That’s Him!

“That’s him!” whispered Doss as soon as he put the spotting scope on this buck. We were hunting this one specific buck and I did not want to make the mistake of shooting the wrong one! My long time young friend Doss Summers and Guide on this trip knows every shootable and NON shootable buck on this 13,000 acre low fence Ranch in LaSalle County, Texas. This Ranch has only been hunted in the past by family, charity and youth hunts, and Military and Wounded Warriors. This last Summer, Doss had told me that for the first time ever that a very few hunts would be sold. I asked him to put me on the list for a good buck!

The Hixon Ranch is MLD permitted so we could have started hunting in October, but other Ranch commitments and the weather put off this hunt until the weekend before Thanksgiving. We also needed a North wind. I had been watching the weather forecast for weeks and finally it looked like a strong enough front would come through Thursday night, November 21st. I drove the the 5 hour trip on Thursday and we hunted a different location that afternoon. We saw a big Axis buck and a nice young 10 point buck-on the NO Shoot list. Overnight, the wind turned to out of the North; we went to the stand where this buck was most likely to be seen. A long morning and a long afternoon in the blind and this buck was not there today. Again, Saturday morning, we were in the blind at 5:50 AM and we both took a nap. Legal shooting time in Texas is 30 minutes before sunrise, which would be 6:35 AM. I woke Doss up at 6:30 and we looked out.There were 2 small bucks right in front of us. About 6:35, I saw a buck come out on the road about 200 yards in front of us. Not him. I think Doss dozed off again, because at about 6:40 I said “ there is another deer coming in from the right”. As Doss put the spotting scope on him-immediately, he said “That’s him”. I still could barely tell it was a buck with my binoculars. Both these bucks were moving slowly down the road towards us, slowly getting closer. Now 170 yards. Doss suggested I put the binoculars down and get him in the scope. “Can you see him well enough to shoot?”. “Yes”. “Then, you need to be shooting first good opportunity”. Well, first, the little 8 point is in the way; then my buck is facing us; then facing away; then the 8 point is in the way. After 10 minutes of this, he turns broadside. I shoot; he runs off. I was sure he was hit, but I was not sure how well. He runs to the left and within 10 yards is behind trees. We did not see him come out anywhere.

Doss suggests we wait 20 minutes before going to look. For 20 minutes we scanned every inch with binoculars and spotting scope. We could not see any downed deer. We started out about 10 minutes after sunrise; went to where he was standing and no blood and no dead buck in sight. I walked about 40 yards the way I thought he had run and no buck. Now, go back to where he was standing and look for blood; finally, about 2 drops! I take off that way again and no dead buck. Another circle and we are not finding any more blood or a deer. I am getting anxious and just about ready to ask Doss to text Mike, the Ranch Manager, and tell him to bring Charlie, the ranch blood dog. Then about 20 yards away, where we are not looking, I spot an antler tip sticking out above the knee high grass. “There he is”. What a relief! A heart/lung shot and he ran the 40 yards- just at a right angle to the direction we thought he went. All this only took about 10-12 minutes, but it seemed like an hour.

We get our pictures and get this buck off to the cooler.

Hunting a very specific buck is a different kind of challenge. You have to know what he looks like and be able to recognize him on sight.

Now, about the very special rifle I was using- the Joe Clayton Classic; a Ruger No.1A in 280 Ackley Improved with a 25” barrel. I was able to get Ruger to make a 125 rifle run to honor my long time friend and Ruger No.1 mentor- Joe Clayton. They are serially numbered JDC-001 through -125. Joe wrote the book on Ruger No.1 rifles in 1983 and was the first serious collector of these classic rifles.

The Engraved Ruger No. 1’s

The 1967 Catalog stated(in very small print):

Engraving: Our engraving is done in the English pattern(i.e., floral scrolls and borders, monograms, game vignettes) but no bas-relief engraving will be undertaken. We cannot furnish inlays or carvings of stocks. Prices for engraving (3 patterns available) start at $125.00, which is in addition to the basic retail cost of the rifle. For details on engraving, please write to the factory.

If someone wrote to the factory for details (per last sentence above) on engraving, it is not clear to me what they would have received. If anyone has this information, I would certainly like to know of it. Three patterns were advertised starting at $125.00, but the cost of the other two patterns is not stated. Of the three engraved rifles discussed below, it does not appear that they were of three different styles and coverage, as all three 1967 NRA Show rifles(#954,#956 and #962) have the same style and coverage, excepting the animal vignettes.

For any number of reasons, no engraved rifles were ever sold in a public way. The Writers guns and several Presentation pieces were done by A. A. White and the Ruger Creedmoor rifle (cover of 1969 Gun Digest) by John Warren, but, alas, no others!

The plan was to have three engraved No. 1 rifles at the 1967 NRA Meetings in Washington D. C. A letter dated March 2, 1967 from Ed Nolan to Alvin White states “Yesterday we mailed three RUGER Single-Shot rifle frames to you for engraving, as per our conversation with Mr. Larry Wilson”. Each receiver was to have a different animal; a Bear, an Elk and a Bighorn Sheep. The serial #’s were 954, 956, and 962. Rifle #962 was auctioned on the Ruger Auction site and ended 2/05/08.

NRA Show Rifle # 962 NRA Show Rifle # 962

Serial #962 Right Side Closeup

Rifle #954 was auctioned on the Ruger Auction site and ended 6/8/2011
Ruger No.1 #954 Ruger No.1 #954

Rifle #956 is pictured in the R. L. Wilson book-Ruger & His Guns on pages 80 and 94. The Caliber/Configuration of these three rifles is the AB in .308 Winchester.

Ruger No.1 Serial #956, right Side Serial #956, right Side

All further references to page numbers will be for the Wilson book, Ruger & His Guns, unless noted otherwise. The rifle pictured below is #962 and is from a period A. A. White Engravers brochure and a R. L. Wilson article titled “Gun Engraving” in the GUNS & AMMO 1969 Annual. The caption to this picture on page 204 of the GUNS & AMMO Annual indicates the cost of this engraving to be “about $375 plus the cost of the rifle”. This was most likely the style with the most engraving coverage.

By April 10, 1967, an invoice for $600.00 ($200.00 each) was sent to attention of Ed Nolan. I do not have the information as to whether the receivers or completed rifles were on display at the Meetings. During the Summer and Fall of 1967, the project seems to have been put on hold. A letter dated 8/8/67 from Ed Nolan to Larry Wilson states: “Thanks for your note of July 25 about our plans for engraved presentation of Single-Shot rifles. I must confess that we have not given much thought to engraving since our last conversation, but we are certainly going to get to it as we can clear the decks of a few other matters.”By 1968, a proposal was made by A. A. White Engravers for the engraving project generally referred to as the “21 Club” rifles.

AA White “21 Club” Letter

The presentation inscription surrounding the gold initials was omitted, so that the engraving cost was $180.00-200.00, depending on whether 2 or 3 initials were used. Of the Writers listed on page 89(Warren Page-#13, John T. Amber-#9, Roger Barlow-#18, Pete Barrett-#33, Pete Brown-#23, Elmer Keith-#15, Pete Kuhlhoff-#19 and Jack O’Connor-#20) as receiving one of these rifles, I cannot confirm that Charles Askins was a recipient. There were others; note serial # 24 with the gold boar head for Bill Lett on page 93, which is a different engraving pattern than the Writer’s guns. The WBR rifle, serial #270 in .270 Winchester is pictured on pages 79, 227, 296, and 306. The caption on the rifle pictured on page 308 indicates it to be #270; a study of the photographs will show it is not. I now know(as of 4/5/2009) that this rifle is #222, a .222 Remington in the BHS configuration. This #222 has the later forearm checkering pattern and does not have a grooved front sight. The engraving is not signed, but I believe it to have been done by Alvin White. Notice that the forearm and forearm checkering on this rifle and #270 are of the 1969-1970 style. On page 89, two rifles are ascribed to Herb Glass; they are actually #8 and #16. Serial #9 was John T. Amber’s rifle. The Glass rifles have slightly more coverage than the rifles for the Writers and a gold Whitetail deer along with the gold initials. I have seen #8 and pictures of #16.

The Prince Abdorreza Ruger No.1 Rifle

A rifle was engraved by A. A. White for Prince Abdorreza, brother of the Shah of Iran. The serial# and caliber/configuration of this rifle is not known. The Prince was a noted Worldwide big game hunter, 1962 Weatherby Award Winner, and friend of Jack O’Connor and Bill Ruger.

Roy Weatherby with Prince Abdol Reza and Princess Para Cima; believed to be at the Weatherby Award Dinner where the Prince was the 4th Recepient of the Weatherby Award.

This rifle is pictured on page 216, lower left corner.

The drawing made by R. L. Wilson of the engraving pattern submitted to Bill Ruger for approval before the engraving was executed by A. A. White is shown below.

Prince Abdorreza Engraving Pattern Ruger No. 1 Prince Abdorreza Engraving Pattern

The sketch is matted and framed. Written on the back is:
Hadlyme, CT
Jan.16, 1989

For C. Lee Newton
This frame contains my design drawing for the Prince Abdol Reza Presentation No. 1 Ruger Rifle which was taken by Wm. B. Ruger to Iran for a thank you present on Bill’s hunt there. I met with WBR to discuss the design concept and then presented the idea to him-though I believe he may have thought of an Iranian Prince hunting on one side and an Indian warrior on the other.
This is one of my all-time favorite Alvin White guns—-With best regards and happy you are the owner of the drawing-Larry Wilson

I believe the hunt in Iran to have taken place in 1970. Some information is found in the February and March 1989 issues of Outdoor Life. There were two installments of the Jack O’Connor Letters which included excerpts from letters exchanged between O’Connor and Robert Chatfield-Taylor. These letters spanned a period of nearly 30 years. Following are excerpts from two that relate to this hunt in Iran by Chatfield-Taylor and Bill Ruger
(JO’C-3/11/70){Chatfield-Taylor had said he was planning a hunt in Iran–Jack’s reply} You would enjoy a hunt in Iran. When will you go? Eleanor and I are going to land in Iran around the last of October. Abdorreza{the prince} and Pari Sima{Abdorreza’s wife} were going to be in Paris for about a month, but they will come back to meet us. If you and Bill{Ruger} are over there when Abdorreza is home, I will ask his nibs to ask you up to see his trophies, for a drink and so on.
(J’OC–6/5/70) I have written Abdorreza to be on the lookout for you and Bill. You must have impressed him as he has asked about you several times, and I have given Bill quite a buildup.

Inscription on the Prince Abdorreza Ruger No.1 Rifle

Looks to be a Mershon recoil pad, but still no info as to serial# or caliber/configuration.

Will the owner of this rifle, who contacted me several years ago, please contact me again.

RUGER & His Guns by R. L. Wilson on page 106 shows Iranian guides admiring Ruger No. 1 rifle with International stock. The same No.1 International appears to be the one pictured in the gun cabinet on page 314. It is engraved here in this photograph, but the forearm sling attachment and checkering pattern appears to be the same; different from the later produced No.1 RSIs. On page 24 of Ruger No.1 by J. D. Clayton is noted:In 1970, Lenard Brownell made a special Mannlicher stocked No.1 rifle, chambered in the 7×57 cartridge, for Bill Ruger’s personal use. This rifle was brought to the NRA national meetings of that year and was seen and handled by a very small group of editors and friends of the Company. It was not on public display

Ruger No. 1 “Joe Clayton Classic”

The Ruger No.1 Joe Clayton Classic is finally a reality after a year in the works. Joe’s new favorite caliber is the 280 Ackley Improved; that was the first hurdle in getting Ruger to chamber a new cartridge for them. Secondly, the 25″ A weight barrel; never done before except on the Chester Hape rifle in 1968. Shown is serial# JDC-041.

The “standard” 1A with the 22″ barrel is one of the special runs for Cabela’s in 30/40 Krag is shown for comparative purposes.

$1700 +$40 for shipping to your FFL. Serial numbers are JDC-001 through JDC-125*. Recently, Ruger was trying to run the No.1 production line in January/February. Jason at Lipsey’s was going to order a few of Previously made models and I ordered 30 more of the 280 Ackleys. They were supposed to be in the regular serial# series(134-54XXX), but they came in as JDC-126 thru 155. Good news is, wood is near spectacular, so I will be shipping these before the last 12 of the rifles which were under #125.

The Box label
Serial# JDC-041(SOLD)
The Caliber Rollmark
Serial number marking
Comparison with a 22″ barrel 1A and the 25″ barrel 1A 280 Ackley IMproved
25″ vs. 22″
My personal rifle JDC-010 (Not For Sale)

2008 Mexico Hunt with Ruger No. 1AH .25-06

In field judging game, Jack O’Connor is often quoted: “The big ones always look big!” That quote is found at least in one place on page 326 in Hunting Big Game in North America. The December 1973 Petersen’s Hunting magazine contained an article titled “The Big Ones Look Big”.

I will remind myself of that many times on future hunts!

It was Friday, our last day to hunt. At 3:30 PM, I decided that the “Flaco Nueve” would be shot on sight. At 4:40, he stepped out of the brush, at about 125 yards, right where I had taken his picture some 5 hours earlier. I only put the binoculars on him long enough to ascertain that he had not broken off any points in the last 5 hours. Then I got my rifle into position with the steadiest rest I could in that old tripod.

This hunt all got started last July when I visited with Judge Joe Clayton in Tyler, Texas. I had gone to pick a supply of his new printing of the Ruger No.1 book. While admiring several of his whitetail mounts taken in South Texas and Mexico, the discussion naturally turned to deer hunting. Joe mentioned he had scheduled a Mexico hunt the first 5 days of January, 2008 and there might still be an opening.. I knew of the rains that nearly all of Texas received in the first 7 months of the year; I knew that rainfall is highly correlated to the number of B&C quality bucks taken in that year. It had to be a super year for taking big bucks in South Texas and Mexico. In anticipation, I had entered the Los Cazadores Big Buck Contest in Pearsall in December. I was returning from a trip to the Chaparral WMA. I also signed up for the Los Cuernos de Tejas Contest at Carrizo Springs.

Continue reading “2008 Mexico Hunt with Ruger No. 1AH .25-06”

The Ruger No.1A in .275 Rigby-A Lipsey’s 2016 Exclusive

Jack O’Connor wrote in the October, 1966 issue of Outdoor Life about the introduction and his testing of the new Ruger No.1 single shot rifle. He concluded the article with these words:  “I am going to try to sneak enough dough out of the budget for a Ruger No.1. It is to be a light, handy rifle for a lazy old man to hunt sheep with. I think it will be a 7×57, a 270, or a 280 with a 4x scope and a 24 or 26-in. barrel to weigh about 8 pounds complete. I wouldn’t want anything better!”(1)

Over 10 years later, J O’C wrote in Petersen’s Hunting magazine an article titled Sheep Rifles: Fast, Flat and Accurate-With a Punch.(2) He wrote:  “A rifle that I have had my eye on and would like to take on a sheep hunt is a Ruger No.1 single shot in .270, .280 or 7×57. Because it does not have the long receiver, a No.1 with a 24-inch barrel is about 4-inches shorter than a bolt-action rifle with a 22-inch barrel”

Continue reading “The Ruger No.1A in .275 Rigby-A Lipsey’s 2016 Exclusive”

Five Editions of the Clayton Ruger No. 1 Book

Five Editions of the Clayton Ruger No. 1 Book

I would think that everyone with a serious interest in the Ruger No.1 rifle, whether collecting, shooting or hunting, would have a copy of this book.
But, did you know there are 5 different editions?
  • 1st Edition -Numbered-500 copies
  • 1st Edition -Trade
  • 1st Edition -Leather-100 copies
  • 1st Edition -Special Leather-100 copies, but JDC believes only about 10 were made up. This Edition only has green leather (4.5″x7″) on the front with Title & Author. The binding appears to be a fine weave grey cloth
  • 2nd Printing-Softcover.
I have been told there were only 2000 copies printed in the 1st Edition.
If you have any of the first 4 Editions, consider yourself fortunate. I would also expect the Journal Supplement to be quite scarce!
Photos below are:  Below-Books, Left to Right; a 1st Edition without the dust jacket,the rare green leather title edition, the leather edition, the latest softcover reprint, with the covers same as the original dust jacket. NOTE-See Books for Sale to order a 2nd Printing Softcover. The 2nd and 3rd Photos are the front and back of the 1984 RCA Journal Supplement.

5 Editions of the Ruger No. 1 Book
The Five Editions of the Ruger No. 1 Book

An 8 page RCA 1984 Journal Supplement was also printed advertising and promoting the book. This Journal Supplement is the only place that the Cover Rifle pictured on the DJ is identified as a .222 Remington with the 200th Year Anniversary barrel marking. Also noted is that it is one of two such rifles in existence.

RCA Journal Supplement for the Ruger No.1 Book

RCA Journal Supplement- .222 Description



Ruger No.1, The Untold Story

Ruger No.1, The Untold Story

By Carl Ross

It was a beautiful October day in the Big Hole area of Montana. The Elk season was underway so Don Hartmann and a hunting buddy Bob Perkins decided to hunt in the area southwest of Wisdom. Don had picked a location in the Cow creek area. He was scouting along a ridge overlooking Cow creek and he spotted a Bull Elk across the draw on the next ridge. The rifle Don was using was a Ruger No 1 with a twenty-two inch barrel, Alex Henry forearm and no sights in 7mm Rem Mag. It was equipped with a quarter rib and scoped with a 2×7 Leupold. Don had the scope set on 4 power and as he sighted the Elk in the crosshair he could not quite make out the full rack because of the trees. Don estimated the range at 400 to 500 yards so he held the crosshair at the top of the Elks back. He took the shot and saw the Elk disappear in the brush. Don hiked down the ridge and across the draw and up the other side to where he thought the Elk was. As he approached the spot the Elk got up and staggered about 50 feet and collapsed. Upon examination Don saw that he had shot the Elk right through the rib cage. The bullet had passed through both sides making a clean kill. It was a huge 6 point bull and was one of the largest Elk Don had ever taken. Don was very pleased with the rifle he was using and decided he would like to purchase it or one like it.

Ruger No. 1, Serial number X-1, 7mm Magnum

Well, you probably think this is just another hunting article, what is the big deal? As Paul Harvey says here ís the rest of the story. During my thirty some years of collecting Ruger No1 rifles you hear all kinds of stories but very few that are verifiable, this one is.

While conversing with a friend, Kelly Lorge of Bowman ND a few months ago this story came to life. Kelly had been to a gun show in Glendive MT where he met Don and first heard the story. Kelly found out that Don also collected Ruger No.1’s and had a couple of early non-prefix rifles. Kelly gave me Don’s phone number so I could get the story first hand from him.

I called Don and he related the story to me and told me he had documentation to prove it and would send it to me. The letter arrived about a week later and was I astonished.

If you are knowledgeable about the early Ruger No.1’s we know that it was announced in late 1966 but the earliest production rifles were not shipped until April 1967.

Don’s hunt took place in October 1966, so what was he using?

Larry Koller from Monroe NY who was the Supervising Editor of Guns and Hunting magazine and a very good friend of Bill Ruger in 1966. Larry was a very popular gun writer during this period so he was loaned one of the prototype Ruger No1 rifles to test and comment upon. Larry took the rifle with him to Montana that year for range testing and hunting. Larry had to return home early for some unexpected reason and did not get to hunt with the rifle. Larry left the rifle with his good friend R.D.Shipley to use on an Elk hunt that fall. Ship, his nickname had several other rifles and decided not to use the rifle, so asked his friend Don if he would like to use it. Don was elated to try out the new rifle.

Now for Don’s proof of the story…


Letter to Mr Don Hartmann, Miles City, MT dated December 2 1966 from Larry Koller, Letterhead GUNS and HUNTING from Seven Springs Rd Monroe, New York

Dear Don

Just had a note from Ship telling me that you killed a good bull elk with the Ruger S.S. which is just great. Hope you got some pix for me. If so, I would appreciate your sending me the negs so we can make the right blow-ups. Ship says also that you want to buy the Ruger. I’m sorry; it just isn’t possible for that particular one. In fact, I can’t even get it myself. It’s a first pilot model with the light barrel and in 7mm Magnum so they really want it back for further test purposes. I’ll get you one just as soon as they are available if you will write me just what you want: barrel length and weight, caliber and forend style. The price will be right, don’t worry. I will appreciate it if you will ship the Ruger back directly to: Ed Nolan, Sturm-Ruger, Inc., Southport, Conn. And ship it express collect, insured for $2000. Nolan originally asked me to have you insure it for one grand but I just now talked to him on the phone and he said to make it two. I do want to thank you once again for your kindness in giving us the hunting courtesy on your ranch and, most of all the pleasure and fun of your company.

Best Regards
Larry Koller
Supervising Editor

Letter to Mr Don Hartmann, Miles City, MT dated December 2 1966 from Larry Koller, Letterhead GUNS and HUNTING from Seven Springs Rd Monroe, New York

Don shipped the rifle back to Sturm Ruger as instructed in Larry Kollers’ letter and received the following document as his receipt.

Ruger No. 1 X-1 Prototype Invoice
Ruger No. 1 X-1 Prototype Invoice

Invoice for Ruger No. 1, Prototype X-1

Original Invoice from STURM, RUGER & CO., Inc. Southport, Connecticut 06490

Sold To Don Hartmann 12/20/66 Powderville Stage Miles City, Montana 59301

Date Received: December 16,1966 Our Invoice No 28979




Now there is not always a happy ending to every story. The sad part is that Mr Larry Koller passed away unexpectedly at a young age in Aug. 1967. And to this writers knowledge did not write the article about the hunt.

Larry Koller Memoriam
Larry Koller Memoriam

What is the distinction about the Ruger No.1 rifle that Don Hartmann hunted with? It was PROTOTYPE RIFLE NO. X-1, the first Tool Room model.

This should not be confused with the production SN 1 which is a 30-06 caliber, 22 inch barrel Alex Henry forearm and factory sight’s or currently as model 1A. Don later purchased a 4 digit Ruger No.1 in 7mm Mag, 22 inch barrel, Alex Henry forearm, quarter rib rings just like the Prototype he used in 1966 and still hunts with it.

The configuration of the Prototype No X1 was made only in the non-prefix rifles and was not standardized. There are currently 23 rifles known in this configuration starting at SN 70 to SN 5529. The projected total made for this model is 107 of a total production of approximately 8000 non-prefix rifles. If any reader can furnish any further information about Ruger No 1’s please contact this writer or Classic Sporting Arms.

Carl L. Ross

Addendum to this Story

When I originally wrote this article I did not know that there was more information for the story. When I conversed with Don Hartmann during the months that followed he told me he had photographs of the Ruger No.1 X1 Prototype rifle and the October 1966 hunt.

I inquired if he could send me some duplicate photographs that I could use for a revised article in the future. Don said he didn’t have access to any photographic facilities at the time but said he would be glad to send me his original album of black and white photographs so I could get the duplicates made.

I was able to get two complete sets of duplicate photos made from his originals and had some of them colorized to bring them up to date.

I sent Don a complete set of new photographs along with his original photos and he was very appreciative for them and the color photos.

When I received the photographs I was surprised to actually see the very first Prototype Ruger No.1 rifle. The original Ruger X-1 prototype rifle had a 22 inch light barrel with no Quarter Rib. The Scope was mounted in a set of Rings unlike any I had Ever seen. There were two separate scope blocks on the barrel.

The barrel band was also a lot wider than the standard barrel band on the Production rifles. The Checkering pattern on the buttstock was also different from the first Production models. The Checkering pattern on the X-1 prototype had a two pointed pattern on the pistol grip. A similar pattern like this was used on the Ruger No.1 model celebrating one hundred years of the 30-06 cartridge.

The forearm checkering looked very similar to the first production models. During the years after I found the information on this rifle I have inquired Several times to the factory records and other sources to determine the whereabouts of the rifle but to no avail.

Don later acquired a new production Ruger No.1 SN 4192 of his own. The Rifle was an AH configuration in 7 Mag with 22 inch barrel and Quarter Rib with Horizontal Rings. Don hunted with his rifle many years then sold it to a friend who is a Ruger No.1 collector.

Final Chapter of this Story:
Carl Ross has informed me that Don Hartmann passed away on October 18, 2009, at the age of 79. Don Hartmann was a collector of  Ruger No.1 rifles. He is the only person known to have hunted with X-1 Prototype No.1 rifle.

Don Hartmann Obit Page 1

Don Hartmann Obit Page 2

2011 Arizona Mountain Lion Hunt

At the 2009 NRA Convention in Phoenix, my cousin(Dr. Bob Collard) and I  visited with Kelly Glenn-Kimbro at the Ruger exhibit. Kelly’s father, Warner, was also at Phoenix and I met him. Bob is from Silver City, NM and had hunted lion with Warner and Kelly several years previous.
I have said several times that I could spend the rest of my hunting time on whitetails and be perfectly satisfied. However when pushed about some other hunt, a good lion is first on my list. Also, I just happen to have the perfect place for one in my library!
At Phoenix, Bob and I decided to ask Kelly if we could get on her cancellation list. A year and a half goes by and no chances. In November of last year, I began to think that maybe we should just book a hunt. The first week of December, we hosted Mike Fifer, President and CEO of Ruger, for a whitetail hunt. I mentioned the cancellation list and said after a year and a half, I thought I might just as well and go ahead and book the hunt with Kelly and Warner. Mike let me know that they were booked 5 years out! Well, 5 years from now, I think I might just be too old to set a mule.
What a surprise when Kelly called just after Christmas; we were on for a hunt.
So, how do I get in some kind of shape for this effort in 6 weeks? February 6, 2011 is the start date of the hunt.

In Jack O’Connor’s The Big Game Animals of North America, the Chapter onThe Mountain Lion contains several quotable sentences: “Even in country where the mountain lion is common, it is very rare that one is seen unless it’s put up a tree or otherwise bayed by dogs.”

“Of all the large American mammals, the mountain lion is the shyest, most furtive, and most difficult to encounter.”

“Catching a glimpse of him is made all the more difficult because he is almost entirely nocturnal. Generally, he does not begin to hunt until dusk, and shortly after dawn he lies up in some secluded spot.”

“Few types of hunting excel lion hunting in anticipation. The hunter who knows his dogs can, by their actions, tell pretty well how old the scent is and what the lion was doing, and he’ll have a pretty fair notion about where the lion is heading. From the distant sounds he can tell when it is treed, if it makes a stand against a cliff and is fighting the dogs off. He can tell the voice of one dog from another, and he has fairly accurate ideas about the noses and intelligence of his various dogs.”

“And lion hunting is by no means easy. In the rugged mountains of the Southwest, even the  dude hunter who is paying for the show usually has to do some desperate horseback riding over country so rough it is incredible.”
“When the Lee brothers took paying guests out lion hunting, one of the older Lee’s used to stay with the dude and try to keep him within sound of the pack, but the youngest Lee, Dale, stayed right with the dogs, running up hill and down, through some of the roughest country on the continent.”

“The great sport of lion hunting is following the wonderful dogs through wild and beautiful country. The actual shooting is generally very easy.”

“I have done in only one lion with my own fair hands, and that was in the early twenties.” O’Connor used a ’92 Winchester carbine in .25/20; the location is not specifically noted, but surely was in southern Arizona.

Craig Boddington’s book Campfires and Game Trails has a chapter on The Great Cats. Craig hunted with Marvin(Kelly’s Grandfather) and Warner Glenn prior to the books publication in 1985, There are 4 photos in the chapter of this hunt; Craig with his lion, the cat loaded on the mule, Craig with the dogs, and a tom lion scratch. Craig caught his lion in the Chiricahuas  north of Douglas, Arizona.

It’s tough hunting and the Glenn’s make no guarantee. It’s also extremely rewarding hunting, and those Arizona mountains are  my favorite hunting country. My Arizona cougar came surprisingly easy; some trappers gave us a tip about a javelina freshly killed by a cougar. We trailered the mules as far as we could, rode in to the designated place and Jaws, their big black-and-tan strike dog, found the scent. The lion was laid up nearby. The pack jumped him, and after a couple of miles of pell-mell chase, he treed in a big pine.”

Both O’Connor and Boddington make the points that lions are generally shot at close range, are not hard to kill and that cartridges like the .22 Magnum, .22 Hornet, .25/20, etc have killed many a lion. Boddington notes that “It is important to place the shot carefully. A wounded cougar isn’t to be taken lightly even if he poses no great threat to you–and that isn’t a certainty. He can do a lot of damage to a prized pack of hounds, and do it very quickly.”

I have selected a Ruger No.1A in .357 Magnum and a Blackhawk .357 to take on this hunt. (Click on any of the photos and they will enlarge!)


Ruger No.1 .357 Magnum; .357 Flattop

The No.1 is one of the unmarked over runs from the California Highway Patrol edition of 1982. Generally it is thought by Collectors that less than 200 were made. The .357 Flattop is a 4XXX range 1st variation. It has some very old and thick after market stags fitted. Both were sighted with the Hornady 125 grain XTP. The No.1 will shoot one hole groups at 25 yards. I figured I was good with the Flattop to about 7-8 yards.

Bob and I were to be at the Glenn’s Malpai Ranch by 5:00PM on Saturday, the 5th of February. I left home at 1:30AM that morning. Met Cousin Collard at Lordsburg, NM about 1:00PM and we had lunch. Turned off I10 at Road Forks, NM and took US 80 all the way to Douglas. We stopped to look at a marker along the way noting Geronimo’s surrender at Skeleton Canyon in September, 1886. We would see Skeleton Canyon again on the 4th day of hunting, having come in the long and rough way!

Made it to Douglas and then out Geronimo Trail to  Warner and Wendy Glenn’s Malpai Ranch. Here is the sign at the turn off!

Bob and I met Warner and Scotty at the stables, met Wendy(Mrs. Glenn) at the house; we  unloaded our gear, had dinner and turned in early. We were to get up at 4:00AM the next morning, with breakfast at 4:30. Kelly had an obligation in town and did not arrive at the Ranch until after we had turned in.

The morning routine after breakfast was to get the mules saddled and loaded, let the dogs out and have their run(to “empty out” as Warner said), load the dogs and our gear and we were off. It was an hour to an hour and a half to the east on Geronimo Trail to the Peloncillos. It would usually be light enough to see, but well before sunrise. The 1st day we turned up Estes Canyon. The hunting party was Warner and Kelly, my cousin(Dr. F. R. Collard) from Silver City, New Mexico, and Scotty Dieringer of Safford, Arizona. Scotty is a 17 year old cowboy and experienced lion hunter. He had brought his two dogs, Berdie and Spook. And then, as O’Connor notes, the “dude”; me!

Scotty loading the Pack Mule

This was at a windmill and stock tank. We had just unloaded and Scotty was loading the pack mule. Mostly water for the dogs was in the packsaddles. We would water the dogs about 3-4 times a day on those trips were we found no surface water.

Kelly Tying My Rifle on Mariah

Long Way Across the Canyon

Warner and Scotty Listening For Dogs

Kelly On The Trail

The “Dude” and Mariah;1st Get Off Rest Stop

View From the Back of a Mule

More Really Rugged Mountains

A Long Way Down and Over There

On the way up Estes Canyon, early in the hunt, the dogs got on a scent and took off to the left side of the Canyon. We all pulled out to keep up, but the track played out pretty quick, Was exciting for a few moments though. We rode all the way up Estes and topped out; then down into a very grassy basin. The dogs picked up another track here but it was too old to do anything with. We started to make a big circle to head back out and jumped a good Coues buck. This was the only day we actually stopped to eat our lunches. Guess Bob and I needed the “Rest Stop”! On the way out, we ran in to several mama cows with new calves; like 3 or 4 days old. One seemed to be missing it’s baby, so your 1st thought is that a cat caught it. Warner, Kelly and Scotty spent several minutes looking for it; Bob and I rested. Time to head back and we went into some really rough and rocky country. I had to get off and lead Mariah for several hundred yards; just about wore me out. There was just one big descent left to get back to the trucks and trailers. Kelly said it was really rough and steep; we would have to lead our mount for a ways. Kelly and Scotty went off; Warner led Bob and I a longer, slightly easier way around. We were back at the Ranch after dark.

Bob has been nursing a hip problem and he opted out on the 2nd day. We went back to Estes Canyon and rode straight up to where we had turned around the 1st day. We then made a big circle back to our left. Was a much easier ride this day, but the dogs hit no lion scent, Just a short time fooling with what Warner thought to be a bobcat. This was the longest day in the saddle; we must have ridden over 15 miles!

Scenery from 2nd Day; Impressive Rock

Scotty and Warner Looking off into a Really Deep Canyon

The “Dude” on Blanca; a Good Mule!

Down a Rough, Steep Trail

The Trail Boss and the “Dude” at a Rest Stop

Bob was back in the saddle with us on the 3rd day. We were going up Hog Canyon.

Coronado National Forest Trail Sign

The wind was really blowing hard today when we got out of the lower canyon. When we were heading into the wind, the mules could barely make any forward progress! Hog Canyon was where Warner and Kelly found the jaguar in 1996. Also, note this is the hard way to Skeleton Canyon. This brings up visions of Geronimo and Cochise! Kelly and Scotty split off to the right with 2 dogs and Warner, Bob and I went up the Canyon Trail. Wasn’t long until Kelly radioed that the dogs were on a track. We pulled off the trail and went to them. After we got on the top, the dogs really lit up and headed off into a deep hole. Scotty took of his jacket, chaps and spurs and bailed off the mountain after them. I am thinking-now how am I going to get down there if I need to??  To make a shorter story out of a long day, we didn’t catch the cat; couple of dogs got lost and Warner and Scotty spent a couple of hours gathering up the dogs. We went back out down Hog Canyon; wind still blowing hard!

The Dogs Checked Out Every Rock!

Bob and I; the Wind Blew Really Hard All Day.

This was the only day of the hunt that we had this kind of wind.

The 4th day, we rode the trail all the way up Hog Canyon and topped out. We were on top of the Peloncillos and could see a very long way; all the way to the mouth of Skeleton Canyon. To return, it was a long ride circling back to our left on the western rim of the Peloncillos.

Heading In; Riding Began to Get Better On the 4th Day

We could see the Chiricahuas and the Basin where the Malpai Ranch was . We went by Chester Wells and Chester Bluffs, which would be a big part of the 9th day hunt. A very recognizable landmark from this high is College Peak; formerly known as Nellie’s Nipple. Easy to see why!

College Peak; Formerly Known as Nellie’s Nipple

After 4 days in the Peloncillos, we were going to head west and go north on the 5th day to the Pedregosa Range. This meant we would be getting up at 3:00AM and trailering the mules for over 2 hours. Bob stayed at the Ranch today, as he would also on the 7th and 9th day. Scotty’s horse bumped a back leg loading in the trailer this morning and he ended up riding the pack mule this day. We were in cattle country and water tanks were available for the dogs. A beautiful and interesting ride this day. By about 10:00 we were on a track. I will mention here that anytime the dogs hit a scent, Warner and Kelly are both off their mules looking for a track to get an indication of what the dogs have scented, whether it is a bobcat, coati mundi, a female lion or tom, and which way it is going! The dogs take off again today; Kelly could never find a track, so we were just not totally sure what it was. There was one heck of a chase going on. Warner and Scotty stayed with the dogs; Kelly was in radio contact. We were in Pryon Canyon and the dogs were hot on something. Warner radioed that all were headed back our way. Kelly told me to get my rifle out and take a shot when it came by. We never saw anything and Warner sheepishly decided the dogs were on a coyote!

The 6th day we were up at 3:00AM again and headed to the Chiricahuas and Rucker Canyon. This was a long day. Kelly had told me in our 1st e-mail that I would be sore from the riding and after the 3rd day it would began to get better. Well, it does! I could barely tell it was better on the 4th day, but by the 5th and 6th days, I was doing pretty good. My knees would get numb and sore after 3-4 hours in the saddle and it would take a few steps after dismounting the mule to get my legs limbered up.

Bob and His Good Mule Redkit

Water Time for the Dogs!

Bob Found a Good Place to Rest His Hip

Most of the Time, It Was Not This Flat!

It got Rougher and Steeper Coming In

We circled up Devil’s Canyon, down Kid Canyon and then down Bruno. At the day’s end, we found a big tom track in Rucker Canyon. The dogs could not do much with it, but we would be back here at daylight the next morning.  Kid Canyon was apparently so named because the Apache Kid hid out here. Search and you will find an interesting Apache-Arizona history story from the 1880′s.

The 7th day we were back in Rucker Canyon, trying to guess where this tom lion had gone last night. The dogs got on a trail early; Warner and Scotty jumped the lion off this bluff.

The Lion Came off This; Warner and Scotty Came Down On the Left

An interesting bit of Arizona-Apache history is here as Camp Rucker was active camp in the 1879-1880 Apache Campaigns. Lt Anthony Rucker was Commander of C Company of the Apache Scouts. He drowned in 1879 in this flooded creek trying to save his friend and fellow Apache Scout Commander, Lt. Henley. Both drowned. Do an Internet search and you will find the whole story. Will also note that Kelly’s 2011 Poster(from SHOT) was taken at the Camp Rucker ruins.

Down in the Creek, Kelly decided the cat was a small female; we lost it. There were big trees all along the creek, so we all rode through looking up, just to be sure the lion was not high up in a tree. Kelly looked everywhere for tracks.

Just Where Did This Lion Go??

There’s the Smile; We Quit the Track!

The 8th Day, we were back in the Chiiricahuas; another 3:00AM wake-up call. This was a pretty easy day. We made a ride up the Turtle Mountain Trail and down the John Long Canyon. Dogs made a couple of short runs, but we couldn’t get on a track to do any good. This was a most scenic ride down John Long. Here was the biggest Ponderosa pines that I saw on the trip.

The Dogs Really Enjoyed the Water When We Found It

This is the “Dude” on Minnie, Another Good Mule

The Mules Liked the Water Too, When We Found It

It Was Not Flat and Smooth All Day

The 9th Day; Valentines Day! We went back to the Peloncillos, so there was an extra hour of sleep. Warner and Scotty got out and took 6 dogs and went up Wood Canyon, where Warner, Bob and I had come out the 1st afternoon. Kelly and I went on a couple of miles more on Geronimo Trail, parked the truck and trailer and went up Estes Canyon. We had 2 dogs, Raisin and Gringo. It was just about sunrise. Pretty soon up the trail, Kelly noted a tom lion scratch, actually two, one going up and one coming down. They had been made since we were here on the 1st and 2nd days of the hunt. After going up the trail a little farther, we pulled out on the left and started cutting the smaller canyons. Raisin and Gringo got on a track, but it was so rocky that Kelly was not sure what we had or if we were backtrailing. After 10-15 minutes of following the dogs, the dogs were back at Geronimo Trail. They bailed off a bluff that we could not ride the mules off of. We hurriedly took a shortcut back to the Road and found Raisin; we could not find Gringo, nor could we hear him. In the soft dirt of the Road, Kelly found a good tom lion track; it was made last night and we were going in the right direction.

Where the Lion Came Off the Bluff to the Road

Kelly radioed Warner; he and Scotty had not hit anything, so they came as fast as they could with their 6 dogs. Still no Gringo! The tom crossed the Road and looked to be headed up Hog Canyon. Warner and Scotty took the 7 dogs and tried to find the trail. The lion came off the Bluff just to the right of the big rock. The track( a perfect one; I could even see it!) was in the Road at the big rock. The dogs took off up and out of the left side(West) of the Canyon.

Coming Out of Hog Canyon on the Track

More Hog Canyon!

More Hog Canyon!

We all followed, out over the top and down into another deep and steep canyon. We could see the Chester Bluffs.

This is What the Dogs Came Down

Looking Near Straight Down From Chester Bluffs

Chester Bluffs

This was off to our right when we lost Raisin and Berdie.

Raisin and Berdie Went Out Over This

We are all riding along trying to figure out where to go next; we realize Raisin and Berdie are not with us. They both just disappeared without a sound. Now we have lost 3 dogs, as we haven’t come up on Gringo yet. We all head off up this “little” hill and top out, looking and listening for Raisin and Berdie. I don’t even know which way Warner went, but Scotty went left and Kelly and I went right when we topped out. We ride a long way and are getting back to Hog Canyon.

I Think This Is the Top of the Rock From Where We First Saw the Lion

Kelly walks out to the rim to listen; I am with our 2 mules and the pack mule. I hear Kelly say over her radio “I hear the dogs bayed.” It was Raisin and Berdie. I gather all 3 mules and start leading them to her, as I figure we are in for more riding. About the time I get to Kelly, we hear Warner on the radio “I see the lion.” He tells us where the lion is; I get my rifle and we head to the edge of this bluff. Kelly looks over and snaps these 2 photos:

The Lion is on the Left; One Dog Upper right

Kelly Took This Photo, But This Lion Was Looking Up Just Like This When I Got To the Edge of the Bluff

Kelly told me to step right up to the edge of the bluff and I could see the tom; she said Warner was off to the right of the dogs down on their level. I slipped up to the edge; “Kelly, I don’t see the lion.” She said “Go closer to the edge!” I moved another step closer and there he was, just as you see in the above photo. He was on a rock about 25-30 yards below us; the dogs and Warner were another 20 yards below the lion. Looking near straight down, the photos offer no depth perception. I could see Warner on his mule far enough off to the right that I could shoot at the lion without any danger to him. Another problem! The sun was directly above, reflecting in my ocular lens; I could see nothing through the Leupold 2×7, set on 4X. I told Kelly to lay her hat along side my head and scope to shade the lens. I have no recollection whether I had a rest of any kind or how close I was to the edge! When I shot, the lion flopped off the rock to the left and fell another 20 yards to where the dogs and Warner was. He was DRT. I looked at my watch; it was 2:40 PM. We had been on his trail over 7 hours!  It took us 40 minutes to get off the top of the bluff and down to the level where Warner, the dogs and the lion were. Then, as we just started down the steep slope, we look back and there is Scotty’s horse, dragging his reins, and his dog Spook, coming down the trail behind us. That was a bit scary, until Warner told us that Scotty was with him. Scotty could hear the radio traffic, but was not at the scene when the shot came. Hearing the shot, he dropped his spurs and chaps and bailed off the mountain to get to the lion and the dogs. His horse and other dog decided to follow Kelly and I. We could not lead Troubador down, so Kelly tied his reins up, put him in front of me and I drove him off the mountain to where the lion was.

Troubador Coming Off the Mountain

The Lion is Caught and Raisin is Resting!

I Shot From On Top of the Rock Behind Us

I shot from the large “V” on the left; the lion was down on the lower ledge, and he ended up down at this level. It was not flat up on top of that rock!

Look At the Size of That Tom’s Foot!

We Had to Get Warner In A Picture

Warner, Kelly & Scotty with Raisin & Berdie-the 2 Lost Dogs That Bayed the Lion!

Scotty and Berdie;Young Cowboy, Good Dog

Kelly, Warner and I all used our cameras to take the photos; we took a lot! Right in the middle of my camera being used, I was introduced to a new aspect of technology- my card was full! After picture taking, Warner gutted the lion; we were interested to know what his last kill was. It was a javelina. Now was time to load this tom on the pack mule and head out down Hog Canyon. Kelly covered up the mules eyes with her hat and the rest of us loaded him in the pack saddle and tied him in good!

Lion Loaded and Headed Out

Heading Down Hog Canyon

It took a couple of hours to get back to the Road and the sun was going down.

Moon Over What Could be Outlaw Peak?

Rough Rocks on East Side of Hog Canyon

We did find Gringo, right where we had last seen him 10 hours earlier.

This was absolutely the hardest,  most exciting , and adventurous hunt I ever expect to have in my lifetime!

Douglas, Arizona Vicinity Map

Hog Canyon is the orange mark, just above Estes Canyon, on the lower right of the map.

One night as we finished dinner, Warner remarked that he had been asked how many more years that he would be hunting lions in these mountains? He replied:“I guess until Kelly gets too old to go hunting with me anymore”.

A last photo that you may have seen on TV.

Sign at Entrance to Coronado National Forest

We saw no Smugglers or Illegals in 9 days in the mountains. We did see some trash and debris left on the trails. What we did see was a tremendous presence by our Border Patrol. Know that these men and women are working hard for you. Gabrielle Giffords gets great credit making this increased Border Patrol activity happen. Please pray for her continued recovery and rehabilitation.

I would suppose that anyone visiting this Website with any interest in Rugers would know that Kelly has been representing Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. with advertisements and at Trade Shows since at least 1988. The advertisement with the Mini-30 in 1988 is the first I am aware off. That was the poster given out at the 1988 NRA Convention in Orlando, Florida. I was there and got an autographed one!!

The most recent poster, from the 2011 SHOT Show. Kelly is holding the new LC9 and the Gunsite Scout  model in .308.

Kelly Glenn-Kimbro 2011 SHOT Poster

For all of you men(and women) and boys and girls who have only met Kelly at SHOT or the NRA Convention, where this always smiling, gracious lady listens to all your Ruger stories, answers all your questions, signs your posters(usually several, for all your friends back home), let me tell you, Kelly Glenn-Kimbro is the “Real Deal”!! She rides a mule and hunts mountain lion in really, really rough country right up there with her father, Warner. And, Warner Glenn is a legend! For those of you who have not seen this, you cannot imagine it; for those who have been there, you know what I mean.

Kelly's 2011 NRA Poster

Kelly’s 2011 NRA Postyer

Kelly’s 2011 NRA Poster, Back Side

Couple of years ago, Kelly put together a book.

The Front Cover of Kelly’s Book

Kelly caught(and shot) this lion on the cover!

Some may recall Warner Glenn’s book, EYES of FIRE, Encounter with a Borderlands Jaguar, from 1996. This is a fascinating read!

EYES of FIRE, Cover

The best part of the story is on page 8 when Warner realizes that the dogs are not on the trail of a big tom lion, but a jaguar! Page 9; “Jaguars are notorious for killing dogs”, and Warner’s great efforts to get the dogs off and away from the jaguar!

Real Life – Larry Weishuhn

“You’re so lucky!  All you do is travel throughout the world and hunt.  Must be a great life! I wish I could do that!”  He hesitated then added, “Don’t you feel a little guilty about having it so good, compared to the rest of us who like to hunt?”

I smiled, having just finished an hour long talk capped off by an additional thirty minutes of questions and answers at Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention..  From their actions it appeared the audience had had fun!  I knew I did!  I immediately replied to to his question, “You’re right I am indeed extremely lucky and blessed to get to do what I do.  I dearly love it!  And, you’re right it is indeed a great life I get to live! Wish everyone who loves the outdoors, hunting and guns could do what I do.”  With that I thanked him for coming to my presentation, watching my shows, and reading my “stuff” then turned to the others waiting to visit with me, have a photo taken with me, get an autograph or to tell me their hunting stories.  An hour later finally got back to the Ruger booth. I was helping work, there I continued visiting with hunters. Those who wished to have their photo taken with me, I grabbed a Ruger rifle, usually a Number 1 (because I dearly love Number 1s) handed it to the person who wanted a picture of him or her and me, got them to hold it in his hands for the photo a friend of was taking . With a Ruger Number 1s in their hands I could talk to them about that particular gun. Then I could tell them what was great about Number 1s and other Ruger guns and why they should own such guns.  Quite often before they left the booth, they are ready to buy a Ruger!  This sort of thing continued until the show closed for the day.  Then it was off to the evening events and auction.  Long day and night! day after day after day after…. Tomorrow would be much the same.

Let’s back up to that morning’s events.  It had started at 3 am, up early to get an article written that had been assigned a couple of days earlier and was now due to the editor.  Back up now even farther to the day before, it had been much like this day, late night and up early that morning to write a column that was due.  Two to three hours of sleep per night for days on end.DSC’s Hunter’s Convention (in my opinion DSC is the finest and best hunting show in the world, but not only their “show” certainly also their organization.  With it completed I was again on a hunt, a whitetail hunt we were trying to finish on a ranch southeast of Dallas.  I had hunted the ranch for 5 days earlier in the fall, saw some nice buck and got some decent footage.  But I had not pulled the trigger on a deer.  The reasons were many…because there was not enough light, or the buck had been too far away, or the buck charged in while I rattled horns and the cameraman was either looking the other way or had not yet turned the camera on.  So I simply watched the deer as it left unscathed.  Whereas had I simply been hunting hunting the 150 class mature buck I had rattled up would have been headed home with me.

Nothing to this tv show hunting, get to the place, go out to hunt, shoot the animal, grip and grin, on the way home in less than 30 minutes.  Right? After all most TV shows do an entire hunt in less than 30 minutes.  How difficult can such things be?  Right?

Actually…WRONG!  There’s hunting and then there’s hunting for TV, and frankly, the two have very little to do with one another. other than you’re in the woods.  When hunting for the TV you get into the woods; you set up the cameraman where he’ll have the best angle for the best possible footage. The hunter, he has to set up where it’s difficult to get on any deer that might come in to the area. Camera take precedence over real hunting. When a buck does appear, from the cameraman it’s “Don’t shoot, I’m not on him..” Don’t shoot we don’t have enough light!” and a thousand other reasons for the hunter not to shoot.  Not a complaint, simply a statement! But all part of doing a TV show.

One of the things I hear a fair amount of, “Ah you TV guys, when you go some where you hunt in only the best spots.  The guide probably have a deer “tied up” for you.!”  My reply to that is “I wish!”.  When I go on a hunt, I let everyone else in camp choose where they want to hunt, then I take the area no one wants.

I wish I got to hunt sure things!  I try to do so as much as possible.  But that’s not very often.  Some facts….good cameramen/field producers demand a salary of at least $650 per day plus expenses.  I have t pay for them and their travel expenses, plus my own expenses (travel, licenses, permits, lodging, meals, rental cars and gas and the cost of the hunt itself, tips to guides and others). Frankly, I pay something on every hunt I do…  Yes, I try to get the best possible price because of the promotional value the outfitter/guide will get from the tv show, articles, blogs, word of mouth, etc that I do on their behalf. But again I pay for a lot of hunts, same as any other hunter.  And TV show expenses don’t end there.  It costs a lot to have each show produced usually between $5,000 to $10,000 per show.  Then you have to buy airtime from a network to air your show.   By the time the year is over and you think you might have made some money on the show, then it’s time to start hunting hunting and filming again, and there goes the profit, because you have to invest it into “next year’s crop of shows”.  In a lot of ways doing a TV show is not a whole lot different than being a farmer!

Great traveling around the country and beyond?  It is!  I dearly love people and in doing so, I get to meet a tremendous number of good people.

Between hunting trips, personal appearances at stores, events, outdoor/hunting shows, doing promotional work for sponsors I travel about 300 days a year, sometimes more, and rarely less.  Again not a complaint, merely a statement!  Throughout the year I do between 15 and 20 major hunts a year, so we end up with top-notch shows.  I’m in and out of airports, sometimes in an out of foreign lands.  Some of that is an adventure, some of it is downright aggravating and some of it is even dangerous!  And all of it is downright tiring!  Most of my days start no later than 4am and seldom end before 11pm. Again just a statement of fact.

A few years ago I had a friend of mine who thought he really wanted to do what I did, and this guy was a go-getter, I invited him to “run” a couple of weeks with me part of the time hunting, other parts traveling and doing an in-store promotion.  At the end of day 7 of a 14 day trip, my friend came to me and told me, “You’re crazy!  What you do is no fun, day after day of hardly any sleep, yet still you’ve got a smile on your face.  I wanna go home!  I don’t want to do what you do…I just thought I did.  All sounded and looked so exciting and fun.  I had no idea!  I’m going home.  You can have it!  I’m taking my Ruger Number 1 and going hunting on my own.  I’m outa here! ”

I smiled.  I dearly love what I do.


Bradford O’Connor and The Jack O’Connor Heritage Center

At the Dallas Safari Club Convention in January of 2015, I was able to meet Bradford O’Connor and hold Jack’s #2 Winchester Model 70 in 270 Winchester. That is O’Connor’s Pilot Mountain Dall on the right and the Dall on the left is from the Herb Klein collection. It ranked high in the book when it was taken.

In 1988, Bradford was instrumental in directing me to his sister Kathy that culminated in my purchase of the Jack O’Connor “21 Club” Ruger No.1 rifle, a 375 H&H magnum, serial #20.

The Jack O'Connor rifle, serial# 20 in .375 H&H. The Jack O’Connor rifle, serial# 20 in .375 H&H.

O'Connor left

The Jack O'Connor rifle, serial# 20. Note the vertical ring in the front position. this rifle is pictured in O'Connor's book, The Hunting Rifle, page 58. The Jack O’Connor rifle, serial# 20.
Note the vertical ring in the front position. this rifle is pictured in O’Connor’s book, The Hunting Rifle, page 58.