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Mountain Home Magazine

Serious Hunters on Your Christmas List?

Nov 30, 2020 02:15PM ● By Roger Kingsley

It was Thursday, December 12, 7:27 a.m., when the text signal from a female hunter popped up on my cell phone. “One down!” She and her friend Dave were sitting in the Hotel—one of the best deer stands on our farm. The couple had been instructed to contact me if they got a deer so I could help with recovery. Dave and Diane were standing in the twelve o’clock shooting lane when I arrived on my Kubota side-by-side. They were excited to share their morning hunt, and the “one down” text had me smiling, too.

Dave and Diane are fanatics about videotaping their hunting adventures, so Dave immediately pulled the film up on the camcorder for me to see. Filming such episodes not only verifies exactly where the targeted animal was standing (when poor tracking conditions exist) but, just as important, shows how the animal reacts to the shot. After watching the video, I was certain that Dave had missed the doe, since she stood her ground momentarily after the shot before leaving in an alert and non-hunched manner. Dave, on the other hand, clearly remembers the sandbag rest he had when he centered the crosshairs of the 4-14 power scope on the deer’s vitals at approximately 130 yards downrange—no way he could have missed! Confused by it all, a thorough search of the area ensued, which ultimately revealed no spoor, let alone a carcass.

Two days later, while checking the fuel gauge on the Kubota, I spotted something underneath the seat—a steel clamp from a scope mount. Uh-oh! I knew there had only been one rifle riding on the gun rack above the seat, and I remembered who had recently hung it there. Texting a picture of the part to Dave confirmed it was his. And to add insult to injury, when the video of the shot was viewed on his large screen TV, it was obvious he had made a clean miss. Since this was Dave’s first hunt with his brand new 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, what were the chances that one or more screws on it wouldn’t even qualify as finger tight?

Back in 2009, I purchased what is known in the gunsmithing industry as the FAT wrench—a product of Wheeler Engineering. The letters F-A-T are actually the initials for Firearms Accurizing Torque. The FAT wrench is a handheld six-inch-long screwdriver-style tool that eliminates all guesswork when it comes to seating screws to the proper tightness. That’s because it can be manually set to apply repeatable, precise pounds of torque to each screw based on a manufacturer’s recommendations. Now, double-checking scope mount screws, mounting a scope, or tightening any other screws on firearms can be accomplished worry-free since Wheeler Engineering provides a list of approved torque settings for different applications.

Failure to tighten screws securely could send you down the same road that Dave travelled. On the other hand, snapping a screw in half because of overtightening can be a very upsetting situation—one you won’t have to experience when using this special device. Bass Pro/Cabela’s lists the FAT Wrench for $49.99. It comes with a ¼” square drive adapter that the nine most commonly used bits (included) slide into. With Christmas just around the corner, put this tool on the top of your list for that hunter or shooter.

Did you ever run across a product that had you saying, “Why in the world didn’t I think of that?” I know I have, and the most recent episode was when I discovered the WIZZ in Walmart’s lawn and garden department. It didn’t take much time contemplating its usefulness before making a beeline for a checkout counter. The WIZZ is a product of the Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Appropriately named, I immediately visualized the WIZZ as a much more accurate way to spread lawn grass seed than the toss it by hand method. And boy does it work slick! Just determine the proper setting on the dial that regulates the opening, pull the trigger, and start walking as the lightweight AA battery-powered unit spreads the material effortlessly. Handheld units with a crank have to be operated with both hands, but the WIZZ frees up a hand to carry extra seed, tools, or to move something in your path.

After using it a few times, I was so impressed with its performance that I bought another one as a backup in case of a breakdown. That was ridiculous, because my original purchase is still on the job. Aside from the even application of seeds that the unit can spread, it can also be used to broadcast anything granular such as fertilizer, weed control, and ice melting products. While its occasional use around our house and yard has proved its convenience, out in the field is where its versatility really shines. Last count, my brother Ronnie and I were maintaining seventeen wildlife food plots ranging from tiny to a few acres. The bull work for our plots is accomplished with our tractors and heavy equipment, but the two-pound WIZZ takes over to reseed bare spots, plant secluded areas, plus frost seed and fertilize shooting lanes and trails.

Level full, the unit will hold between six and eight pounds of a variety of small grains like buckwheat, oats, or rye, to nearly ten pounds of clover or brassica-size seeds. With the trigger engaged while slowly swinging the unit back and forth as you walk, a fifteen-foot swath can easily be covered in a single pass. Major garden centers will most likely have this on their shelves, but if you’d rather shop online, Amazon shows them at just shy of $20. Great gift! What are you waiting for?

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