Selling a rifle, end of an era“My son, Brandon, is looking to buy a shotgun,” Rochelle began. “He is 23 and is just now starting to hunt in Colorado.” (Rochelle is a high school friend of my wife, Laurie, and lives in Denver.)
By: Bernie Kuntz, The Jamestown Sun
“My son, Brandon, is looking to buy a shotgun,” Rochelle began. “He is 23 and is just now starting to hunt in Colorado.” (Rochelle is a high school friend of my wife, Laurie, and lives in Denver.)
“I’ve got a couple guns I might sell,” I reply, “But the old Model 50 sometimes doesn’t pick up a shell from the magazine … don’t want to saddle him with that before I get it fixed.”
“No, he wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity at an elk,” Rochelle added.
“Er … now wait a minute — I thought you were inquiring about a shotgun. You use a RIFLE to hunt elk — not a shotgun.” (Rochelle, who is a Massachusetts native, can be pardoned for the rifle/shotgun confusion. In Massachusetts center-fire rifles are NOT allowed for deer hunting.)
After we got that clarified, Laurie said she’d be willing to sell Brandon her Remington Model 700 BDL in .30/06 to “keep it in the family.” (The rifle is equipped with a 4X Redfield scope, circa 1975, that once was mounted on my .270 sheep rifle. I also had some trigger work done on the rifle years ago.)
And so a deal was struck, but now, how to get the rifle and 135 rounds of handloaded ammunition to Denver? (Rochelle was taking a commercial flight back to Denver following a road trip Rochelle and Laurie had made to upper Michigan to visit Laurie’s brother and family.)
“If you check the rifle as baggage, you’ll have to buy a hard case for it. The ammo also will be a problem. With that amount of cartridges, the airlines will believe you are about to start a revolution. If you have a gun dealer ship the rifle, it also will cost you money and then you still have the problem of transporting the ammo.”
The ladies discussed the situation and decided Rochelle would pay Laurie’s gas and for a motel room and dinner in Casper, Wyo. Laurie could drive down, deliver ammo and the rifle in a soft case, and have a “girls’ night” in Casper. So that is what they did, and Laurie’s .30/06 is now in a new home.
When I met Laurie in July 1982 in Sitka, Alaska she had just bought the rifle. Now, the .30/06 is a fairly stout cartridge, but since Laurie would be using the rifle to hunt Sitka black-tailed deer on Admiralty Island, which has a healthy population of Alaska brown bears, she elected to go with the .30/06 rather than a smaller cartridge.
Her first big game kill with the rifle was in 1982 — a pronghorn antelope in Bates Hole, Wyo. I still have a picture of her with the buck, and the animal’s mounted head is among my antelope collection in my trophy room.
A couple years later she had a boat drop her off on Admiralty Island while I took care of the kids, and that evening she came back with a young Sitka blacktail buck she had taken at Young’s Bay. She told me she was terrified all the while she field-dressed the buck, fearing a brown bear would come upon her.
We moved to Montana in 1986 and Laurie went on to shoot a couple cow elk with the .30/06, a cow moose, about a dozen mule deer and whitetails, and a couple more antelope. Her best deer is a 4 X 4 point buck she killed in the foothills of the Gravelly Range south of Ennis, Mont. in 1996. The antlers hang in our living room.
One of Laurie’s proudest moments was seven or eight years ago when she shot a whitetail doe on some property 20 miles from our house, field-dressed the animal and loaded it herself into the backend of her Subaru Outback. In fact, she did that twice. The last deer she took was in 2005.
These days it is just she and I, and if I shoot a couple big game animals in a season, that is plenty of meat for us. She always has said she’d prefer for me to do the shooting. So it was time to sell the .30/06. For Laurie, is it the end of an era.
Bernie Kuntz, a Jamestown native, has been an Outdoors Columnist for the Sun since 1974