Thanksgiving Firearms of the Puritan Hunter

It was cold day when our families gathered to celebrate a first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Plantation. There would be little thanks without the hunter/gatherer to provide meat for the table.


The puritan hunter of the time I am told, harvested bounties from field, geese, ducks and the like but no Turkey at that dinner though there were turkeys in the woods. Note: the Blunderbuss with flared muzzle was  not used by Puritans in 1620 but came much later.

It was the Wampanoag Indians, they say, that provided venison for the feast.

Image from website above

Painting of Pilgrims and American Indians enjoying Thanksgiving meal

The first smoothbore gun was the Matchlock which burned a cord infused with salt peter. When game was seen, the hot cord tip was levered to the touchhole and KABOOM!


That gun was soon replaced by the Wheelock which sparked as it rotated against flint.

You can just imagine the problems that they encountered with damp powder, hence the term “keep your powder dry” and the name of musket parts that made a gun, e.g., “Lock, Stock and Barrel, terms that we use today in our lexicon. “Keep it under your hat” refers to keeping the matchlock cord under your hat in the rain. Also “Flash in the Pan” came from firing a flintlock where the pan held powder that was struck by flint.

How old are the first Muskets like the Arquebus? They first appeared in the 1300’s in Europe and were often very heavy to shoot without support.

Happy Thanksgiving!






NH Hunters: Where Did the Deer Go?

Congratulations if you got your deer! For those of us still hunting, the deer have caught on to us. They have left their October/ early November feeding areas due to hunting pressure and are likely in southern NH living in unexpected places. So be extra careful! The bucks are still roaming and will roam for some time but mostly at night like this guy who looks like a young 2 1/2 buck with perhaps 6 points or even 8.




These bucks will roam in their core area at mid-day as the rut, Phase I is at its peak. Phase II is early December for those does that have yet to be in estrous and mated. So don’t give up. All it takes is you being in the right place at the right time.

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