Yup, we're talking about the same hombre for sure. Sneaky little so and so ain't he? He tends to grab at things with both hands, and inspire that in others as well. He drives himself as far as he can go in what he does, IMO, and can drag you right along if you let him. One of my ongoing pleasures is shooting with several friends every week, weather permitting (we make 3 out of 4 on average I'd guess). Tony is able to join us most weeks. He also shares my enthusiasm for lunch, if not my waistline.
Not only is it a treat to see what he's brought this week to shoot, but predictably he infects our end of the firing line with his attitude. He hands out encouragement, advice and grins to one and all like he had an unlimited supply.....which he may. However, I've learned not to fall for it. If I don't actually shoot those guns, I'm not as tempted to get one. He's open to every competition that comes along (the latest was his first '3 position' match yesterday in fact). I'm not a competitive type myself, I prefer other types of goals. He, OTOH, not only does well, but seems focused on the other shooters (big surprise). Lately, he's been bitten by the firearms bug and I've been given the opportunity to pay him back some. I guess I don't have to tell you how he follows directions and advice and how rapidly he's progressed in pistol shooting, do I? No half measure for that lad, a good example for us all.
He also has the cutest daughter you ever saw that shoots with us sometimes. In fact, she came on the first Ground Squirrel Safari and stole hearts the whole time. Last minute family responsibilities (he has some heavy ones) have fouled up his plans to go the last two years (duty before self.....) but he swears it's not going to stop him next year. And I believe him.
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The place I got my 132 yard shot in is the other end of the field in the second photo where the ground is more broken and sloping like in the photo just before John's Rock Chuck. That shot was a pleasure to watch as well. John is a long time range safety nut. He and I were driving back to the others and had to stop for a gate. He was driving, I got out to open it. While standing there, I saw the chuck dart between a couple of chunks of lava and alerted John who had a very accurate .22 LR that he's been shooting at longer ranges without much luck. John fussed and crept around unwilling to take the shot because others were a mile or so to our right. A couple of grown men played hide and seek with a furry rascal in heavy rocks until we'd worked our way past him so John would be shooting away from the others. Just a glimpse now and again of the chuck to guide us. Finally I saw him (or rather part of him) through a crack less than an inch wide. John set up and watched through that crack as the chuck fidgeted back and forth trying to keep an eye on us. Next thing you know, John snakes one through that slot and scores a perfect hit on Mr. Chuck. The pretty side is in the photo. It was only maybe 40 yards, but that slot was narrow and the timing had to be precise. We wanted to bring him back to show the others, but didn't want to risk the fleas that infest these guys, so we hooked that big black tie wrap to a back leg and I held him out the window for the ride back. Tony and his daughter added him to the row of dead critters they'd recovered against the fence where we'd started out. At dinner we realized we'd left something there (I forget what), so Mike and I drove back out. As we approached the biggest hawk you ever saw took off, trying to carry away the Chuck! We stopped and watched him try a couple times more and finally fly off to sit on a power pole and watch us. All the smaller critters were gone! In less than two hours. Great place, good friends, good hunting....we'll be back.
Hey, I just remembered the look on Tony's face when he was resting his gun on that rock pile trying to get a bead on a critter and that little squirrel popped up out of the top of that pile between his face and his muzzle to see what was going on. Hard to say who was more shocked, him or the little squirrel. You can go a long long time without seeing something like that for sure. Now I'm grinning and probably will be for some time. Thanks for the memories.