Hunting Back Pack Essentials For A Whole Day.

You can add other items but here are essentials to keep you safe while hunting.

First Aid Kit with Aspirin and Ibuprofen

Water, at least 16 oz

Hunting Knife (Sharp)

Compass and Map

Flashlight or Headlamp with new batteries

Waterproof Matches and Lighter

A Candle for fire starter.

Toilet Paper, Mine is Orange colored.

Pen and pencil, Hunt License

Space Blanket and Whistle

Candy or Protein Bars and Apples to keep mouth moist.

Pack Lunch if out all day.

Phone All Charged and can work in your hunting area.

Medical info on you such as allergies, med’s you take. Who to contact in Emergencies.

Drag Rope

Field Dressing Kit with Gloves

Hand and Body Warmers




Why the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge for Big Deer, Elk and Kudu Hunting? By Ed Hale

I have tested 3 rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor, the Ruger M77 Hawkeye Predator which I wrote about in 2015,  Savage Model 12 LRP (Long Range Precision) Rifle, and the Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor both I joyfully tested this year.  The Creedmoor was created for long range target shooting and is a supreme newly designed cartridge just a bit smaller than the .308 Winchester Case. It shoots fast, hits hard and recoils little, and is accurate as all get-out in the right rifle. Perhaps you read an article I wrote in 2015 on it.

All three test rifles were fantastically accurate, shooting sub-MOA and packing a wallop to boot! On the target range I busted 8 inch balloons at 1000 yards with this cartridge shooting the new 143 grain Hornady Precision Hunter ELD -X(Extremely Low Drag) 143 in the Savage M12 LRP. With a high ballistic coefficient such as the G1 .625 Hornady bullet it comes out of the barrel at a modest 2700 fps.

But more than that, it is a dynamite hunting cartridge with the right weight bullet like the 143 grain because it has very high Sectional Density (SD) where bullet weight vs diameter, a key factor in penetration of vital organs. The SD of the Hornady bullet is .293, hold that thought. Calculations of killing energy for Elk and Kudu are 1500 ft-lbs and can cleanly kill out to 350 yards where the bullet is still traveling at 2200 fps yet not punish the hunter in recoil

I purchased the Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor which shoots sub-MOA for hunting. At 6.6 lbs with 4 round capacity and Moss Green it is a shooter that is easy to carry.

My grandkids can kill deer with it too someday. Ok, now the Sectional Density is .293 which allows more mass to penetrate in a smaller diameter than some other bullets.

It was Winchester that invented a way to classify bullets based on Sectional Density for the taking of various game animals; and call it Controlled eXpansion Performance or CXP and where game animals were broken up into 4 categories CXP1 thru CXP4. CXP1 for game less than 50 lbs., CXP2 for game 51 to 300 pounds, CXP3 for game animals 301 lbs. to 1000 lbs. and finally CXP4 for animals over 1000 to 12000 pounds such as Cape Buffalo up to Elephant.

The 6.5 143 grain bullet meets the CXP3 criteria for game up to 1000 pounds provided it delivers the energy for a clean kill. For Moose it is recommended to be 2500 ft-lbs. The 6.5 Creedmoor can’t develop the recommended 2500 pounds of energy to kill Moose but many hunters use the .270 and .308 and 30-06 delivering energies less than recommended yet kill due to excellent shot placement and meet the CXP3 criteria of having at least an SD of 0.260 for deep penetration. You recall that the SD for the 6.5 Hornady is .293 and way up there in CXP criteria. Just .007 from hitting the CXP4 bandwagon.

I love my Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor as a hunters rifle, not flashy, love the color, handles like dream, adjustable trigger, shoots hard and kicks soft and really cost effective. I make mine bark with a Leupold VX scope on it.

For more on Sectional Density go to and on CXP info go to

For the Ruger American Predator rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor go to

© 2016


Best Rifle Caliber for thick Northern NH Deer Woods

What is the best cartridge/caliber for Northern NH deer hunting with rifle and scope? Lets qualify some things first. Most deer are killed within 50 yards according to many and some say within 40 yards. Why? New Hampshire woods are thick and here in southern NH there is more woods than fields with lots of under growth saplings etc. to deflect and play havoc with your bullets path. Small caliber light weight bullets can kill a deer fine but if the bullet encounters a runaway sapling that you didn’t see in your scope, then color that deer gone and put a drag rope on the sapling you just mangled. I believe the .270 Winchester and like calibers in metric such as a 7mm are fine all around calibers for rifle country but strictly talking about thick woods the 30 caliber such as .308 and 30-06, and up is better because the bullet has better sectional density (mass in pounds divided by bullet diameter squared) at 165 grains and above weights like 180 grains. If it hits a twig on the way it will, more likely stay on track to the target and not explode.

But here comes the conundrum… Most hunters will hunt with the gun they “love” no matter the deer caliber(6mm,.270, 7mm), they just realize that it may have some limitations in heavy cover…and that is fine with me.  If you call it trusty, that is a good thing! I would shoot my trusty .375 Ruger Loaded down for deer in heavy cover. Shoots like a muzzleloader, slow and heavy.

Hunt with what you can shoot well!

So the answer is all of the above.

Love the gun your with… and know its limitations!

Practice how you are going to shoot in the woods!

© 2016



Getting Ready for New Hampshire Muzzleloader Deer Season?

I have been getting ready with my muzzleloader here in New Hampshire for quite a while. Opening day for Muzzleloader is October 29, 2016.  Season details can be found at along with a hunting video there.

I feel very optimistic and you should too if you hunt in the southern half of NH where the deer are plentiful… provided you have done your homework. No you just can’t walk in the woods and get one. Yes, if you do everything right and you shoot straight, it can happen.

First and foremost you should be shooting your Muzzleloader now, not just at the bench, but how you are going to use it in the woods.  I shoot standing and freehand at 50 yards or less or better yet…use a tree to stabilize my rifle. Using shooting sticks such as a monopod, bipod and tripod do work. I have a monopod with a telescoping v notch that I have used on occasion. I will be hunting with the TC Encore Pro- Hunter Rifle with Muzzleloader barrel as you could certainly guess from the numerous articles here at New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine.

Time to load? Loading black powder or a substitute in the muzzle and then your bullet (with or without a separating sabot) being sure that the bullet is fully seated atop and against the powder. Recall that it requires some technique. I have found some plastic sabots make it very hard to load and reload as the provide too much resistance in my particular rifle.  I use a bullet with a built in sabot base, and they shoot, and reload easily with good accuracy. You can purchase a speed loader tube to hold bullet, powder and primer for your back up shot.

The archery season and muzzleloader season is a huge leg up on hunting deer that have not been spooked or shot at all year. But the most important part is that if you want to hunt bucks, there is no better time to call one in or rattle one in than during muzzleloader season because the first does will come into estrus and drive the bucks crazy and they WILL make mistakes. It has been my experience that if you hunt from the ground or even in a tree, you need to be ultra clean and scentless. On the ground you must walk into or quarter into the wind. Tree stand hunting is great when you know unspooked deer movement patterns and active trails or you are going to call or rattle. Remember when calling, less is more. Scouting should be high on your list in prep for the hunt. Use a compass and map. Have a drag rope or wheel carrier, license, knife, pen for filling out your tag, flashlight, first aid kit, water, a snack, and TP (I use orange or camo toilet paper if nature calls), a phone… and let someone know where you are hunting.

Be Safe and Practice, Practice, Practice.

Shoot Straight, Shoot Often.

Good Hunting!

© 2016


NH Fish and Game : Do Not Use Urine Based Attractants While Hunting. Update

The use of urine based scents and lures have been used by hunters here in NH for more than a century with no ill effects to produce Chronic Wasting Disease. But F&G argues that the lure industry is not regulated and that CWD animals have appeared in penned deer who produce urine based scents for hunters. Yet no link has been clearly established by scent urine and CWD: See

Meanwhile every hunting shop in NH has an isle full of these urine base lures because they remain legal…for now.

NHFG strongly advocates against use of these urine based lures to protect the Deer herd.

My preliminary research shows that some lure companies are on board with testing their urine based lures and have openly participated in CWD research and testing via the Archery Trade Association’s Deer Protection Program.

“With help and advice from the nation’s top CWD experts and state wildlife agencies, the ATA spent the past two years working with its Scent Manufacturers and Urine Providers committee to self-impose protective restrictions on their products and the deer/elk facilities that provide urine for those products.”

Those that comply with the strict adherence to collection methods and testing are allowed to display the ATA√ logo .  Lure companies are a billion dollar industry but shrinking due to states that have outlawed the urine based lures.

What do I make of NHFG recommendation? It is simply a protective approach. Once the CWD label is put on a State it sticks forever.

Are there synthetic lures that are not urine based?  Yes there are several online but most hunters trust the real thing. You can go on line and look for them.  I will go the synthetic non-urine lure route if readily available… I went to two stores this morning who sell urine based lures. It revealed that there are few to none of synthetic Doe-in-Estrous lures on the shelves, however most urine based lures do participate in ATA Chronic Wasting Disease prevention and have the ATA√ Logo. That leaves little choice for synthetic unless you buy off the web. I have created awareness in my area regarding the NHFG position. I will have some Kirshner’s Synthetic Lure soon to try. I have been a fan of Silvertop Lure over the years and took a nice buck with it a long time back. It is now made synthetically with no urine. . I spoke with Bob Kirshner moments ago and his herd of deer are USDA HMP Herd Certified (No CWD). He does not believe the ATA logo is much to shout about and he has been in the business for decades. So lets try the Synthetic lure…


Shoot Straight, Shoot Often.

© 2016



TC Encore Pro-Hunter Rifle 30-06 Powder Tests w/ Nosler Partition

As I mentioned in an earlier test on the TC Encore Pro-Hunter Rifle, the first rifle bench-rest test produced a one inch group with H4350 Powder and Sierra 150 grain bullets making a fine group. But I believed that this barrel could shoot sub-Minute of Angle (MOA) so I hand-loaded them as an experimental test.

Today I tested Nosler 165 grain Partitions with three powders, and the following three shot groups were recorded at 100 yards. I chose Nosler Partitions in part because I had access to them as a supreme hunting bullet.


Powder Type   Powder Wt        Bullet               3 Shot Group

IMR 4350         56 grains        165g Partition     1.0″

H4350              57 grains        165g Partition      3/4″

W760               52 grains         165 Partition        1 3/4″


As you can see the hand-loaded H4350 (upper left) seems to shoot the best with this bullet and powder level. Each square is one inch. Both of the 4350 powders are listed as great powders by Nosler Manual #6. I was searching for a load that really puts this TC barrel at its best and I believe that the H4350 reveals the winning group. The bullets are nearly touching!

W760 powder was on the can do list but did not maximize bullet speed but was best rated at 52g powder. The bullets were much slower than the IMR4350 and the H4350 and grouped poorly at 1 3/4 inch but acceptable for hunting if one had to use that powder.

We owe it to the game we hunt to shoot accurately and ethically for a quick humane kill and to enjoy such fine venison as table fare by your own hand.

Shoot well, Shoot often!

© 2016



Score Two for the Pheasant Hunter


Hunting after 12 pm was the ticket today. The weather was just fabulous as if late summer at 72 degrees, blue sky and crimson leaves on the maples and little wind. Like a slice of heaven for a few hours.

The bird release was in the morning, I think, with no hunters or dogs present.  Today the release official did his job safely and left. We hunters gathered like a gaggle of geese waiting for 12 Noon. The birds released were mostly in the woods. The grass in the release field was so short, I could almost play golf. The birds would be sitting ducks if they landed there. Dogs were aplenty but for me with no dog was funny as there were dogs everywhere around me, just not mine. A walk in the woods listening to the call of a cock pheasant drew me forward. These rascals were hard to put to flight but the dogs eventually put them up. Here I took my two beautiful cock pheasants for the day with my goose barrel on my 870 Rem. Pump.

I plucked them, gutted and saved the tail feathers. I halved each bird and will do final prep for cooking soon. If there is a chance for longer grass in the field during pheasant season that would be better to work the dogs and put the birds up but I understand that harvest of the most hay is necessary.

Tips for cooking I am told by some is to brine your meat for at least 4 to 8 hours as the meat can dry rapidly. I will use some whiskey in a salt/sugar brine.

Cook at 500 degrees skin-on, with 1/4 apple and or 1/4 oranges as stuffing and/or as a baste with some honey or maple syrup in the apple/orange juice. Garnish with apples and oranges and parsley. Watch the bird as it cooks fast.

For a fast savory stuffing use the best prepared stuffing like Pepperidge Farm and add your favorite mushrooms. If you have time make stuffing from scratch.

© 2016

Zero Your New Scope and Rifle

It is so often that I see and hear at the range of shooters that haven’t got a clue how to get their scope and bullets on paper. That was perhaps most of us years ago. Here is a refresher for a bolt or break action rifle.Otherwise purchase a laser boresighter cost $30 to $99 dollars.

First, make sure your scope is mounted correctly and that the crosshairs are vertical and horizontal.  I sometimes used the weaver rings that tighten from only one side on my deer hunting rifle so when the screws are tightened the crosshairs rotate toward the tightness of the screws. You may have to play with the scope body by turning the crosshairs further off the vertical so that when you tighten the screws it will end up plumb. If you intend to shoot long range to 300 yards or more then use a plumb-bob (an inexpensive tool) on your target at 25 yards and verify at 50 or 100 yards and align the vertical crosshair with the string on the plumb-bob.

Second, Bore sight your rifle and scope. A friend can be helpful but not necessary to make adjustments. On a bolt action rifle, remove the bolt. Set your rifle in a bench rest device or sand bags so that you can see through the bore to a 25 yard target. Without moving the rifle or scope look through the scope to see where the crosshairs are. If crosshairs are high move them to agree with the bore. If left or right move the windage adjustment to agree with the bore. Once you are satisfied that the bore and scope are in agreement then take your first shot. Ok, Wow! You are on paper. Nice Job!

Third, your bullet hit 2 inches high and 2 inches left at 25 yards. Now comes the remember part. How many clicks (1/4 inch at 100 yds) does it take to move the crosshairs 2 inches. It takes 16 clicks at 25 yards to move your bullet one inch up/down and left/right. So you are going to adjust the crosshairs down 32 clicks and right 32 clicks. Sounds like a lot of clicks doesn’t it. You may want to adjust the scope 1/2 to 1 inch below the bull as the bullet can hit a bit high at 100 yards.

Fourth, shoot your target at 100 yards. So you shoot and hit 3 inches high and left by 1 inch. Pretty good! Make adjustments 4 clicks per inch =1 minute of angle as you like

Notes: If you half the distance to 50 then it takes 8 clicks to move 1 inch. If you half the 50 to 25 it takes 16 clicks to move the crosshair one inch. Got that! If you half the distance then you double the clicks.

Advanced Stuff, If you want to shoot long range to say 250 or 300 yards you can calculate Max Point Blank Range if you know the actual bullet speed and Ballistic Coefficient by using an online calculator. I use JBM Ballistics or you can create a drop table for longer ranges by using MOA. charts and wind drift charts. Further you will need a level on your scope at longer distances as I did shooting at 1000 yards and breaking 8 inch balloons.

Shoot straight – Shoot Often

C 2016


Student Hunter/Writer Contest by New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine

New Hampshire Rifleman is offering  up to $100 to the winner of the Outdoor Hunter/Writer Contest. (New Hampshire Residents Only) It will run from now to the end of November 2016.



  1. There must be at least 5 New Hampshire student participants (grade school to high school) who write and publish an article in New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine to be eligible for up to $100. Four students published will be $80 reward for best article. Three articles will get $60 as reward for best article and so on.
  2. The student must write about shooting or hunting as adventure ( kills are not necessary for the article) and the value it provides in their life and family e.g., gets me away from TV and Video Games, Love the Forest and fall colors, like shooting with mom and dad, or went deer hunting or duck etc.e.g.,  Maybe about your hunting dog too. What life lessons did hunting or outdoors teach you? How to stay warm? Standing still for deer is not easy. Hard to sleep when thinking about hunting the next morning. Describe the sun and sky at dawn in a Duck Blind, are examples.
  3. The length of the article needs to be 200 words or more and must have pictures. It can be submitted via email to the Editor, Ed Hale at as “NH Rifleman Contest.” Please provide your name, age, school attending, grade and phone number with parent permission name/email address.
  4. Grammar is very helpful but less important than content and describing the adventure and your feelings and senses of the moment.
  5. Winner will be chosen by the Editor by December 10, 2016 and a photo op presentation shortly after. There can be a tie, in which case the authors will split the prize.
  6. Please begin the article:
  7. My Name is__________, I am ______years old and live in _________town, NH. My parent(s) _______________, Phone # ____________has given me permission to write this article. I attend __________school in _______NH. The title of my article ( write it as a header) then body and any images. Good Luck!
  8. Note: We dropped number of words to 200 or more from original 500 to increase participation. Please try to use software like MS Word or e-mail to write your article with images.

TC Encore Pro Hunter in 30-06 Rifle “Continued”

A few days ago I cleaned the barrel and was impressed with how fast the barrel cleaned.

Today, I fired new loads with 165 grain Nosler Partitions using 58 grains of IMR 4350. This is supposed to be a fast accurate loading according to Nosler Reloading Manual #6. I did not chronograph the round but the loading table suggests it is well over 2800 fps. It appears to shoot well near MOA or bit larger but a tack driver load has not yet appeared, likely in-large-part due to the 7 lb. 8 oz. trigger. Recoil was very manageable even at the bench, which speaks to the terrific stock and its built in recoil system.

I am sure to find a sub-MOA loading for this barrel but a lighter trigger, I believe will be the ticket to stardom for this very versatile rifle. A friend of mine adores his TC Encore Pistol (same frame) but had the trigger lightened to 3 pounds. Nice!

There are folks that sell trigger spring kits that can lower the trigger pull weight but will discuss later at some point.  The ejector lifts the case and makes it easy to remove and reload.

So far… how do I rate the rifle and system? I giv’em’ an A.

More soon…

© 2016