Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Now THAT’s a well-armed fishing guide!

deadbear.jpgAlaskan fishing guides often carry sidearms to protect against potential grizzly or brown bear attacks.

Carrying the pistols becomes second nature. I’m sure Greg Brush is glad he was used to carrying his. On Aug. 2, as he walked his dogs near his Soldotna home, Brush shot and killed a charging 900-pound brown bear with what he calls “a pure luck shot.”

Brush didn’t know the bear was there until it was almost upon him. In a flash, he drew his revolver and fired two or three times. One of the shots dropped the bruin in its tracks.

It didn’t hurt that Brush was carrying a Ruger .454 Casull, one of the most powerful handguns made. Note to self: If you ever go salmon fishing in the Soldotna area, you’ll at least know Brush has the firepower to protect you.

The Anchorage Daily News has the complete story.

Hat tip: J.R. Absher in The Outdoor Pressroom.

packin.jpgTo raise awareness of Michigan’s open-carry firearms law, residents of Oxford Township got together recently for a “packin’ potluck,” a picnic at which most folks had handguns strapped to their hips. Check out the complete story in the Oakland Press.

Such an event would be possible here in West Virginia, too. The Mountain State also has an open-carry law, though few bother to take advantage of it.

Hat tip: J.R. Absher at The Outdoor Pressroom.

layfield.jpgCongratulations to Clarksburg’s Bryan Layfield, one of the nation’s up-and-coming young pistol shooters.

Layfield was a force at the recent NRA National Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. He won the junior national championship, and along the way racked up high-junior scores in nine categories of the .22-caliber and .45-caliber disciplines.

The 18-year-old recently graduated from Liberty High. And get this — he only started shooting a year and a half ago!

Here’s a link to a story I wrote about him back in February.

Good news for shotgunners

maxus.jpgBrowning’s long-awaited Maxus line of autoloading shotguns should start shipping late next month.

That’s the word straight from the lips of Paul Thompson, media liaison for the Utah-based company. The shotguns, chock full of interesting and innovative features, will come out first in 12-gauge 3-inch and 3 1/2-inch versions. Available colors will be black and Mossy Oak Duck Blind camo. Other gauges and stock choices will follow.

I got to shoot one, and I was impressed. I’ll have more on the Maxus in an upcoming Woods & Waters feature story.

pinkgun.jpgOh, brother — or should I say, “Oh, sister?”

Remington has proudly announced the release of its newest shotgun — a variation on the company’s tried-and-true 870 Express model, but intended specifically for women.

In outdoor-industry language, that means the gun is smaller than standard and pink. This one happens to sport a Mossy Oak “pink camouflage” motif.

Who put in in the heads of every hunting- and fishing-equipment manufacturer that the best way to sell stuff to women is to “shrink it and pink it?” Seems to me the better approach would be to sell them gear that fits properly, functions flawlessly and doesn’t scare any self-respecting game animal completely out of its wits?

Montana plans to test federal gun laws

rifle.jpgThis could get interesting.

Montana officials would like to know whether firearms made in that state, for sale to the people of that state, and for use within the state should be subject to federal gun-registration laws.

A bill passed by the Montana Legislature asserts that such firearms should be exempt from federal registration, background checks and dealer-licensing rules because the guns and their owners would not cross state lines.

“It’s a gun bill, but it’s another way of demonstrating the sovereignty of the state of Montana,” Gov. Brian Schweitzer told the Associated Press.

Schweitzer, a Democrat, signed the bill into law. It calls for guns intended only for Montana to be stamped “Made in Montana.” According to the AP report, the law’s drafters hope to trigger the inevitable legal battle by producing a “Montana-made youth-model single-shot bolt-action .22 rifle.” They would then find a “squeaky clean” Montanan willing to send a note to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms threatening to build 20 of the rifles without federal dealership licensing.

If ATF officials say it’s illegal, the bill’s drafters plan to sue and take the case to as high a court as possible.

Grab a cold one and pop some popcorn; we’re in for quite a show.

Gun, ammo manufacturers post record profits

ruger.jpg                             winchester.jpg                    

Sure, the economy stinks right now. But that apparently isn’t keeping people from buying guns and ammunition.

Firearm manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. recently reported net sales of $63.5 million for the first quarter of 2009, up $21 million from the first quarter of 2008. Shortly after Ruger’s news hit the wires, one of the nation’s leading ammo manufacturers — the Winchester Division of Olin Corp. — reported record-breaking first-quarter sales of $132.9 million, up from $110.8 million in 2008.