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ecubackpacker's picture
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Location: NC
Joined: 09/11/2009
Posts: 1639
Inline for me. I had a missed

Inline for me. I had a missed opportunity at a nice 8 pointer b/c of moisture in the powder. 4 caps and it still wouldn't fire. Can't have that happen anymore.

JodyStomper's picture
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Joined: 04/25/2011
Posts: 10
In Iowa, my Inline IS my Modern Rifle.

First, Peace to All Hunters and remember, this is America where we have choices.

With the exception of one special short, January season in some counties bordering Missouri, Iowa doesn't allow centerfire rifles on deer in any of its seasons.  Neither does Illinois, nor my old home state of Ohio.  I picked up a modern muzzleloader here in order to avoid the expense and time required to acquire and master 2 types of arms (muzzleloader and shotgun) for the 2 types of seasons.  The Hawkeye State allows magnifying riflescopes, fiber-optic and peep sights, inline 209 ignition, saboted bullets, and pelletized powder during the 2 muzzleloader seasons, but remember please that the only other 2 statewide seasons are restricted to shotguns and handguns .357" & up (ruling out Encore pistols in rifle calibers).  Having lately caught onto Blackhorn 209, I'm past using pellets, but as far as the other modern aspects of my rifle go, I have no shame in employing them through both of our gun seasons and the two muzzleloader seasons to boot.  It adds up to nearly a full month of hunting, more than half of which is dedicated to muzzleloaders only.  The lack of restrictions against modern inline developments allows me to use one rifle, in one configuration, for all 4 seasons - and in fact, if one day I choose to hunt that late modern rifle season in the southern counties, I plan to use the frontstuffer then as well. 

But Iowa has a lot of deer crowded around widely-scattered, miniscule plots of public land, high unemployment, high incidence of animal/vehicle collision in rural areas and even higher rates near urban centers, and a lot of big families with freezers that need filled.  The extended seasons here are management tools, and the DNR recognizes that bullets that miss deer must eventually land somewhere, so they let us use scopes to better the odds of non-tragedy.  They let us use more accurate saboted bullets, more reliable 209 primer ignition, sleeker inline actions with safer transfer-bar cocking systems, and could care less whether we risk hangfires from wet powder out of a brass measure or if we speed-load with pre-measured powder tubes or pelletized powder.  Deer hunting here involves several seasons, usually enjoyed by working stiffs on weekends or after work on weekdays, using ground blinds or tree stands, wearing more orange than the Cleveland Browns' entire team, and this after several months of constantly checking my brakes on every highway I travel to dodge deer that over time line both shoulders of every public roadway here. 

If the demand (as offset by expected success rate) for tags was as high here compared to the state's harvest goals as it was in Colorado when I lived there, I'd advocate restrictions intended to keep the muzzleloader season here "primitive."  In Colorado, hunting was much more of a recreational pursuit for me, rather than a sensed civic & familial obligation (to deal with overpopulation and to fill the freezer).  A Colorado elk hunt for me was a single week during which my best friends and I would pack tents, camp kitchens, and everything appropriate to a week of fall/winter camping in the mountains, and we'd leave civilization behind in pursuit of North America's most majestic deer species, the Rocky Mountain Elk and Mule Deer.  (Moose actually deserve that title, but the moose tag draw process was out of my league.)  Colorado gave the modern firearms hunter several seasons in which to employ high-powered, scoped centerfire rifles with which the diligent hunter might confidently take a 300 yard poke at a big animal in fading light, therefore it seemed perfectly fair for that state to require me to primitivize my equipment during the muzzleloader season.  I keep my old T/C Greyhawk sidehammer clean and zeroed with bore-sized conicals and Pyrodex P just in case I get back there someday during a muzzleloader season; here in Iowa, I only use it on paper, but I continue to keep myself as sharp with it as I can despite aging eyes that like iron sights less and less each season. 

In Colorado, just as in Iowa, the Department of Wildlife/Department of Natural Resources professionals do very well at recommending regulations that acknowledge the health of the game animal populations as being at least somewhat more important than the personal equipment preferences of hunters.  If the deer herds in Iowa start getting thin enough that demand exceeds supply, then I certainly hope the muzzleloader season regulations will reflect that, and amend them in some manner.  For instance, convert our early muzzleloader season from an "anything that loads from the front" season into a "Davy Crocket Smiles Upon Us" season. 

But that's just not the case in eastern Iowa right now where supply still exceeds demand, so out here in the Mississippi Valley I'll stick to my Encore 209x50ML, Leupold scope with SABR reticle, Hornady SST bullet in a Crush Rib sabot, and a healthy dose of Blackhorn 209 set off with a CCI 209 primer.  And I don't owe anyone an apology for doing so.

To me, it's kind of like the gray wolf "reintroduction" and "de-listing plan."  What works for one state, may not work for another.  We hunt in different landscapes, with different climates, going after different species/varieties of game, in different domestic cultures and with wildly different public land resource availability.  There isn't one set of rules that works everywhere.

I'd suggest that muzzleloading, like any other method of take, is a lot like music.  We in the "modern" crowds need to pay attention and listen respectfully to the classics from past generations, but the traditionalists also ought to accept the facts that technology isn't going away, and like rock & roll, scoped/inline muzzleloading is here to stay. 

Now, despite all the olive branches I have laid out above, some Luddite out there is going to try to flame me up because I don't defend total traditionalism in muzzleloading.  All I need to say to that is that in 8 years of hunting in Colorado, not ONCE did I see any out-of-town buckskinner take his elk all the way back home on horseback.  I could not abide the hypocrisy of being told my synthetic-stocked, stainless-barreled, iron-sighted #11 sidehammer was "too modern" by someone as he was putting his flintlock Hawken replica behind the seat of his F-250 Quad Cab before winching his ATV down ramps out of the bed and pulling up his kill site waypoint on his pocket GPS to go retrieve his animal.  At some point, EVERYBODY has to make his own most balanced, defensible compromises between ideals and reality.  I'm comfortable with mine, where the weapon I use to hunt Iowa whitetails is concerned.  And if Colorado DOW lets me come back as a nonresident "guest" during their muzzleloading season, I'll gladly leave the scoped inline in the safe back here in Iowa and again take up the limitations on effective range presented by the challenge of iron sights, lead conicals, and percussion cap ignition. 

Well, gladly, that is, until my eyes will no longer accommodate a scopeless rifle, at which point I suppose Colorado might just be too righteous a place to accept my nonresident tag fee money.  When that happens, I suppose I'll have to stay closer to home and get fat on these corn-fed does.

COMeatHunter's picture
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I don't think you need to

I don't think you need to defend yourself or your muzzleloading preferences in Iowa, JodyStomper. It's not necessary to justify legal harvests for filling your freezer (or the freezers of friends and family) or putting a trophy on the wall with a modern muzzleloader.

Each state's game and fish department uses hunters, and the hunter's weapon choice, as a management tool to control wildlife populations and keep them healthy.  In states like Colorado, we have many centerfire rifle seasons as well as bow and muzzleloader seasons.  For the very reasons you pointed out in your comments, muzzleloaders are considered primitive in Colorado and given a "prime" season for elk in September (right in the middle of bow season actually).  If hunters wish to use a modern, scoped inline muzzleloader for hunting, they must hunt in one of the rifle seasons later in the year.

Everyone chooses to shoot and hunt for lots of different reasons.  Somewhere on the list of "why do I like to hunt?" is recreational enjoyment, dare I say, for nearly everyone who hunts.  I've yet to meet a hunter, in the field or otherwise, who doesn't enjoy the opportunity.  For many the enjoyment factor is also enhanced by the method of take.  I'm just glad that for most of us we have lots of choices--seasons, big and small game, weapons, etc., to choose from that allow us to get the most enjoyment out of our sport each year.  And, it's nice to put some meat in the freezer too.

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