not take anyone’s gun.” Less than a month later, however, Feinstein abandoned the pretense of “not taking” guns and introduced perhaps the most sweeping gun and magazine ban in U.S. history.
Close on her heels last week was the recently-rebranded “Giffords” gun control consortium, which released a report that used the current debate over firearm legislation to, well, advocate for gun bans too. But the Giffords report went well beyond the usual gun control talking points in extending its attack all the way to muzzle-loading firearms. From the modern to the archaic, no gun is safe from the newly-emboldened prohibition lobby.
Considering these proposals, it’s hard to imagine how any firearm can thread the needle through all the justifications gun control advocates use to argue for additional bans.
Semiautomatic carbines that use detachable magazines must go, they say, because they can fire too many (relatively small) rounds too quickly.
But muzzleloaders — which fire one shot at a time and must be laboriously loaded through by hand down the barrel — can deliver what “Giffords” calls “a particularly lethal .50 caliber round” and are therefore unacceptable as well.
Bump stocks should be banned, according to the report, because they increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle held against the shoulder.
Yet dispensing with the stock entirely — as in the case of AR- or AK-style pistols — also presents a problem for the “Giffords” group because that creates guns capable of firing rifle-sized cartridges that are “concealable like handguns.”
But concealability of course isn’t the only problem for “Giffords.” Exceptionally large guns are out, too. The Giffords report goes on to fault modern .50 caliber rifles for combining “long range, accuracy, and massive firepower.”
Of course, the actual use of .50 caliber rifles to commit crime in the U.S. is vanishingly rare, thanks to their considerable weight, bulk, and price tag. A five-foot long gun that weighs nearly 33 lbs. and costs as much as many used cars is not likely to be the sort of tool most common criminals will lug from one crime scene to the next.
Where does this all lead? The Boston Globe answered that question this week with an article headlined, “Hand over your weapons.” It states: “The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street — confiscation is far and away the most effective approach.” This thesis is accompanied by the usual celebration of Australia’s mass gun confiscation effort, an almost mandatory feature of any journalistic exploration of gun control these days.
And while admitting that “America is not Australia,” the Globe writer nevertheless asserts “there’s no way around” the conclusion that widespread gun ownership is to blame for violent crime in America and that the solution must involve confiscating “millions of those firearms.”
It’s telling that the “Giffords” organization — once among the more moderate of the gun control advocacy groups — now demands curbs on the sorts of muzzleloaders that it admits “fell out of favor as a firearm of choice almost a century ago, and are generally seen as primitive antiques.”
But what’s really out of favor and antiquated, in the unforgiving worldview of gun abolitionists, is your Second Amendment rights. The values of America’s Founding Fathers are just as obnoxious to them as the revolutionary-era rifles that helped win America’s freedom.
Don’t buy into these age-old myths! Sheriff Jim tells the truth, and the truth might just save your life… Keep reading!
SOURCE: NRA Publications, Shooting Illustrated by Sheriff Jim Wilson
Just about the time it appears they have been proven false and dismissed, the same self-defense and gun myths pop again. Part of this is probably due to the fact there are always new people who finally realize they need to do something about their personal safety and begin seeking answers. Unfortunately, it is also due to the tendency of some people to pass on advice they have heard, but never took the time to find out if it is really true. Since it sounds cool, it must be right. This is one of the many reasons why defensive shooters need to receive professional training. With a good, professional instructor, it is remarkable how many of these myths quickly fall by the wayside and are replaced by cold, hard facts. Let’s look at three of the old self-defense myths that just won’t die and discuss the truths they conceal.
Myth No. 1: Hit him anywhere with a .45 and it will knock him down. This myth probably started with the advent of the .45 Colt back in the 1870s, but it has been repeated most often when people refer to the .45 ACP. Nowadays, you will hear it touted regarding the .44 Mag., the .41 Mag., the .40 S&W or whatever new and powerful pistol cartridge that has just been introduced. The truth was discovered way back in 1687, when Sir Isaac Newton published his third law of motion. Newton stated that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, if a bullet shot from a handgun was so powerful that it could actually knock a person down, it would also knock the shooter down. There are a lot of reasons why a person who is shot may appear to fall down, or even be knocked down. But, the truth is the force of the bullet striking him is not knocking him off his feet. That only happens in the movies and TV. In reality, a person who is shot with even a relatively powerful handgun may show very little indication of being hit. There will also be very little sign of blood, especially at first. Therefore, the defensive shooter should not rely on these as cues that the fight is over. The important thing is to recover from recoil, regain your sight picture and quickly re-evaluate the threat. If the criminal is still armed — whether or not he is on his feet — and if he appears to still be a threat, additional shots may be necessary. Just don’t expect the bad guy to go flying off his feet, because it probably won’t happen.
Myth No. 2: There’s no need to aim a shotgun, just point it in the general direction of the bad guy and fire.
The shotgun is an awesome firearm that is altogether too often overlooked by today’s defensive shooters. However, it is not a magic wand. People who claim you don’t have to aim a shotgun have simply never done patterning tests with their favorite defensive smoothbore. When shot exits a shotgun barrel, it does so in almost one solid mass. That mass is smaller than a man’s fist. It is only as the shot travels downrange that it begins to spread apart, and it spreads much more gradually than a lot of people expect. Whether you are using buckshot or birdshot, from 0 to 10 yards you should consider it to be one projectile. Actually, by about 7 yards the shot has begun to spread noticeably, but not as much as you might think. From 10 yards to about 25 yards, the average shotgun will deliver a pattern that will still stay on the chest area of a silhouette target. But, by 25 yards some of the pellets may stray off target. When dealing with a threat at 25 yards and beyond, it’s time to think about transitioning to a slug. Instead of taking anyone’s word for it — mine included — the defensive shotgunner should run pattern tests using his shotgun from extremely close range out to 25 and 30 yards. He will also find his shotgun performs better with one brand of ammunition than others. There are a lot of reasons for this preference for particular loads, but the defensive shotgunner should know this occurs and make his selection accordingly. The smart defensive shooter will run tests until he knows which load his gun prefers and exactly what his shot pattern is doing at the ranges his shotgun could be called upon to perform. Always true: don’t just believe it, test it!
Myth No. 3: If you have to shoot a bad guy in your front yard, drag him into the house before calling the cops.
As ridiculous as this may sound, it is one of the self-defense myths that just won’t go away. A student brought it up once in a defensive pistol class. There are couple of good reasons why this is a terrible idea. To begin with, most states determine the justification for using deadly force as being a reasonable response to prevent immediate death or serious bodily injury. Therefore, if a person is justified in defending himself inside his home, he is also justified in defending himself in his yard, because he is under an immediate attack in which he could be killed or seriously injured. This varies from state to state, so check your own state’s laws before determining your home-defense plan. The second, equally important, reason is the crime scene will quickly make a liar out of you. Any investigator worth his salt will know within five minutes that you moved the body. And, if you’re lying about that, you are probably lying about everything else, or that’s what the investigator will assume. It is the quickest possible way to go directly to jail. Protecting yourself in a completely justifiable shooting can get expensive. So can lying to the police about a shooting. Part and parcel to obtaining a defensive firearm should be obtaining advice from a criminal defense attorney. He can tell you what your state laws are, how they are interpreted in court and the limitations regarding use of deadly force and how they apply to a legally armed citizen. Getting that sort of advice from the guys down at the bar or from an Internet commando is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
I guess we all figured THIS one was coming, and, well, here it is… Read more.
On Wednesday, November 8, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 2095, which she is calling the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2017.” The 125-page firearm prohibition fever dream is perhaps the most far-reaching gun ban ever introduced in Congress.
Subject to an exception for “grandfathered” firearms, the bill would prohibit AR-15s and dozens of other semi-automatic rifles by name (as well as their “variants” or “altered facsimiles”), and any semi-automatic rifle that could accept a detachable magazine and be equipped with a pistol grip, an adjustable or detachable stock, or a barrel shroud. And that’s just a partial list. “Pistol grip” would be defined as “a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip,” meaning the ban could implicate even traditional stocks or grips specifically designed to comply with existing state “assault weapon” laws.
Needless to say, semi-automatic shotguns and handguns would get similar treatment.
Also banned would be any magazine with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds or even any magazine that could be “readily restored, changed, or converted to accept” more than 10 rounds.
While Feinstein’s bill would graciously allow those who lawfully owned the newly-banned guns at the time of the law’s enactment to keep them, it would impose strict storage requirements any time the firearm was not actually in the owner’s hands or within arm’s reach. Violations would be punishable (of course) by imprisonment.
Owners of grandfathered “assault weapons” could also go to prison for allowing someone else to borrow or buy the firearm, unless the transfer was processed through a licensed firearms dealer. The dealer would be required to document the transaction and run a background check on the recipient.
Should lawful owners of the newly-banned firearms and magazines decide that the legal hazards of keeping them were too much, the bill would authorize the use of taxpayer dollars in the form of federal grants to establish programs to provide “compensation” for their surrender to the government.
This bill is nothing more than a rehash of Feinstein’s failed experiment in banning “assault weapons” and magazines over 10 rounds. Except this time, Feinstein would like to go even further in restricting law-abiding Americans’ access to firearms and magazines that are commonly owned for lawful self-defense.
The congressionally-mandated study of the federal “assault weapon ban” of 1994-2004 found that the ban had little, if any, impact on crime, in part because “the banned guns were never used in more than a modest fraction” of firearm-related crime.
Don’t let Dianne Feinstein infringe on our Second Amendment rights with a policy that’s been proven to do nothing to stop crime. Please contact your U.S. Senators and encourage them to oppose S. 2095. You can contact your U.S. Senators by phone at (202) 224-3121.
Beyond deer, elk, moose, and bear, there are a few critters roaming the wilds in this country that are more than worthy of a planned hunt. Here are a few suggestions…
SOURCE: NRAFamily.org, by Richard Mann
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a definition for the word exotic is: “Something introduced from another country or something not native to the place where it is found.” Another definition describes exotic as something strikingly, excitingly or mysteriously different or unusual. Both are appropriate when it comes to describing exotic game animals in the United States.
The hunting of exotic animals is most often associated with ranches, and it’s most common in Texas, where ranch sizes can range from a few hundred acres up into the thousands. There are places in Texas where you can hunt almost any animal found in Africa, or Continental critters like the European red stag. Since these animals are not native to the United States and have not ever become part of the American free-ranging ecosystem, hunts of this type are generally considered “high-fence” hunts. Animals harvested on hunts like this are not eligible for Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young recognition.
There are also exotic animals that are free-ranging in America. By “free-ranging,” I mean running wild just like native animals like elk and grizzly bears. (Animals harvested on hunts like this are considered “fair chase,” as long as all local and national laws are obeyed.) What might surprise you is that several animals you might think are native to North America are actually exotics.
The most widely hunted exotic animal in North America is, believe it or not, the feral hog. The domestic pig was introduced to the Americas by the Spanish explorer DeSoto in the 1500s. Those that escaped captivity became feral and were hunted for food. Later, when the wild boar was introduced throughout the United States, they crossed with the feral hogs. Hunting wild hogs has become very popular because in most states they are considered a nuisance animal and seasons are year-round. Few hunters consider the wild hog an exotic, but it fits the definition-the pig is not native to North America. Their range is expanding, too. Initially wild hogs could only be found in the Southern states. Now, they have spread to almost every state and they continue to expand their range. This is partly because they multiply at such an amazing rate and partly because they have few natural predators to contend with.
I’ve hunted wild hogs in Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Texas. They can be extremely challenging to stalk or stand hunt but are most often shot as they come into feeders. Wild hogs are certainly edible, but due to their diet and the amount of exercise they get, they’re not going to be as tender as domestic pigs. (It’s also very important to cook the meat of all pigs very thoroughly, as they can harbor parasites.)
Upland bird hunters across North America frequently pursue another exotic-you might know it as the ringneck pheasant. It was introduced to America in the 1850s. These exotic game birds are often called the Chinese pheasant because they originated in Asia. Because of their numbers and popularity people think of them as a native species so much that the common pheasant, as it is now called, is the state bird of South Dakota.
Axis deer were introduced in the United States in the 1930s. They have thrived and are the most common non-indigenous ungulate found in North America. Over the years axis deer escaped from game ranches…and there have also been free-range introductions, too. Today, huntable populations of axis deer are found over much of Texas. They are still considered an exotic as far as game laws are concerned, so the license is cheap and they can be hunted year-round.
Hunting exotic species in the U.S. can involve any number of hunting techniques. My first axis deer hunt was on a large ranch in Texas near the South Llano River. The only fence there was a low cattle fence. The axis deer that frequented the ranch could have walked to West Virginia had they been of a mind to do so. I hunted from a box blind set up near a feeder. This is a common practice for hunting whitetails in Texas, since the brush can be so thick as to be nearly impassable for people, but it’s not necessarily my favorite way to hunt. (I did take a nice stag and the antlers are impressive.) Conversely, several years later I hunted axis again in Texas, but this time behind a high fence that surrounded thousands of acres. That time, we hunted strictly by spot and stalk. Finding an axis buck and getting close enough for a shot proved difficult. It was a thoroughly enjoyable hunt and that axis tasted just as good as the first one. Most hunters that have eaten axis deer meat agree they taste better than whitetails.
One appealing facet of the axis deer is that they breed year-round. Axis bucks grow and shed one set of antlers per year, but they do so based on when they were born. This can be at any time, so bucks in the same group can be seen with no antlers, velvet antlers or hard antlers. Hunting a stag or buck axis is not restricted to just a few months each year.
Axis deer are not the only free-ranging exotic animal you can hunt in Texas. One of my favorite critters to hunt is free-ranging aoudad, also known as Barbary sheep. (On my last aoudad hunt, the guide called them “doodads.”) The aoudad is a sheep native to North Africa, but these days they roam wild in the mountains of West Texas. It’s technically not really a sheep; the aoudad is a “caprid” or goat-antelope. Sheep or goat, these “doodads” have exquisite eyesight and like to keep to the most rugged terrain you’ll find in west Texas-in fact, today there are more aoudad in Texas than their native land. On my first aoudad hunt I walked and climbed hills until my knees begged for relief. Finally, on the fifth day, I managed to connect with one of these elusive animals with the wide curling horns.
The blackbuck and gemsbok are two other free-ranging, exotic antelope that can be hunted in North America. As a matter of fact, there are more blackbuck in Texas than in India, where they are indigenous and now considered endangered. Gemsbok (pictured above) were introduced to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 1969. They have established additional territory off the range and in Texas. Each year the New Mexico Fish & Game issues a limited number of hunting permits for these “oryx” (as they are also known). Gemsbok are one of Africa’s most magnificent trophies. A free-ranging, North American hunt for gemsbok can be very similar to, and in some cases more challenging than, what you might experience hunting in South Africa. Interestingly, what I’ll bet you don’t know is that most all of the gemsbok hunted in South Africa are hunted behind high fences. So it’s a little ironic that you’ve got a better chance to hunt free-ranging gemsbok in the United States than you would in its native country.
When it comes to hunting ethics for exotics, we must all make our own decisions as to what is and is not acceptable. For example, in some counties in eastern Virginia it is perfectly legal to hunt whitetail deer with dogs. In South Africa, where hundreds of Americans go on safari every year, they will be hunting a high-fenced concession. What hunters should not do is discount the hunting of exotics as unethical or easy just because they are animals that are not from around here.
What’s important, regardless of whether the game animal is an exotic or not, is the method in which the hunt is conducted and the interaction between the hunter and the hunted. With a bit of research you can find a suitable location where you can have an ethical hunt for animals that in many cases were not even on this continent just 100 years ago.
I’m eagerly awaiting my next aoudad hunt that I hope happens this fall. Thousands of upland bird hunters are anticipating the opening of pheasant season across the midwest. Year round, fathers, sons and daughters will be out looking for wild hogs to hunt and a few hunters are eagerly waiting to see if they will finally draw a New Mexico gemsbok tag. Exotics are fine game animals and if you have the chance you should try for one or more of these mysterious animals.
NRA calls for BAFTE review on rapid-fire devices. Here’s the story…
The National Rifle Association issued the following statement on October 5, 2017:
“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.