Vol. 36, March 2012 2 responses

Two powder horns made and scrimshawed by Ian Convey.

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2012. Did you perchance make any New Year’s resolutions to do more leisurely camping, more shooting, more hunting and fishing? In this issue we feature another gem of Ian Convey’s easy-to-follow handcraft lessons.

“March is a green, muddy month down below; some folks like it, farmers mostly” according to Ol’ Bearclaw in the film “Jeremiah Johnson”. Living “Down Under” this comment would correlate to the month of September. March generally finds us with a severe Cabin fever, anxious to start another black powder season after the summer lay-off. For keen smooth-bore aficionados March spells “duck season” and with the breaking of our many years of long drought – 2012 promises some excellent hunting.

Victorian duck opening is Saturday March 17 and a bag limit of 10 birds per day has been announced by the Agriculture Minister; season closes Monday June 11th! Of course the use of lead shot remains sanctioned for our muzzleloaders, also for any Damascus twist barrelled breechloaders. To confirm legal game species, bag limits and the various zone opening times go to http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/game-hunting/game/australian-water-fowl/2012-duck-hunting-season

The season for Stubble Quail runs from Saturday 7th April through to Sat. 30th June! Bag limit is 20 birds per day. All other quail species are protected. Check details at http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/game-hunting/game/stubble-quail/2012-stubble-quail-season

Pacific Black Duck - photo by Jim.

New Year “Kick-Start” Social Weekend.

Once again Glen and Anthea Mitchell opened their home for what has seemingly become an early January annual New Year social. Attending were Charlie and Hilary, Noel and Estelle, Ron and Mary, Chook, George and Justin, not forgetting our hosts and one cute little King Charles Cavalier Spaniel puppy making an even dozen.

A few regulars phoned to apologise at the last minute, being unable to attend, so we all talked about them. No, seriously, the smaller numbers meant greater opportunities to mix, more intimate conversations and extra grub for all. Speaking of tucker, Anthea and Glen put on an excellent barbecue and of course everyone contributed with crisp salads, nibbles and like trappings. Sweets consisted of a first-rate Pavlova, fruit salad and ice-cream with seconds for anyone who could manage it. Yep, you knew I would!

George had brought along a recently completed smooth-bore fowler for “show & tell” while Noel showed off his fine .32 cal squirrel rifle, complete with a slick Southern style grease-hole in the butt stock and topped with some really serious sighting apparatus. Justin had arrived on his new Harley Davidson which received lots of admiration for quality & accoutrements, but nowhere did it sport a rifle scabbard. Yet!

Several folks camped over to be greeting with the early morning sounds of a refreshing rain on canvas, rooster crows, guinea fowl talk and the shrill cry of the peacock. Over breakfast we discovered still much to chat about – and guns of course.

Later on a sumptuous lunch consisting mainly of the past evenings yummy left-over’s rounded off the gourmet delight. Anthea’s dad, Frank, had joined us at the lunch table contributing delightful conversation. Many thanks go to Anthea and Glen for their wonderful hospitality resulting in an unforgettable weekend.

Caribou silhouette scrimshawed on salvaged piano ivory pinned to small tin - by Ian Convey.

Club Events 2012

Apr 6th – 9th Good Friday – Easter Monday – at Bernard’s Cache, Caveat. All the chores were completed at our working bee last October so now it’s time to reap the benefits and have a damn good time over this four day break. April in Victoria is categorically the best time of the year for camping under canvas. Contact any Committee member if you need a mud-map.

June 9, 10 & 11th Queen’s Birthday long weekend – our traditional Winter Quarters at Bernard’s Cache, Caveat. The sunny days and crisp evenings of June in the Caveat Highlands is absolutely the other best time of the year for camping under canvas.

July 14th & 15th Ballarat Arms & Militaria Collectors Fair – We’ve attended each of the last three years and spread the joy of muzzleloaders to all them “Jack d’Levers” and new fangled turn-bolt shooters. So, let’s just do it – again! It’s a 2 day event this year – meaning twice the fun and double the opportunities to promote our sport!

September 14th – 17th Spring Turkey Shoot Rendezvous – Our traditional weekend of 3rd Sunday of September extended from Friday 14th thru to Monday 17th at Beaver Creek, Whorouly. Springtime in Victoria is without any doubt a superb time of year for camping under canvas. Why not slot all our events on your camping calendar now?

Flintlocks and Gobblers, Flintlocks and Whitetails – stimulating hunting videos!

Flintlocks and Gobblers Vol 1

Bored with summer and thumbing through my Muzzleloader mags, re-reading the product reviews for Beckum Outdoors’ DVDs on hunting gobblers and whitetails in the good ol’ U.S. of A., I thought what the heck, treat yourself to a little entertainment, give them a trial! So I ordered Flintlocks and Gobblers plus Flintlocks and Whitetails Volume 1 then went back to thumbing, re-reading and waiting on the post.

After the usual 10 day wait for plunder from the States I was suddenly armchair hunting gobblers, watching Brian Beckum doing the real thing. I was most interested to view the habitat of these wild free ranging native (to USA) birds and of how a successful hunt might be undertaken. Brian obviously loves flintlock smoothbores and this video provides the viewer a number of exciting and successful turkey hunts.

Flintlocks and Whitetails Vol. 1 was just as motivating, perhaps even more so, as here I could make some comparisons with my own limited sambar and hog deer hunting experiences. Brian talks to the camera detailing his knowledge of the game behaviour. At times the conversation is whispers when the quarry is close and the magnificent camera work homes-in on well camouflaged game in the thicker forest.

Flintlocks and Whitetails Vol. 1

I was very pleased with the purchase of both DVDs to the extent that after a second viewing of each I had to order Whitetails Vol. 2 and Beckum’s latest deer hunting video Real Black Powder. Bill Scurlock has written very favourable reviews of these DVDs in Muzzleloader magazine. I can only concur with Bill and recommend them to Aussie readers as a sure fire cure for summer time blues. They will soon get you fondling your favourite flinter and checking the gear in your possibles pouch.

By the way, Brian’s wife Rina does most of the filming and she also hunts, as does Brian’s brother Thad; only Thad hunts with a primitive bow. The Beckums also fish using both primitive fly & methods, so there is something of interest for all sportsmen on their website www.BeckumOutdoors.com Oh, one minor thing, their on-line order system didn’t exactly cater for overseas buyers, so you might have to place your order via Email, as indeed I did. Email Brian, Thad or Rina at flintlock@windstream.net

“Rest assured that you descended from Stone Age people and you still have the ability to accomplish what they did many years ago!” Tip # 10 from Thad Beckum’s bow hunting page.

Club Subscriptions – Due March 31st!

Same as last year, $30 single, $50 couple. Remember the bulk of your subs go toward our public liability insurance. Please forward cheques direct to our treasurer – Bob Ellis, P.O. Box 112 Avenel 3664. If paying direct into our Bendigo bank account it is your responsibility to ensure your ID is recorded against the transaction. Please then advise Bob by email, supplying date and amount paid. A/c Southern Cross Free Trappers BSB # 633-000 A/c # 135848836

A wonderful poem.

This one discovered by Ian while browsing through a pile of old magazines. So, with acknowledgement to The Buckskin Report, Jan 1982, this is an absolute gem, far too good to remain hidden among yesteryears pages. No title was listed but it might easily be “Living in days gone by.” I just know all our readers will relate to these lines.

I picture myself in days gone by

When this land was wild and free,

Where a man could travel many a mile

And n’ary a soul he’d see.


When the sky was clear and the air was clean

With time to ponder a while,

On the places he’d been and the things he’d seen

And look forward to every new mile.


He travelled the paths of the deer and the bear

And even the flight of the hawk;

He smelled the sweet earth as he gazed at the stars

And swore that a cool breeze could talk.


He followed the prairies and streams to their ends

Treating danger and wonder as one,

Knowing full well he could always depend

On his wits, his faith and his gun.


I wish that I could have lived back then

If only just for a time,

But knowing that’s past and won’t come again

I can live it, at least in my mind.


By Lynne Glover, Capon Bridge, W. Va.

The antler tip haft of a knife made by Ian and featuring simple folk art buffalo and deer.

Scrimshaw: another “How-to” by club president  Ian Convey

Those who read our December newsletter may have noticed a rather understated hint from our editor that an article on Scrimshaw could be forthcoming. About as subtle as a meat cleaver he is, so here goes.

By general definition scrimshaw is the engraving of lines into ivory, bone and horn and can be traced back to Stone Age culture. So, you have made your powder horn and would like to embellish it with some scrimshaw, whether with just your name and a few simple lines, or something more elaborate – it’s not that hard to do.

First up you will need some tools. – A sharp pencil, an engraver, ink/paint and some clean rag are really the basics. You can also utilise dividers, rulers, knife and an old fashioned pen with coloured inks. An engraver can be any sharp pointed instrument that will scratch your design into the horn.

I use dental picks that I have sharpened to a fine point (see your friendly dentist for broken ones). Metal scribers and leather awls are OK or make your own by inserting a piece of piano wire or sewing needle into a wooden handle. For ink, , Indian ink is excellent, if you can find it, or stamp pad ink, but I use water based hobby paints in both black and coloured.

To start, decide what you want on the horn and roughly sketch it on a piece of paper. When satisfied with the design draw it on the horn with your pencil, mistakes will simply rub off with an eraser. Steady the horn on a sandbag or rolled up cloth and etch the drawn design into the horn with your engraver.

Keep the engraver sharp as it works better and there is less chance of slipping and making a mistake. Do the outline first, to check how it looks you simply rub the area with a damp fingertip and the lines will show up, then fill in the details, mistakes can be removed by gently scraping the engraved line out with a sharp knife (Stanley or Exacto knives are good for this).

When you are satisfied with the finished work, apply your ink/paint by simply wiping with an ink dampened rag or cotton bud over the engraved lines to fill them in. Wipe off the excess ink with a damp clean cloth then lightly polish with some Brasso. A final wipe over with a cloth dampened with boiled linseed oil completes the job.

You can use coloured inks/paint by colouring individual lines with a pen, being careful that the colours don’t bleed into the wrong line. If they do, gently scratch out the ink when it has dried and re-apply. It is comforting to realise that if you make a total hash of the job, you can simply scrape the horn smooth and make a fresh start.

Last, but not least, don’t forget to sign and date you work, so proclaiming not only your pride in a job well done, but also that it is a contemporary piece and not an antique. I always engrave my initials and the year, usually in an unobtrusive spot.

Salvaged piano ivory with silhouetted buffalo by Ian Convey - mounted on a small tin.

Seymour Alternative Farming Expo February 17th 18th &19th:

Universal public safety as a rule positions the Rendezvous hobby, and shooting ranges in general, well away from an unaware but oft-times interested outdoorsy community.

The Seymour Alternate Farming Expo provides us a golden opportunity to meet with the broader population to promote our outdoor activities. There’s no hard sell, it’s just a “Hello, look at us, we enjoy the open air, camp fires, healthy fun, history, dressing-up and shooting sports.” This was our fourth year attending the Expo. We believe visitors leave our display with comfortable feelings towards firearm enthusiasts, perhaps a slight twinge of envy and a yearning admiration for our camping adventures.

An Expo visitor who obviously understands good liquor admires our flintlock stand.

Helping with the set up / take down of our display including an open shelter, an A frame tent, a wall tent, Bob’s tipi plus that bogged wagon with lazy mannequin driver were Bob Ellis, Lyne Gray, Jim Walker, Owen Gready and Glen & Anthea Mitchell.

Manning the display during the three days were George, Jim, Glen and Bob (see photo) also John Morland, John Sultana, Michelle, Ben & Katharine Barraclough. Members and friends visiting were Kevin & Robyn Norris, Richard & Lorraine Snape, Chook, Max Howard, Bob & Maureen Nissen, Glenn Gee and Joe Melbourne. All in all, it was once again a super goodwill & promotional effort for all the shooting sports.

George Mohr, Jim Walker, Glen Mitchell and Bob Ellis promoting Primitive Rendezvous.

2 Responses feed

  1. Keith says:

    Well done chaps.
    Regards, Keith.

  2. Jim Walker says:

    Another excellent newsletter! Very pleasing to see all the help at the recent Expo.