I wrapped up my deer hunting last weekend with a late anterless only season permit, which closed Jan. 16. There is a river antlerless private land permit that runs until Jan. 31. It is kind of confusing. Check your permits.
I hunted several properties bordering the Platte River from Brady to Cozad and did not see a deer. I was totally amazed that not one deer was out along the river. In all my years of hunting I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I would be interested in hearing what other hunters experienced.
I had a hunch that there were some issues with our deer population after the preliminary numbers were crunched from deer check-in stations during the November firearm season. Those numbers indicated that the statewide harvest was down 12% compared to 2020. During the nine-day firearms season, 37,053 deer were harvested, compared to 42,078 in 2020. Closer to home, the deer harvest in the southwest region of the state, our region, was down 19% from last year.
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I have sent emails to a couple Nebraska Game and Parks Commission biologists to see if I can get a handle on this. I’ll keep you posted.
SHOT show report
The Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show wrapped up last Thursday. SHOT is the place to see what is new in the outdoor market. I’ll focus on what is new in pistols for this column. I get to what’s new in rifles and shotguns in future columns.
All the big pistol manufacturers offered new models in the concealed carry category. Beyond that, it looked like this was the year of the renaissance of the Browning Hi Power. Several well-known pistol makers revealed models of upgraded and improved versions of John Browning’s famous design. I have always appreciated Browning’s work.
Those who are “students of the gun” will know that Fabrique Nationale Herstal was the original manufacturer of John Moses Browning’s classic design, but they had some improvements for 2022. Upgrades included a double stack 17-round magazine, increasing the 9mm capacity of the original by 25%. The pistol is offered in black, stainless steel, and FN flat dark earth PVD finish. It will be available with two pairs of grips with seven unique grip pairs available. The gun has an all-metal frame and slide and 40 ounces in weight. It has a crisp single action trigger, adjustable steel FN 509 pattern rear sights, fully ambidextrous controls, easy-cocking slide and redesigned ergonomics. The famous “Hi Power slide bite” has been specifically addressed by adding a longer beavertail to shield the web of your hand between index finger and thumb. The upgraded Hi Power boasts a rapid takedown process that eliminates the old pins and bushings for easier maintenance. The slide features an oversized ejection port and the distinctive keyhole muzzle profile. It has a 4.7-inch cold hammer forged barrel with a target crown for improved accuracy.
EAA has begun importing a Turkish-built Girsan clone of the classic Browning Hi Power. The company just announced the release of the MC P35 Match model. This pistol is said to include a flat trigger, an accessory rail, a beveled magazine well, adjustable sights, a fiber optic front sight and improved ergonomics.
Springfield Armory offered another modern take on the Browning Hi Power, the SA-35. This pistol has subtle but significant upgrades to Browning’s original P-35 design. Built in the USA, the SA-35 features forged steel parts for strength and durability, improved ergonomics, enhanced controls, modern sights, an improved feed ramp design and an increased 15 round capacity. Like the Fabrique Nationale offering, this pistol is built with a magazine disconnect so the magazine can drop free for quicker reloading. The pistol comes with a factory tuned trigger with a smooth pull and crisp, clean break. It is chambered in the classic 9mm Parabellum. I’ve been impressed with the Springfield Armory pistols I’ve shot, so I’m thinking hard about this pistol for myself. Incidentally, the Springfield Armory SA-35 just won “On Target” magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award.
Colt was back with a new short barreled version of their Python, 3-inch barrel. Colt will now offer the pistol with 3-inch, 4-inch and 6-inch configurations. Last year Colt re-introduced the new Python and it was an immediate hit. The Python is considered by many to be the pinnacle of pistol design. I love wheel guns and the .357 cartridge and have wanted a Python for years.
New Winchester shotshell
Another SHOT Show unveiling: Winchester introduced its new Super Pheasant Diamond Grade shotshell ammunition. Super Pheasant Diamond Grade brings 8% antimony, copper-plated shot to the upland field in a 5-shot configuration. In simple English, it hits harder. Initial offerings include 2¾ inch for 12- and 20-gauge as well as a 3-inch 12-gauge load. A key differentiator in this shotshell is the Diamond Grade Shot. The 8% antimony hardening alloy is four times more antimony than standard target loads, resulting in the hardest copper-plated shot available to target shooters. The shot is also precision sorted, meaning only the roundest shot is used. This results in better flight characteristics, tighter patterns and more downrange energy whether shooting clay targets or upland game.
I was talking with a local outdoorsman and shooter friend of mine a couple of days ago and we were discussing many of the SHOT show offerings. When we got to the topic of ammo, he had an interesting observation, “You know, I’m tired of watching YouTube videos of ammo company CEOs telling me that they are running their factories 24-hours a day, making billions of rounds of ammunition and shipping it out as fast as they can get it on the truck. Yet, we are not seeing it get to the shelf of local sporting good stores. Where is all the ammo going? And when it comes to the new Winchester Diamond Grade stuff you just mentioned, there are only two problems ... we can’t get the ammo and we don’t have any pheasants!” The man says it like it is.