Doug Koenig at the barricade stage. Jim Shepherd/OWDN photo.
Winding down for a long holiday weekend isn't really winding down if you happen to be in Columbia, Missouri this Memorial Day weekend for the Bianchi Cup. Nearly 300 shooters are dealing with high temperatures, strong winds and swirling dust clouds across the various stages of fire that make up one of toughest and most prestigious handgun shooting events in the world.
Unless you happen to be Doug Koenig, you're probably wondering what the prize is for finishing second overall. With thirteen Bianchi titles and the high-score record (a perfect score's hard to beat), Koenig's the perennial favorite. That's not to say the other shooters aren't here to give him a run for his money. Koenig just seems to have a home-field advantage going for him at the Bianchi Cup.
Not everyone used the same methods of running the courses of fire. This "down and dirty" approach led to three clean runs at the plate rack. Jim Shepherd/OWDN Photo.
As Day One of the Bianchi moved along, it was easy to see that everyone- including the best shooters in the sport- was having their share of challenges with the conditions. It was frustrating for them, but gave the rest of us hope. Koenig, Rob Leatham and other top-shooters were really bearing down due to the conditions.
Dave Sevigny, one of the top shooters in the sport today, is absent this year. Trading emails last night, Sevigny did offer a suggestion for helping me with my shooting this year: "think about your next shot only. Nothing else." OK, Dave, I'll try that. And I'm also thinking about going to Dave's new online store (www.sevignyperformance.com
) and ordering another one of his sights.
He's the reason the Cup exists. The eponymous John Bianchi was on hand to watch the competition and autograph copies of his story of fifty years of making shooting leather. Jim Shepherd/OWDN photo.
We'll have more from the Bianchi Cup in next week's editions.
When I asked for feedback on Wednesday's column on "Frankenstein deer" I asked for responses. And I received a bunch. Some were outraged that I'd write anything that concerned high fence hunting. Others took me to task for not condemning high fence hunters for not following fair chase. One even accused me of trying to kill fair chase.
To those of you who began to spit and cuss at the words "private game preserve" a quick observation: the column wasn't about hunting, it was about the can of worms genetically engineered deer have the potential to open.
I promised to share some of your responses, so here you go- in no particular order:
"Interesting questions today. I bet we see in the very near future someone letting a farmed deer go into the 'wild' (not high fence) and then upon harvest claim the state record and B&C record. Shot on a low fence, "free range." Risky, yes. But there are too many ego driven shooters out there that have the money to gamble. In Texas, you can buy that buck for $40,000 let it go ten days before the season, shoot it, pull out the ear tag and you have your record. "
"...very interesting article. I love hunting just as much as the next person, especially deer hunting. While I do pursue the older more mature, bigger racked bucks, I also enjoy harvesting does when needed. The hunt is more than taking an animal, it's about enjoying nature and everything it provides for us. On that note I am extremely worried about the future of hunting, especially deer hunting. While I am one of the lucky few who has a family farm I can go back to and hunt, the price of land and the price of hunting leases are through the roof and to the point most or the average person cannot afford. To compound the issue we now have hunting preserves and deer breeding taking the place of what mother nature has been doing for years."
"The one comment that caught my attention was about the castration of a buck. Is that considered poaching? Don't know if it's considered poaching or not since the animal is still alive. But the one question I have is what if someone cuts the fence to the preserve or a storm damages the fence and captive deer escape into the wild? What now? how will this have an impact on the wild herd? How will this have an impact on trophy books in that area, if a super stud buck escapes and the quantity of trophy bucks in that area increase significantly? Would those bucks entered into the trophy book have an asterisk because of the super stud buck that escaped?"
"I personally have ethical problems with all aspects of "fenced in" deer. I don't care if the fence encompasses 100 acres or 10,000. The deer are still captive in the sense that they are unable to range freely anywhere the wish....I'm not about to get into a huge argument with guys who pay big bucks to shoot a big deer in artificial conditions. That's their choice. For me though, it simply isn't fair chase. I've hunted hogs this way, and I've done lots of hunting of pen-raised quail and other birds. There are similarities. But for me, these activities really aren't hunting. They are shooting. Maybe that's the key distinction."
"This is hilarious! I don't hunt deer anymore, but could see myself sending the testicles -- if that's what they are called -- from a big gander to Canada for insemination into a goose. It would be fun to watch the inseminator doing his job on a conscious goose . . . the possibilities are endless."
It seemed flippant to some, but the "Frankenstein" question isn't going away anytime soon.
Have a great Memorial Day holiday -we're back in your mailboxes Tuesday morning.