Welcome to yet another chinwag on Longhunter and Trapper doings. I’ve mentioned the Wilson’s of Bundaberg in several past newsletters. Had a telephone call from Bill enquiring if we had been troubled by the recent floods. I assured him we were well above water, afloat, and looking very keenly forward to our annual spring rendezvous.
Bill expressed his wish that they could rendezvous with us, but the years were slowly catching up, making long distance travel rather difficult. It’s very nice to know friends are close with you in a spirit that spans thousands of miles. This splendid photo of Bill at Rainbow Creek Black Powder Club negates any distance and connects us all together. Check our website gallery for a couple more photos of Bill and wife Beryl.
Best and worst of weather
The best rains for many a long year also meant the worst flooding down many Victorian rivers. Nevertheless, fortune smiled on us at Beaver Creek and water levels subsided sufficiently to allow camping in the picturesque horseshoe bend once again.
Twenty six members, family and friends attended our 4th spring camp on the Beaver. Club membership continues to grow steadily each year and for this event we fielded a total of eighteen primitive camps, bringing prophesy to the words. “Beaver will shine again!”
Thanks to Kevin and Robyn Norris for cutting and hauling huge piles of firewood so that the many campfires could burn brightly. With flood waters all about, the urge to stoke up blazing hot fires was not suppressed by any shortage of the free firewood.
Many took advantage of our program of a single extended weekend to arrive as early as the Thursday afternoon and although the bureau forecast more days of showers we were so lucky they were wrong – again! Our main concern was the tracks through the farm paddocks which remained sodden and boggy for most of our stay. No-one got bogged in the wagon ruts on the track into camp and the campsite was quite perfect.
Ian heralded the official weekend fun with a short camp meeting, the purpose of which, for the life of me I can’t remember. It’s a mature age thing! Bob and Glen were “out there” somewhere along the beaver ponds, setting traps for the unwary pilgrims and seasoned Trappers alike. So let the Mountain Man hunts begin.
To enter this shoot one must simply add a reasonable vegetable to the cane basket. Onions are not reasonable. Peeling onions makes a body cry, just like my shooting does. Winner gets the basket with all the veggies and a China turkey plate.
Noel Collinson was first off the mark and really got back into the swing of the hunt after a slow start. Ron Davis going even slower did a little better on points. Peter Hawkey shot two rabbits but wasn’t listening for the rattle of death. That Rattler’s bite means a very sudden end! Kevin Blind Fox Norris did reasonably well on both rabbit and beaver and fire lighting. John Morland rushed through in half the time of Blind Fox.
Col Barrett should have listened to Hawkey’s ghost. Yep, Col got rattle snake bit too – another rather sudden death! Ian Convey started out in too much hurry; gotta learn to take a little time! There’s a song, for ya! John Maccioni, well, it’s no wonder they call him “Fasta Pasta” he shot that squirrel and bolted up and down the creek in absolute record time.
Step up Jenny Baker; she ain’t afraid of mountain men, red men or griz. Jenny travelled a little slower than the three preceding entrants and got to see most of the critters along the stream, collecting three beaver and the highest points along the way. Paul Le Reynard Sly was even slower and finished runner up on points. Murray Convey had too much interest in the banks, while Tom Jefferies put in a reasonable hunt in the fading afternoon light, once they prised him from that rocking-horse saddle tree.
Other events on the Saturday were the hotly contested rabbit gong shoot with the range extending from about 20 yards to around 60 yards for the final shoot-off. Blind Fox Kevin emerged victorious on this one. Next we had Tom’s amazing Dancing Bear gong with a 3 inch flapper tongue. Once again competition was fierce and an extended shoot-off at increasing ranges was necessary to determine a winner. John Maccioni took this one!
Sunday’s always seem to start slowly at Rondyvoo. Keith Hendry and Chook were lucky enough to cover the Mountain Man hunt course although the event had closed on Saturday. After that Ian challenged everyone to a shooting Duel. Contestants paired off, loaded, then back to back they faced each other, took three paces, half turned, primed, aimed and fired – at the balloons suspended some 25 paces away.
Two balloons attached to a single string were each weighted slightly with a spoonful of sugar, meaning the unsuccessful duellist’s balloon fell to the ground when the other balloon burst from a winning shot. Losers were out and winners pitted against winners until only two remained. This time John Fasta Pasta Maccioni was not quite fast enough, beaten by a poofteenth of a second with a balloon shattering speedy reload from that wily Le Reynard.
General plinking could be had at all other times and several grabbed the opportunity. Keith Hendry visiting from Sydney, attending his first ever rendezvous, was pleased to get in lots of laidback shooting practice with his accurate 45 cal Pennsylvania rifle.
Congratulations to Jenny Baker of the Frontiers Group on winning the major event and the basket of vegetables prize including the Turkey Plate. Jenny was then asked to draw a name from the hat containing names of participants in the Mountain Man hunt. And the winner of the Brad Randall hand made hunting pouch is – Noel Collinson. Good luck to Noel and our warmest thanks once again to Brad in the USA.
Congratulations also to our other competition winners – Blind Fox Kevin winning the blanket pin donated by Chips; John Maccioni won the red Voyager cap donated by John Morland; while Paul (Le Reynard) Sly won the drop sleeve shirt donated by Justin and Louise Fletcher.
Evenings around the campfires saw constantly changing intermingling smaller groups as friends moved from camp to camp warding of the night chills in woollen coats, sipping hot tea and coffee or fiery booze, some singing, some guitar strumming, a few talking and some just day-dreaming half the night away or guessing the time by watching the stars.
Ian and Justin had brought along their guitars and Ian handed out a few song sheets so that those of a mind could sing along with the picking. Justin’s excellent renditions of John Williamson’s songs were well received. Hopefully we can keep up the standard of this entertainment and with a little singing practice, well who knows, maybe a stage career for one of us? Yeah, yeah – the first stage out of town!
Did I say no one got bogged? Well, not actually while arriving into camp, but one grandpa Trader with growing family did attempt a foolish shortcut after breaking camp, only to get his wagons hopelessly bogged and jack-knifed and easy prey to any muddy Blackfeet. Fortunately Glen and Hawkey were on hand with reserve mules to rescue Ma and Pa – the only ones to get black feet!
Thanks to Bob Ellis and Glen Mitchell our conveners and judges on the Mountain Man hunt; thanks also to Bob for supplying the substantial throwing block; and to Ian Convey and Tom Jefferies for supplying targets and conducting the minor events. That amazing bear had to be securely chained down to a massive log.
Special thanks as always to our hosts Rolly and Jo.
Finally, thanks to everyone who attended what has already been hailed as our “best ever” Rendezvous. We’re sure you all had fun and we’ll try to do it all again next year.
Why not start planning right now by booking your 2011 holiday fun early – primitive fun!
A couple of interesting points – Not one person in the Mountain Man Hunt saw that well camouflaged snake lurking in the flood debris; only four of Saturday’s twelve contestants were able to start a “life-saving” fire without the use of their flinter. Hmn!
Some thoughts on achieving that elusive accuracy.
- Buy a rifle or gun that fits you. How often we hear of fellows buying a “brag” gun, just because it is better, or perhaps bigger, than Fred’s. If a gun doesn’t fit you properly it’ll probably kick you in the cheek, shoulder, hip pocket or all three areas.
- Ensure those authentic sights are the best suited to your personal eyesight. You must be able to achieve a clear sight picture quickly every time you shoulder the gun.
- Fall in love with this gun!
- Experiment extensively with your new love – Find the best patch/lube/ball combination and the optimum uniform powder charge. Use a bench rest or other sturdy rest for these trials.
- Keep a note book to record your trial load info and the results.
- Develop a regimented loading procedure including frequent use of cleaning patches.
- Ram with the same pressure each load. This is only possible if the bore is indeed cleaned frequently. Use only sufficient force to seat the ball properly.
- Do not use excess lube.
- Most importantly – check all cast bullets for regularity. It’s great to see Buckskinners exhibiting skills running ball at the campfire, but it’s a good idea to arrive well stocked with ball that have been individually weighed for uniformity, checking for hidden air pockets or flaws.
- Practise as much as possible; then go shoot some more!
Events for 2011
April 22nd to 25th. ANZAC day 2011 coincides with Easter Monday which may disrupt holiday plans for some members. We have scheduled a rendezvous camp spanning Good Friday, April 22nd to Easter Monday / ANZAC day April 25th. Location Bernard’s Cache, Caveat.
June 11, 12 & 13th. Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend. Our 7th Annual Winter Quarters encampment in the central highlands – Bernard’s Cache, Caveat.
September 16th – 19th Four days of Spring Rendezvous, an extended single weekend that includes the Friday and Monday –Beaver Creek, Whorouly.
Our fine picture shows Glen Mitchell, a founding father of Rendezvous in Victoria, awarding the coveted Brad Randall hand-sewn pouch to a delighted Noel Collinson.
An encouraging show of hands at our AGM indicated you are all willing to help our little building project at Caveat. We anticipate this can start very soon so please be ready when you hear the call. Trailers, utes, wrecking bars and spades will be useful.
“Nothing wrong with quiet” from the Sydney Pollack film Jeremiah Johnson starring Robert Redford as Jeremiah Johnson.
“We aim to reinforce the notion that … the past remains part of the warp and weft of us all, and is to be cherished.” Sir John Smith (The Landmark Trust).
“We try to preserve not only the guns and accoutrements but the outlook on life which created them.” (With apology to Sir John).