BIG GAME WITH THE .22 HI-POWER
A BIG GAME HUNTER'S PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE WITH IT
BY C. E. SMITH
SINCE the clays of my first rifle it has been my ambition to take a real outing in the real woods where big game is abundant. After several seasons in the Adirondacks with some success I decided to try Maine for my 1912 hunt.
I accordingly got in communication with various owners of camps, with the result that I completed arrangements with Mr. W. J. Elliott, Penobscot Camps Jackman, Me., and left New York City Thursday night, October 24th, at 5:02 p in. for Lenoxville, Province of Quebec. Here I missed my "Canadian Pacific" connection for Jackman by ten minutes This caused me to reach Jackman at 3 a m. Saturday instead of Friday noon.
I went directly to the "Moose River House," and was greatly surprised to find such a good hotel. It rained hard all day Saturday, but I put on my hunting togs and we drove into "Sandy Bay Camp"about twelve miles distance over a good stage road. Here we (Mr. Elliott and myself) stayed until Monday, when the rain stopped.
We lost no time in hitching the horses to the buckboard and starting for the real hunting camp ten long Maine miles away. After we had driven within about two miles of camp we left the team and started to pack in the rest of the way. We had not gone far before Mr. Elliott pointed out a nice deer about 200 yards away feeding on a hillside. After removing my pack-basket. I took aim and fired. The little savage .22 H. P. spoke loud, but the deer, together with two others, started immediately for other regions. I picked out the largest one and fired again, striking him in the loin. He doubled up like a jack-knife and fell dead with a broken back. We dressed him and proceeded to camp, reaching there about 1 p. m. Surprising how much lighter one's pack is after hanging up a deer. The little rifle had done good work and I was greatly pleased; so, also, was Mr. Elliott. He, however, wanted to see it tried out on a partridge, feeling sure the bullet would pass straight through without mushrooming. Here I met my guide, Mr. Leo Duty, who- soon prepared a fine lunch of fried potatoes and venison liver, hot biscuit, ginger bread and tea, after which Mr. Elliott left us to proceed to other camps. Leo and I soon started for a still hunt in an ash swamp northeast of camp. We had not gone more than a mile when I got a standing shot at a fine buck looking squarely at me. My fear of spoiling that beautiful head doubtless caused me to shoot too low. We followed the trail of blood until dark and returned to camp, feeling sure that he was not hard hit. After a dandy good supper we turned in early and I was indeed satisfied with my first day's experience at Penobscot Camps.
Tuesday morning I tried the .22 H. P. on a partridge fair in the breast to see what effect the little bullet would have. I hope no one else ever tries it, as it is a shame to waste the meat. The air was filled with feathers, but we could find nothing of the bird save one wing. Returning to camp we had early lunch and started for an afternoon on a hard wood ridge about two miles south of camp near the south branch of the Penobscot River. Not long before we spied a big deer feeding some distance away. I took careful aim and fired, scoring a complete miss. After hunting very carefully up the ridge we sat down on a log to rest. Hearing much noise in the leaves we got up and saw a black bear feeding on beech-nuts about 75 yards away. I fired immediately, and he started on the run even quicker than that, and my second shot made no impression. However, as he was jumping over a log, I got a third shot, which caught him right back of the shoulder, and the little .22 H. P. tangled up his heart and likewise his feet, for when I got to him he was stone dead. We dressed and hung him up by fastening front paws together with a strap so as not to mar or scrape the fur in any way. I nearly neglected to say that I hit him but once and the bullet delivered all its energy, for it did not come out. He had a dandy coat, was very fat, and weighed about 150 pounds. Well, that three miles to camp seemed no more than a city block except that it was slightly rougher, but I didn't mind that, for I hit only the high points. Once again we took to the boughs early, feeling mighty proud of the day's sport.
The next day, Wednesday, we again hunted the same hard wood ridge, and started four deer, getting one running shot but no deer. Returned at night with but one partridge, but rather tired after an eight-mile hike. Thursday morning was raw and cool, and looked much like snow. We hunted a fine deer country north of camp, saw lots of signs, in fact started three deer and got one of them. I was anxious to get a nice buck's head to mount, but since I had to start out in the morning I could not do much selecting. That night Mr. Elliott reached camp and at daybreak we loaded my game on to a sled and started for Sandy Bay Camp. Here we had lunch, and about one o'clock started in a pouring rain for Jackman. We reached there cold, wet and hungry about six p.m. The next forenoon was spent in photographing the game in front of the Moose River House and shipping it.
Leaving Jackman at 1.15 p. m., I reached Grand Central Station, New York City, at 2.15 p. m. Sunday, having been away a little less than ten days. These Penobscot Camps are certainly located in a great deer country. Much of the timber is spruce and balsam, with a few hard wood ridges. The camps themselves are all a hunter could desire, and it affords me great pleasure to recommend Mr. W. J. Elliott, of Jackman, to anyone looking for an outing in good game country where you cannot fail to get the limit. Of my guide, Mr. Leo Duty, I wish to say that he is industrious, an expert guide and a dandy cook. He is anxious to do all in his power to promote the pleasure, success and comfort of the sportsman employing him.
So far as my experience with the .22 H. P. is concerned, I must say that it did fine work for me. I feel certain that the game I lost would not have been bagged with my .32-.40, that is, with the same marksmanship. At no time was the diameter of hole where bullet entered greater than 22/100 of an inch. It did, however, seem to work great havoc inside. In one deer, for example, the bullet entered back of the shoulder and completely tore the liver and portions of the lungs to small bits. We could get no liver to fry. The copper jacket and a small portion of lead I cut from underneath the hide on opposite side. The mushroomed jacket and lead weigh exactly 32^-2 grains, which means that 37J/2 grains was broken up into small particles, which actually reduced the liver and a portion of the lungs to a jelly-like mass.
In the case of the bear the bullet acted much the same. I frankly admit that I was happily surprised to see the execution this rifle will do on animal tissue, and I hope to give it another tryout next fall.
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