Larry Potterfield at this office desk writing a story

Larry's Short Stories

Latest Story

An ambulance is the last thing you want to see pictured with anyone’s deer st...

The Accident - #203

“Grandpa, grandpa; are you hurt; do you want me to call an ambulance?” Those were the first words I heard, from thirteen-year-old grandson Benjamin, after I slipped and fell ten feet from the platform of our deer stan...

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Featured Books

The Short Stories of Larry Potterfield MidwayUSA Coffee Table Book The Short Stories of Larry Potterfield Volume 1 MidwayUSA The First 40 Years Book by Larry Potterfield MidwayUSA The First 40 Years Book by Larry Potterfield

About the Author

Dad taught me to hunt and fish, back when I was growing up on the farm in northeast Missouri. Things were much simpler in the '50s and I can't imagine what my life would be like today, had I not enjoyed the benefit of all the instruction of those early years. I shot my first duck at age 9 and my first quail at 13 - the same year I got my first gun for Christmas - a hand-me-down Stevens 16 gauge single shot.

Some of my fondest memories are the hunting and fishing stories Dad and my uncles shared with us kids back then - generally around the wood stove, and other times in the field. Unfortunately, it was pure and simple storytelling, so all I have are the memories.

Now, as a father and grandfather and having hunted and fished all my life, I am taking the time to write down some of my own stories – for the enjoyment of my children, grandchildren, friends and Customers.

Many interesting things have happened to me personally and at MidwayUSA through the years and I've included a few, hoping you will find them of interest. This collection of short stories is beginning to look a little like a history of MidwayUSA and an autobiography of my own life.

These are all real stories that I participated in, nothing is made up; and I write them purely for your enjoyment.

Signed, Larry Potterfield
Russell, just as he rode in from a long night, lost in the mountains.

The No-Sheep Hunt - #202

It all started at that year’s Safari Club Show in Reno, where Russell and I booked a Dall sheep hunt for that August. Sheep hunting begins in mid-summer and is all over by fall. We were on the second hunt of that season.

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Bert and I at one of Bert’s favorite places – Bear Lake Lodge near Port Molle...

How Bert Klineburger Changed My Life - #201

John Jackson III, one of the higher ups in the safari community – and a serious elephant hunter, introduced our family to Bert at the Dallas Safari Club show in January of 1997. John said: “If you want to hunt elephan...

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Russell and I standing in the Purdey Workshop.

A Visit to Purdey - #200

One of the ultimate “bucket list” items, for a guy like me who’s seriously interested in fine shotguns, is a visit to Purdey in London, England. Not just the showroom in Audley House, but also a tour through the works...

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Russell and I are “properly” dressed for grouse shooting in the United Kingdom.

Driven Grouse Shooting - #199

The grouse came in low and fast (in small groups), slicing through the line from the left and the right, with a few coming straight on. In three days of shooting, I never had a high overhead shot. Switching guns was e...

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Leopard pictures are almost always taken after dark, as leopard usually come ...

My First Leopard Hunt - #198

One of Africa's grandest trophies is the leopard – as magnificent in death as he is in life. Leopard aren't rare or endangered in the safari countries of Africa; however, daytime sightings are unusual, as leopard are ...

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Russell and I were hunting prairie dogs in South Dakota and heard this coyote...

My Favorite Coyote Stories - #197

My favorite coyote story of all time is of a coyote I took out of dad's traps one fall – all by myself, when just ten or twelve years old. It was a Sunday morning and for whatever reason I was up well before mom and d...

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A safari in Africa provides a lot of time to catch up on reading – on the tri...

How Africa Changed My Life - #196

Outside of growing up with mom and dad, going off to college and then into the Air Force, working for a living, getting married and raising kids; outside of all that, there are many other events and circumstances thro...

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Sara, Russell, Brenda and I posed for this picture just before going out for ...

First Trip to Argentina - #195

Hunting, for me, was never a "dad thing," where I was the hunter and dragged the family along. From the time the kids were old enough to shoot, in the early 1990s, we hunted as a family. This was our second out-of-cou...

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(L-R) Jeff Larkin, Matt Fleming and myself with a group of crows from an earl...

Crow Hunting Memories - #194

A bunch of crows is not a flock, but a “murder” – a murder of crows; wonder who came up with such an idea. Also, I’ve never eaten a crow; however, I’ve eaten a lot of crow in my lifetime – you figure. Crows aren’t tho...

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The hyena have sharp teeth and strong jaws; they easily tore away the skin fr...

The Hyena Ate Brenda's Leopard - #193

There are times in Africa when game department regulations make no sense; this is sometimes the case of quotas for different species. Part of the problem is the lack of good data and part is the bureaucracy, which oft...

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Nine-year-old grandson Jay wasn’t quite ready to have his own shotgun on this...

Bird Safari in Argentina - #192

When there’s talk about bird shooting in Argentina, mostly it’s about three-day, high-volume doves; certainly that was my first experience – and many since. However, there are a few outfitters that offer a variety of ...

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Brenda and I chose Matt Fleming and Deanna Herwald to represent the Company o...

The First Baldrige Award - #191

From my perspective, the greatest success, during our first 32 years, wasn’t any of the record breaking months or years, it was that day in November when the United States Secretary of Commerce called to tell us that ...

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The Battenfeld and MidwayUSA businesses were side by side on the campus.

The Battenfeld Years - #190

Success comes in many different forms; and yes, it can be bittersweet. Such is the story of the Battenfeld company, which we spun out of Midway in 1999 and developed into a nice, small manufacturing business; then we ...

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The 1996 Fajen Catalog Cover  featured a picture of our  daughter, Sara.

The Fajen Years - #189

“Larry, you should buy Fajen; it’s for sale.” Those were the words of Marty Fajen, when we met at a sporting clays event in the spring of 1992. On July 15, the deal was done; the Reinhart Fajen Gunstock Company had ch...

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Sara with her backyard buck.

Sara's Backyard Buck - #188

All that summer and early fall we'd been seeing more deer in the back yard than ever before. One evening we counted twenty, within 100 or so yards of the house — including nine bucks. The biggest was a nice ten pointe...

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Yes, there are risks being around horses, especially in the mountains; but th...

Close Calls with Horses - #187

Hunting from horseback, in the mountains, is one of my all-time favorite ways to hunt, whether the quarry is elk, moose, sheep or goats. Mostly it's the pace of the horses and the unique access they provide to the wil...

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Brenda and I with our Winchester Model 12s and two nice toms.

Turkeys for Two - #186

Brenda and I were hunting together that clear spring morning and had set up in one of my favorite places – Turkey Hollow. That was the first place I'd shot a turkey on this farm, after we bought it back in 1983.

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The biggest elk I ever shot and certainly at the highest elevation (11,200 fe...

Last Elk at Trinchera Ranch - #185

The experience started for me in 1994, when my good friend Tom Fruechtel suggested that the Forbes Trinchera ranch would be a good place for Brenda and I to go elk hunting – so, we booked a hunt there that fall. Then,...

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Brenda with her red stag, and a nice pose.

Red Stag for Two in Argentina - #184

Brenda and I had been to Argentina several times with the family, to shoot doves; but then the idea of a two-mission trip came up; red stag on the front end and doves on the back end. We packed our rifles and shotguns...

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Remington 1900 12 gauge side by side with Damascus barrels.  This gun was int...

Damascus Barrels - Rumors & Facts - #183

A man doesn’t have many chances to help establish facts that can possibly destroy long-held rumors; but I’ve had one such chance. The opportunity came when reading the Winter 1999 issue of The Double Gun Journal.

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The backpacks are one-time use only; the trackers empty them into the back of...

The Bush Backpack - #182

Backpacks are standard equipment for hunters and guides, in sheep and goat country, where the horse or truck is often hours from the kill site. Good backpacks are well-designed, well-constructed with quality materials...

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The Forest Sitatunga lives in the rain forests of central Africa.  It is a ve...

Sitatunga in the Water - #181

During the first days of the safari, we concentrated successfully on bongo and buffalo; by the seventh day, we’d hunted sitatunga three different ways. The first two were boring; but the third, although much more diff...

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The PHs say this is an extra big Dwarf Forest Buffalo – top ten in SCI books....

Buffalo at the Muzzle - #180

This story starts with The Nearly Perfect Safari Rifle, we built back in 2011; I've used it exclusively in Africa since. But, this was the first time Brenda and I had hunted in the rain forest, where humidity is very ...

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Larry with his 'first day' bongo, from deep in the Cameroon jungle. His rifle...

Bongo from the Jungle - #179

Cameroon is a small country on the west coast of Africa; it sits slightly above the equator and shares borders with six countries – Nigeria, Central African Republic and the Congo being the most well-known. Advanced s...

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A Bearded Hen is an unusual trophy; finding an arrowhead and mushrooms the sa...

The Defective Trifecta - #178

If you didn't already know, a Missouri Spring Trifecta is shooting a turkey and finding an arrowhead and a mushroom the same day. A 'defective trifecta' is something that isn't quite right — like shooting a bearded he...

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A big eastern gobbler, especially in strut, is a sight to behold. Harvesting ...

The Spoils of Spring - #177

Spring is a special time of year, because there are so many exciting things to do that are only possible - or at their very best - in the springtime; and some really are "spoils of the spring". My vote for the #1 spoi...

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Derek Aucoin, is pouring the catch from this trap (probably about a pound) on...

Running the Crawfish Traps - #176

Two of our Air Force friends, Michael Gaudet and Lloyd Smith, introduced Brenda and I to boiled crawfish, while stationed at Blytheville AFB, Arkansas in the early 1970's. Quite a treat for Missouri kids; we were fami...

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Grandson Jay is on the left and granddaughter Eliza and her mother Sara on th...

Black, Blue and Green all over - #175

Downhill skiing is a lot like running a business, from the moment you start planning the trip there are risks, and once on the slopes, you must constantly pay attention and make decisions. The risks can be as simple a...

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One small part of The Nitro Express logistics system is this spiral conveyor,...

The History of MidwayUSA - Part 5 - #174

This part of our history starts after our first Baldrige Award in 2009 and ends with the monumental elections in the fall of 2016 – the end of our 40th year in business. We began with the acquisition of the last avail...

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This 50,000 sq. ft. building addition went up in 1994, following a 20,000 sq....

The History of MidwayUSA - Part 4 - #173

This 20-year period of our history began as we moved into a new building/location, on Van Horn Tavern Road, in January 1989; it was truly a new beginning. The building was modern, steel frame, construction with 10,000...

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This drawing shows the nearest village in Germany, from which the Battenfeld ...

Potterfield - What's in a name? - #172

There are many stories about how family names changed, a little or a lot, as immigrants came into this country from Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries; the Potterfield name is one of those stories.

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This small metal tap is driven into a drilled hole, then the hanger and bag a...

Sugar Camp - #171

The French word déjà vu is used when we revisit something we've seen or done before; such was the case with this year's Sugar Camp. My first experience was back in the 1950s. There was a grove of maple trees just sout...

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The big rocks were quarried from large boulders; the smaller ones were simply...

Walk Among the Ruins - #170

History has always been fascinating to me and I've enjoyed studying it informally all of my life. From a very broad perspective, history seems to be mostly about geography, civilizations, building projects, wars — and...

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Weighing just 5 pounds and 15 ounces, it carries like a 20 gauge, but shoots ...

The Ultimate Walk-up Gun - #169

'Walk-up' shooting is a British term. It means walking the fields with a gun, looking for birds. The British also shoot 'driven-birds' — where the shooters stand in fixed locations and fire at the birds as they're dri...

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Reloading and shooting often go together; but they’re separate hobbies — relo...

My Favorite Part of Reloading - #168

Reloading and shooting often go together; but they’re separate hobbies — reloading requires less cash than factory ammunition, which allows for more shooting. Someone once said that when an old shooter/reloader dies, ...

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Son Russell, with his first bull elephant; a nice trophy. Hunting elephant is...

Nothing Goes to Waste in Africa - #167

It was a big surprise when the Ford tractor came rolling down the dirt road and drove right up to the dead elephant. The tractor was pulling a large flat-bed farm wagon, completely loaded with people from the local vi...

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Eight quail is the daily limit in Kansas, but let me make it clear that I did...

Bobwhites in the Sand Hills - #166

They call this area The Sand Hills, because of the high percentage of sand. It’s slightly to more seriously rolling, depending on how much sand was blown in during the Ice Age. Many of the fields are enrolled in CRP (...

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A 410 side by side is not my first choice for most pheasant hunting, but when...

Cold Weather Pheasants - #165

In three days of pheasant hunting, I never heard a single bird flush. No mistake, there were lots of flushes, but a 15-25 mile per hour wind whistling past my ears and rustling through the grass and weeds made it impo...

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Possibly a unique picture; three generations of lady deer hunters present the...

Three Generations of Lady Deer Hunters - #164

It’s hard to say where it all got started; our family bought this farm in 1985; but there weren’t many bucks like this back then. Over time we were able to add additional acres to the farm, and seriously improve the w...

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Nice heavy ten pointer, with both third tines (G-3s) being split.  Gross scor...

The Big Ten Pointer - #163

It’s always a surprise to me, when I actually shoot a whitetail deer in Missouri. You see, I’m a fairly particular hunter – here at home. He has to have big and heavy antlers, with eight or ten points. Yes, I’ll shoot...

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A decent, last day, 4x4 Mule Deer, with a kicker; a trophy we worked very har...

Bad Luck and Good Luck with Mule Deer - #162

There are many variables that can come into play on a hunting trip; they’re called variables because they’re unpredictable and uncontrollable. Hunters call this luck; when the variables go our way it’s called good luc...

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Twelve years old and driving a car for the first time —grandpa’s pickup on th...

Second Letter to Benjamin - #161

Dear Benjamin,Do you remember that I had to wake you up on Sunday morning when Mr. Big came in, during this year’s youth season; a couple minutes later you shot your first whitetail buck – a mainframe ten pointer with...

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My favorite Clays courses are simply a walk around the farm,  with shooting s...

My Favorite Shotgun for Sporting Clays - #160

It’s been my great fortune to have shot Sporting Clays with many different shotguns, since my first opportunity, back in the early 1990s. I’ve used pump guns, semi-autos, side-by-sides and over/unders. Often, just for...

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Don and I in front of the Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow, Wyoming, a few yea...

Fun with Ice Cream - #159

It was late afternoon when our six pickup convoy pulled into Hardee's, on the north edge of Laramie; this was standard procedure for the last day of our annual prairie dog hunts. We would stop shooting about 3:00 and ...

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These sockeye salmon are well past their prime and from a fisherman’s perspec...

Fishing at Tikchik Narrows - #158

Tikchik Lake is about 70 air miles north of Dillingham, Alaska - which is 300 air miles or so southwest of Anchorage. The lake is the source of the Nushagak River, which flows east, then south into the Bristol Bay are...

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End of the hunt; Brenda with the skulls and horns of her greater and lesser k...

A Double on Kudu - #157

One of the most beautiful of all the African game animals is the kudu; the large, dark spiral horns with polished ivory-colored tips, the vertical white on brown stripes and the flush of pink inside the ears make for ...

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The Rare Bear; in 18 years, this was the first black bear shot in this huntin...

A Rare Bear - #156

As far as natural range goes, there may be no trophy in North America with a range greater than the black bear. It extends from Washington State to Maine, from Florida to Alaska - mostly the mountainous areas. Of cour...

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This is a serious moose, 67" wide, big palms and fronts — and lots of points;...

We Slept with the Moose - #155

Trophy moose hunting, on horseback in the mountains, is truly an adventure sport! Unlike shooting the first nice bull you see, when trophy hunting you're looking for 'Mr. Big' — and simply 'pass' on everything 'averag...

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Matt Fleming is on horseback, his guide Levi Letkeman is on foot and Logan Yo...

Eleven Hours on Horseback - #154

It doesn't make any difference what you're made of, you're going to be a 'whipped puppy' when you finish an 11-hour horseback ride in the Yukon mountains. The good news is that we were on horseback; our guides were wa...

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For most visitors, this big Brown Bear mount is the first thing they notice; ...

My Office - #153

Being “boss” of a family-owned company, a man can have just about anything in his office that his wife is supportive of. Having had this job of “boss” for nearly 40 years, there are lots of things that have found thei...

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This Westley Richards ‘Ovundu’ model features droplocks.  The right lock has ...

Sidelocks, Boxlocks & Droplocks - #152

One of the characteristics of my personality is that I want to know how things work. Well, not everything — how a washing machine or a dishwasher works is of little interest. But guns, well they’re my passion. I want ...

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Properly maintained and stored, a fly rod never wears out; so this is my firs...

My First Fly Rod - #151

Dad never owned a fly rod; for him catching fish was more about filling the frying pan rather than just having fun. However, from the many fishing stories he told, no one would ever think for a minute that he didn't e...

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This old Model 12 and I have chased many a turkey and shot more than I can re...

The Perfect Turkey Stalk - #150

Everything started routinely; there were turkeys gobbling to my left at 5:45 a.m. - across the creek. Unfortunately, they went the other way, gobbling occasionally. At 8:00 there was another gobble across the creek bu...

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The classic turkey pose, happy hunter with shotgun, behind a spread out fan.

A Pretty Routine Turkey Hunt - #149

"Cannon to right of them, / Cannon to left of them, / Cannon in front of them / Volley'd and thunder'd;" - Tennyson’s words, from The Charge of the Light Brigade, kept coming back to me as the turkeys hammered out the...

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All of us kids got together on moms 80th birthday, in 2003; she was still liv...

Mom - #148

Mom never went to high school; it was mostly for city kids back then. She grew up in the Missouri countryside, a long time before there were public school buses. The stock market crashed in 1929, when Mom was six year...

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The 'Lodge' at Newdale Duck Club; abandoned in 1977, this old farmhouse is wh...

The Newdale Duck Club - #147

"If you get all the way to Newdale, you've gone too far." Those were the words of my good friend and host John Baregi, as he provided instructions to get to the place we would be staying. "On the right side of the roa...

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This was the maiden voyage for this new pontoon boat, powered only by an elec...

New Boat for the Grandkids - #146

Grandkids are a pretty good excuse to buy a new boat; more room, more seats, more stability - at least that's how I sold myself on upgrading from the old jon boat to a new fangled pontoon model with a big platform, se...

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The epitome of “best guns” is a matched pair of Purdey side by sides, such as...

Best Guns - #145

The British refer to shotguns simply as guns. During the 19th century, London’s top gunmakers began using the term “best” to indicate that their guns were made to the highest standards of design, materials and craftsm...

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The last of the old shotguns was the Winchester Model 21 introduced in 1931. ...

Old Shotguns - #144

It was an intense amount of labor, but truly a labor of love to be able to study and generally understand America’s old double barreled shotguns – the side-by-sides made in the United States from the 1860s till the 19...

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Rolled in flour, salt and pepper then into a frying pan  with vegetable oil; ...

Hunting the Bobwhite Quail - #143

My first recollection of quail hunting was with dad when I was big enough to tag along, but not old enough to carry my own gun. A favorite memory was when a big covey flushed, dad fired twice with his old 12 gauge ham...

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This old Parker has been around since 1885. It’s a 10 gauge, with 32" twist s...

Black Powder Pheasants - #142

The pheasant season for wild birds was long closed, but on established shooting preserves it often lingers through the end of March. It was December since I hunted in South Dakota, and there’s not much to do in Missou...

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This picture of me in the lounge and dining area was taken on one of those ra...

The Nearly-Perfect Safari Camp - #141

Most of our African safaris have been the 21 day variety, in the Selous Game Reserve of Tanzania. This has historically been one of the best places to hunt lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant on the same safari, as th...

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Larry, Bert Klineburger and Brenda, with nice pronghorn antelope.  Rifle is a...

The One Shot Antelope Hunt - #140

Lander, Wyoming lies pretty much in the middle of the state, on the road from Rawlings — on Interstate 80 — to the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Thousands of vacationers drive through Lander each year, ...

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Homestead Road, coming down off Buttermilk Mountain

Never Say Never - #139

My first invitation to snow ski came while stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, just outside the Black Hills of South Dakota – in the 1974-1976 timeframe. There were a couple of ski mountains there, but I flat out s...

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This old Parker Single Barrel Trap Gun breaks clay pigeons as well today as w...

How Many Shotguns Does One Man Need? - #138

Once in a while this comes up as a serious question; and of course a serious question deserves a serious answer. To put things in perspective, remember that I’m a hunter, a shooter and a gun collector; I like guns and...

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The original Friends of NRA logo.

Friends of NRA - #137

At the 1992 NRA Annual Meetings in Salt Lake City, Wayne Sheets (NRA Director of Planning and Development) and I were discussing the success of the new NRA Round-Up program that Midway had started in January. I offere...

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The 2015 ceremonial check presentation,  Chris Cox Executive Director of NRA-...

NRA Round-Up - #136

The idea came up in the summer of 1991. We’d been computerized for over four years and doing our own programming, so this was something we knew we could — and should do. The name we chose was NRA Round-Up. The idea wa...

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The Christmas Day Buck

The Christmas Day Buck - #135

The weather was decent, 40 degrees or so and overcast – but no rain. Christmas festivities would be wrapping up after a late lunch, so it seemed like a good time to go deer hunting.

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The Redneck stand is a comfortable place to spend all morning, all afternoon ...

The Redneck Diaries - #134

Part of my personality is to always tell a story, as accurately as possible. It always bothers me when I can’t remember a detail and have to say ‘about’ or ‘approximately’, rather than to provide real data. No one who...

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Brenda’s prize largemouth from the afternoon – 21 inches.

Fishing With Brenda - #133

On this particular Sunday afternoon I was feeling a little guilty, after having caught some nice bass earlier in the week; so, I decided to ask Brenda if she wanted to go fishing. She did! We put in at a 10 acre water...

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Two stories, two bedrooms and a full bath;  it’s very comfortable when the wh...

Dogwood Lake & Cabin - #132

There’s something special about a cabin, on a lake, deep in the woods. It’s the joy you feel each time you see it; the satisfaction of a fire in the fireplace or outside in the fire pit; the relaxed feeling when sitti...

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It was a beautiful November day and you have a memory that will last a lifetime.

Letter to Benjamin - #131

Dear Benjamin,For generations, fathers and grandfathers have been guiding young men like yourself on their first deer hunt; it was my honor and pleasure to be with you when you harvested your first doe, during the ope...

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My first of two caribou taken on this hunt.  You can see the ‘barren ground’,...

The Great Caribou Hunt - #130

The adventure began as our hunting party of thirteen flew in from around the country to our jumping off point, Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories, Canada. We boarded a float plane the following day and ...

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This is my official commissioning photo from July 1974.

My Air Force Years - Officer Time - #129

The ending of one adventure often means the start of another; such was certainly the case with my Air Force years. On 19 July 1974, at Blytheville AFB, AR, Brenda removed the sergeant stripes from my dress shirts and ...

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At the end of day one, they neatly displayed the day's shoot of red-legged pa...

The Driven Bird Shoot - #128

Grouse, partridge and pheasant have been the primary game of driven bird shoots in Europe and the United Kingdom, since the 1850’s. The later invention of shotgun shells and break-open shotguns likely contributed to i...

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By the time we got him dragged out of the cedars and into position for pictur...

Late Season Mule Deer - #127

The things I remember most about this hunt were that it was cold, there was snow on the ground and we didn’t see many deer. Mostly we drove around in pickups, stopping now and then to glass out the windows; but on occ...

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Everyone calls it the Early Goose Season; this year it started on October 3 a...

Early Season Goose Hunt - #126

Everyone calls it the Early Goose Season; this year it started on October 3 and ended October 11, running 30 minutes before sunrise till sunset. It’s sort of a ‘pre-season’ opportunity to shoot the local birds, before...

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We kept 25 fish in total, 16 crappie and nine bluegill.  (Photo by Greg Kreut...

Trolling for Crappie - #125

September is not normally a month that I give much thought to fishing. Dove season opens on the first, the weather begins to cool down and fall officially arrives during the third week of the month. The ducks and gees...

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This is an end of the hunt picture from our last base camp.  From L-R, myself...

A Great Sheep Hunting Adventure - #124

All three of us knew that this scheduled eleven day hunt in the mountains would be challenging – and myself especially, as this was my second trip to the area and I have a few years on the others. Every hunt is differ...

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Fishing in Alaska's Bear Country

Fishing in Alaska's Bear Country - #123

There are lots of fish in Alaska, mostly rainbow trout and the five species of salmon. It’s been my great fortune to spend some time up there, fishing the creeks and rivers and those parts of the lakes where the river...

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Shore lunch isn’t just a picnic lunch; in this case it includes two fresh rai...

Shore Lunch with a Bald Eagle - #121

As we left the breakfast area that morning and headed back to the cabin to gear up for the day of fishing, our pilot/guide Billie Labonte asked the question: “Larry, do you and Brenda want shore lunch today?” Jokingly...

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In six and one half hours, over three mornings and covering about two miles o...

Walking Two Miles of Creek - #120

There’s an interesting creek I like to walk a couple of times a year, looking for arrowheads - if my schedule allows. This is normally a few days after a heavy rain washes the leaves away, reshapes the gravel bars and...

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Every morning we flew to a new fishing spot; that’s the reason it’s called a ...

The Fly-Out Fishing Lodge - #119

You could call it a “fly-in, fly-out” fishing lodge, because before we could fly-out to fish, we had to fly-in. From our “jumping-off point” in Smithers, we flew for an hour or so in a chartered de Havilland Beaver fl...

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Larry Potterfield holding a King salmon in each hand.

A Great Day on King Salmon Creek - #118

Seems like everyone has a fishing story to tell, or at least they should. The biggest fishing story ever told must have been Ernest Hemingway’s "The Old Man and the Sea" (1952) or Herman Melville’s "Moby Dick" (1851);...

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This view of the lounge area hasn’t changed much through the years and it’s a...

Bear Lake Lodge - #117

Of all the places I’ve had the opportunity to visit, this one stands out as one worth going back to. It’s remote and rustic, but very comfortable; and never seems to change. The food is excellent and the views can be ...

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Finished product – the first of 20 sets of MidwayUSA Values, carved in stone.

Operation Concrete Values - #116

It all began in the fall of 2006, as we started aligning the operations at MidwayUSA with the leadership and management principles from the Baldrige National Quality Award – in preparation for our 2009 Baldrige applic...

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An afternoon’s shoot of doves and pigeons.  There is no limit on either.

Bird Fest in Argentina - #115

My typical trip to Argentina has been three days of dove shooting. A couple of times I’ve also shot perdiz or ducks -- and pigeons, one time. Adding ducks, perdiz or pigeons often requires one or more changes of locat...

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It’s hard to think about dad, without thinking about mom; she was always ther...

Dad - #114

When WWII broke out, Dad was 31, probably still living at home, and still single. They called him up for a physical, but he was recovering from a broken leg, so they sent him home. It was Uncle Sam’s loss, he would ha...

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The University of Missouri – Columbia is a big school, and I remember being a...

The Accountant - #113

At 18, frankly I wasn’t prepared or qualified to make my first two college decisions – where to go and what to study. In high school I’d taken all the math and science courses, plus typing and business law; but it was...

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One of the fatigue shirts they issued to me in September, 1971.  The Strategi...

My Air Force Years - Enlisted Time - #112

The adventure started in December of ’69, when the Selective Service folks announced my draft number (#121) on national television. I was a junior in college, with a student deferment, so wouldn’t be called up till th...

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This twelve year old Stone sheep had very dark hair. Brenda also shot a nice ...

Spatsizi The Place of the Hunt - #111

A few hunting places stick in my mind more so than others — perhaps because there’s something special and unique about them; and I find myself telling the same stories time and again — not just about the hunt, but als...

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Gloved hands respectfully fold and handle the flag.  (U.S. Air Force photo by...

The Honor Guard - #110

We were called the ‘honor guard’; it was an additional duty assigned by the base commander, and I served on it for a few months during my enlisted time. Apparently every Air Force Base in the country had one – each co...

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Paul Fortino, with his turkey.  That’s my backup Model 12 turkey gun.

Turkey Shooting - Me and Paul - #109

This was a fairly routine turkey hunt, until the shooting started. My dear friend Paul had come from Portland, Oregon to hunt turkeys. Having known him for many years, I volunteered to be his guide and even loan him a...

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This is the classic turkey picture – hunter behind the bird, with tail feathe...

Running Toms - #108

The classic turkey hunt has the hunter locating a roosting gobbler and getting close -- well before light; then calling him down into an open field or woods. The turkey struts and gobbles (as if for the camera) and sl...

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The real trophy is the mature tom turkey.  That’s my back-up Winchester Model...

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble! - #107

There are probably a couple of dozen reasons that I go turkey hunting each spring. It’s hard to say which is most important, some likely more than others, but they’re all special to me. Most are very reliable, like fi...

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Norman Wells, in the Northwest Territories of Canada, was the jumping-off poi...

The Jumping-Off Points - #106

Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Smithers and Norman Wells; these, and a handful of others, are small but important communities in northwest Canada that are the ‘jumping-off points’ for hunting and fishing trips to the Canadi...

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Browning Superposed, Diana Grade 410, with a few doves.

My Favorite Shotgun for Dove Hunting - #105

When it comes to dove hunting, I don’t have a single favorite shotgun in my gun collection; but please don’t feel sorry for me – I have many favorites. Here in Missouri, dove season begins on September 1; I’m almost a...

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Brenda and Jim with what Jim called the ‘pretty moose’.

Moose Hunting - A Change of Luck - #104

Every hunting trip begins with a plan; but often that plan changes – depending on the luck. I wasn’t on this hunt, so it’s Brenda and Sara’s story – as told to me. They were following in the footsteps that Russell and...

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Not a lot of mane, but a very big and old lion.

Lion with a 416 - #103

We were driving down the middle of a big ‘sand river’, looking for sign, about mid-way through a 21 day safari. Lion was on the top of the list, but we hadn’t seen any evidence of lion on the dirt roads running throug...

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Chamois look like antelope, but apparently are also related to goats. We’re s...

Chamois & Tahr in New Zealand - #102

Did anyone explain how we hunt chamois and tahr down here? Frankly, the question seemed unusual. We had hunted for a few days on the North Island and were now on the South Island looking specifically for these animals...

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These were both very heavy-bodied deer and Russell was kind enough to gut bot...

A Buck & Doe Pair - #101

Once in a while it makes sense to mount some type of a drive when hunting whitetail deer in Missouri, especially if they aren’t moving much and you have all the right conditions – safety being the most important! Ofte...

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Moose hunting in the Yukon – 2014; L-R Sam Mahood (guide), myself, Matt Flemi...

Horseback Hunting in the Mountains - #100

Many of my most enjoyable hunting trips have been on horseback in the mountains of Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories of Canada. On every hunt, it was a long trip to the jumping-off points a...

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Dad and son; antlers still in velvet.

Russell's Yukon Moose - #99

As moose hunts go, this one started routinely – get packed and sighted in, fly up to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories, take a bush plane to a small lake in the middle of the Canadian Rockies; then hunt for a few days.

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A pair of English shotguns should be the gold standard for trigger pulls.  Th...

Some Things I've Learned About Shotguns - #98

As a shooter, a hunter and a gun collector, it’s been my great fortune and pleasure to study and shoot an example of pretty much every popular shotgun made during the last 150 years – at both targets and birds. From t...

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For a kid growing up, or an adult like myself (who never grew up), rabbit hun...

My Favorite Single Shot .22 Rifle - #97

There’s nothing in my childhood memories about shooting or hunting with a single shot .22 rifle. Dad had an old worn-out falling block .22, of some sort - that he used for killing hogs, when we butchered; but I don’t ...

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Graduation day for eight Employees; instructors Ryan Fischer on the left and ...

The Winchester Model 67 Project - #96

In 2002, we developed a stock finishing kit, a reblueing kit and a stock checkering kit – using mostly Winchester Model 67 .22 rifles for the various experiments. Gunsmithing classes for a few Employees were a logical...

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L-R Jerod Smothers, Dennis Holdmeier and I, with a few of the morning’s rabbi...

My Favorite Shotgun for Rabbit Hunting - #95

Rabbit hunting is something I never give much thought to, until after the first of the year. For me, it’s just a matter of priorities; you see, deer season and the holidays take up most of my spare time as the year wi...

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A couple of Merriam Turkeys, whose ancestors were imported from the United St...

Turkey Hunting in New Zealand - #94

First, let me say that Brenda and I didn’t travel all the way to New Zealand to hunt turkeys; we were there for chamois and tahr – mountain antelope introduced to New Zealand in the early 20th century, from Europe and...

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My friend and college classmate Ralph Twellman (left) of Built-Rite Buildings...

The History of MidwayUSA - Part 3 - #93

It was an interesting year of transition – 1985, as we had just closed the gun shop. The phones rang, the mail came, we processed the orders and the little brown truck (UPS) took the packages away each day. It was a m...

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The bald-faced hornet nest.  Birds have begun to tear it apart, exposing the ...

Hornets, Wasps & Bees - Oh My! - #92

It was lunchtime in the African bush and three of us were sitting at a table under a shade tree. November is the dry season and often a curious honey bee will cruise around the lunch table looking for anything wet. We...

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For many years I’ve enjoyed deer hunting on the Nail Ranch, near Abilene, Tex...

My Favorite 30-30 Rifle - #91

It just seems right for a man to have a 30-30 lever action rifle and to find the time to use it, for its intended purpose. For me, that’s mostly whitetail deer and coyotes, with an occasional rattlesnake and some targ...

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He was just outside the thick brush.  A wounded bear, in this circumstance, c...

Let's Get Closer - #90

It all started at the beginning of the last leg of the stalk, when my guide asked how far I was comfortable shooting. My response was simply that 300 yards was about it; he said "Good, some guys claim they can shoot a...

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A Fiocchi Trainer round in the right barrel and Winchester AA  Super-Handicap...

My Backup Pheasant Gun - #89

If the word ‘backup’ means lesser value or importance, then it isn’t proper to call this gun a ‘backup’, because it’s very special to me. You see, a gentleman would always take two shotguns on a pheasant hunt, just in...

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Mom (Sara) with nine year old daughter Eliza and her first buck.

A November to Remember - #88

We named it ‘Grand Central Station’ back in 1985 -- ‘Grand Central’ for short -- when we first hunted there. In the fall the deer often move through this area all day long, as there are large tracts of woods on the ea...

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My dad Gilbert, in 1988, with his three remaining beehives.  This is a spring...

Dad was a Beekeeper - #87

Sometimes it’s the little things that stick in your mind; Dad was a beekeeper. It wasn’t a major part of his life, just a hobby really. The most colonies I ever remember him having was 25. But the bees were always the...

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Three generations of the Potterfield family gather around the campfire at mid...

Deer Camp - #86

Nothing quite excites or satisfies like the anticipation of opening morning of deer season; at best, the night before is restless. Sure the anticipation dulls a little with age, as dreams of the 30 point buck are repl...

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My guns were a matched pair of Purdeys, shown here with a brace of partridge.

The Driven Partridge Shoot - #85

A driven bird shoot had been on my wish list for years, but when the invitation came, I almost didn’t go. After looking at the price tag, my answer was “no”; but Brenda suggested that it would be a great opportunity f...

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Catalog cover picture of our daughter Sara, taken in 1995; pretty girl, prett...

Sunday go-to-meeting Shotgun - #84

With some degree of regularity, I receive invitations to participate in sporting clays events – mostly they’re fundraisers, and often for the Boy Scouts or local charities. Sporting clays originated in England and cam...

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I’m holding a U.S. Springfield Trapdoor, Saddle Ring Carbine in 45/70; you ca...

The History of MidwayUSA Part 2 - #83

It was an amazing 7-1/2 years from the day my brother Jerry and I opened the gun shop, Ely Arms, Inc., in 1977 till Brenda and I closed it just after Christmas in 1984 – to become mail order only, with a new name – Mi...

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This is about as small as they get.  Knowledgeable folks I know call this an ...

The Arrowhead Hunter - #82

Dad collected arrowheads and he had a cigar box full of his best ones. I don’t recall that he actually took the time to hunt for them, but likely walked upon them while hunting, fishing or running his trap line -- and...

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My friend, and co-worker, Matt Fleming is on the right.  This is the 'once in...

Once in a Lifetime Moose - #81

Matt and I were on a ten day moose hunt and asked the guides to keep us together the first few days; they were fine with this and just wanted to know who would shoot first. As Matt is a few years younger and had not s...

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First pass on the master lines is an early step in the checkering process.

How I Learned Gunsmithing - #80

Gunsmithing, at its most basic level, is simply the thoughtful use of hands, eyes and brain to disassemble and reassemble a firearm, and to shape and finish wood and metal parts – but how does one learn to do those th...

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This isn't the actual fish, because dad never got it in the boat; this one's ...

Dad's Hula Popper and the Big Bass - #79

Dad was a reasonably serious fisherman, from my perspective – mostly for food, not sport. In our area of Missouri many of the larger ponds and lakes were stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel cat. I have ...

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The top rifle is Russell's; it's a Winchester Model 67, Sara's below is a Rem...

First Rifles for the Kids - #78

On their respective fourth birthdays, each of our two children received his/her first rifle and got to shoot it. Now at four years of age, they didn’t get to keep these rifles in their rooms; we kept them in the vault...

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We used four and five weight rods – Russell’s is bamboo.

Rainbows on the Firesteel - #77

In the wild and remote areas of western Canada, they use the term ‘fly-out’ fishing; as the only way to get you to most of the best streams and lakes is to ‘fly-out’ from base camp – in a small plane, with floats atta...

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Winter 1947 picture of Dad with my older brother Marion, and a pretty good bu...

Dad's Guns - #76

Gilbert was his given name, but everyone called him Bert; and he was a pretty good hunter and trapper. For dad, a gun was simply a tool he needed to hunt for food or fur and to run his trap line. In my early years, he...

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Our first computer, an Apple III, back in 1982.

Computers - Holy Cow! - #75

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of computers in Midway’s early years; when we opened in 1977, our cash register was the most complicated piece of electronic equipment in the gun shop. It had depar...

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The ammunition companies have long offered  patches like this,  so shooters c...

One Hundred Straight - #74

The term ‘one hundred straight’ only has meaning to a clay pigeon shooter. It may have been coined in the late 19th or early 20th century when clay pigeons and trap shooting were just getting started. Or possibly it w...

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This was Brenda’s first gobbler.  These ruins are modern, not Mayan.

Guiding the Guides - #73

Brenda has a great passion for turkey hunting – far greater than mine -- and it was she that came up with the idea of hunting the Ocellated Turkey, that lives mostly down in the area of the Yucatan Peninsula of old Me...

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For a perspective, Brenda is about 70” tall.  This is a pretty nice set of mo...

Brenda's Monster Moose - #72

“He’s got big palms or paddles -- whichever you call them --, but he’s not very wide.” “There are lots of points on top, but they aren’t very long”. “Look at his front tines, it’s a shame he doesn’t have good palms”. ...

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This picture provides a good perspective; remember, I am 40 yards from the tr...

Jack and the Beanstalk - #71

Everyone knows the fairy tale about Jack and the Beanstalk; but, let me tell you that I have been there and actually seen and touched the beanstalk -- and no longer believe it to be a fairy tale. Jack didn’t actually ...

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Taking a break from skinning and quartering, I cooked up some fresh moose mea...

Fresh Moose Meat in the Bush - #70

The Alaska moose (a.k.a. Alaska-Yukon moose) is the largest big-game animal in North America; they’re also very interesting to hunt -- and as a bonus, they live in some of the most remote and beautiful places you will...

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My first elk – and an unforgettable experience!  The rifle is a Remington 700...

The Unorganized Elk Hunt - #69

It was the outfitter's first hunt; he had been a guide the prior year – and he had never hunted this ranch before. Also, he had booked far too many hunters and had to set up a second camp on another ranch - about 40 m...

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Old guns are almost always better with modern  ammunition.  Note that I check...

My Favorite Shotgun for Turkeys - #68

In my opinion, the most exciting thing about springtime in Missouri is turkey season; sure there are mushrooms to pick in the woods, fish to catch in the ponds and rivers, and arrowheads to find in the ditches -- but ...

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It all got started about 1935 when Smith & Wesson and Winchester introduced t...

357 Magnum Brass - #67

Important changes often come from small, unknown companies, rather than large and long established ones; such was certainly the case with the availability of bulk reloading components. It all started with unprimed car...

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Brenda with her first elk. She used a Remington 700 in 30-06.

Brenda's First Elk - #66

A friend from ATK/Blount said to me “Larry, if you ever want to take Brenda on a nice elk hunt, I can recommend a great place. They drive the logging roads in old Suburbans and have a wonderful lodge – and a gourmet c...

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The Possibles Bag and Powder Horn carry everything needed for shooting and cl...

The $500,000 Rifle - #65

Luck is often described as being in the right place at the right time, with the ‘special knowledge’ and ‘right tools’ to take advantage of a situation -- and an understanding of and willingness to take risk; certainly...

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Looking closely, you can see that the name Midway was painted over the origin...

The History of MidwayUSA Part 1 - #64

High noon, on the 18th of June was ‘opening day’; but it took a lot of planning and hard work to get there. The idea of a gun shop came during the spring of 1976; there was just a year left on my Air Force hitch, and ...

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The horns are about 45” in width, though the picture makes him look bigger.  ...

The Buffalo from Down Under - #63

The Northern Territories of Australia, mostly between Darwin and Alice Springs, is vast and remote – and the enormous ranches there are called “stations”. This area would be on some folk’s ‘bucket list’, because of th...

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The bushbuck gets his name because he hangs around the bush areas, rather tha...

First Safari in Africa - #62

It was a typical ‘first safari’, nine-days of plains game hunting with a standard package of trophy animals, and options for many others. But for me it certainly wasn’t typical, as I never fired a shot – however, that...

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Russell is a little over six feet tall, so this a pretty big croc.

The Croc that Wasn't Dead - #61

The dirt track ran generally along the side of the riverbed, through intermittent brush, and occasionally provided a great view of whatever pools were still holding water during the dry season. As the safari car came ...

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A pretty nice batch of silver salmon, taken during the 2009 fall bear season ...

My Favorite Fishing Hole - #60

Dad taught me to fish, back when I was just a kid; it was catfish, bass and bluegill - in the farm ponds and small creeks and rivers of northeast Missouri. Later on, older brother Marion introduced me to rainbow trout...

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We think of zebra as just black and white stripes; but study the stripes on t...

Zebra! - #59

White with black stripes or black with white stripes; that idea never crossed my mind when I lined up on his left shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The herd was in a small, burned area, with the male off to the right...

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This is an old bull, with a prime hide.  Yes, it was really cold!

Buffalo on the Great Plains - #58

A 650 grain lead slug, one half inch in diameter, moving across the prairie at about 1250 feet per second; what in the world would something like that be good for? Buffalo! At least that was the thought in 1872, the y...

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These morel mushrooms are the crème de la crème, and spring turkey season is ...

The Missouri Spring Trifecta - #57

It may be quite a stretch, for some folks, as the word “Trifecta” is applied to spring turkey hunting in Missouri – especially for those who know horse racing; but for any hunter who’s been fortunate enough to shoot a...

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I swapped the 375 H&H for my Winchester 1895 in the 405, as we walked up on t...

Leopard in the Sunshine - #56

There was a time, many years ago, when some people thought leopard were nearly extinct; but this was before they came to understand that it was only daylight sightings that were rare – you see, the leopard hunts at ni...

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This is a typical morning’s shoot – 1500 rounds.

The Great Argentina Dove Shoot - #55

There’s more to an Argentina dove shoot than pulling the trigger and seeing puffs of feathers – though that’s the best part. But answer this question: “If you take every shot in range, can you run the gun?” These Bene...

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A decent 10 point whitetail taken with a  Winchester 1873, made in 1892.

Whitetail with a Winchester 1873 - #54

It had to happen sooner or later – ‘the gun that won the west’ going with me on the Nail Ranch hunt in Texas. Finding a good Winchester Model 1873 saddle ring carbine (SRC) in 44-40 was the problem; it had to be all o...

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Larry in a prairie dog field with a S&W M-28.

How the Prairie Dog Changed My Life - #53

In August of 1971, during a short vacation between college and the Air Force, Brenda and I drove to Devils Tower National Monument, in northeast Wyoming; it was there that I first saw prairie dogs. You could call them...

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Larry at the Cabin, with Turkey and Model 12.

40 Yard Dash for a Turkey - #52

It took a while for me to decide to tell this story, because I was running with a loaded gun; so hopefully everyone understands that as an experienced hunter, and someone who has participated in shooting competitions ...

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An interesting animal and an equally interesting gun

Armadillo with a Thumb Trigger - #51

A couple of old .22 rifles were always on my pack list for the Nail Ranch hunt in early November. Between morning and afternoon hunts, we always had some time on our hands and shooting old .22 rifles at swinging metal...

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Russell donned a red beret to strike this ‘French professional hunter pose’.

Russell's Giant Hippo - #50

One of the trophies on Russell’s wish list was Lion, so we were always looking for lion tracks in the dirt roads as we drove around. On occasion a lion will be spotted from the safari car, but normally you find the tr...

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Bill Cauble is the real deal; his chuck wagon meals  and storytelling are leg...

The Cowboy Hunt at the Nail Ranch - #49

It was like a page from a western novel, if you leave out the part about how we traveled to Texas. Our camp was six ranch-road miles from the bunkhouse, in a pasture called Northeast Collins, on the historic Nail Ranc...

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This is the entire pool of water and not much to hide in; but if he were only...

Crocodile at Fifty Paces - #48

“Do you want to shoot a croc?” With that simple, unexpected, whispered question from my professional hunter, this story begins; you see, we were looking for a hippo to shoot for lion bait – and the thought of bumping ...

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Would this scare you?

Rattlesnake at Three Steps - #47

Prairie dog hunting in the Shirley Basin, north of Medicine Bow, Wyoming was one of my favorite past times in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, the more remote areas had seen little or no shooting pressure and were lots...

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My favorite handgun for prairie dogs is this S&W Model 28.

My Favorite Prairie Dog Battery - #46

How many guns does one man need to shoot prairie dogs? Well, at least three, one for up close, one for mid-range and one for way out there. Always experimenting, I settled on a three-gun battery that made the most sen...

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The Nambu Type 14 was the principle sidearm of Japanese troops in WWII.  This...

The 8mm Nambu Project - #45

George Spence was a locksmith at Blytheville AFB, Arkansas, when I arrived there – right out of basic training -- in November of 1971. A few months later there was a QA, in one of the gun magazines, on where to get am...

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It’s a simple monument, made up of things from the land.

Spread My Ashes in Africa - #44

At sunset we erected a simple monument, on the escarpment above camp, overlooking the Mbaragandu River; it was our tribute to Brigitte. We spread her ashes on the ground, covered them with sand; and added warthog tusk...

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Jeff Larkin (left), myself and Matt Fleming with their nice rams.  We left th...

We Spent the Night in the Mountains - #43

At 5:30 in the evening, the three rams abruptly filed down from the rim rock and began to graze on the high, rolling pasture. We had watched a band of nine rams the day before, but they were farther out and hadn’t yet...

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With a population of less than 300, some think of Medicine Bow as just a wide...

The Best Prairie Dog Shooting of My Life - #42

“Just take the two-track to the right, under the power lines, and follow it till you get to The Reservoir; there are lots of prairie dogs there.” Those were the words of the rancher, offering advice about the best pra...

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This is a large hippo, but they get even bigger.

The Hippo That Charged - #41

“Do you want to shoot a hippo?” The safari car had stopped, without apparent reason, and this question was put to me by the PH. “Where?” “There, sleeping in the water.” “What would we do with him?” “Use him for lion b...

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This is the ‘big’ Tulsa Gun Show.  I’m standing on the upper level (8 acres) ...

How Gun Shows Changed My Life - #40

A friend once introduced me as having a PhD in Gunology. Of course there is no such degree; but if there was, possibly I would be a candidate -- and one of the principle reasons is my having attended a great many gun ...

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Innocent enough from a distance, but ferocious if you get too close.

The Squirrel That Bit Me - #39

Dad liked to hunt squirrels and regularly we would have fresh squirrel meat for lunch or supper, when I was growing up. There was a story he told us once about how he had pulled a wounded squirrel from a hollow tree b...

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Brenda with the wildebeest; what an unusual picture!

The Dead Wildebeest That Stood Up - #38

The safari car was coming in for the evening, just at last light, when they spotted a lone wildebeest bull, standing broadside about 200 yards off to the right. As Brenda needed leopard bait, she and the PH bailed out...

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This was an early December safari, and it was so hot that we took off our shi...

Lunch in the African Bush - #37

In the larger hunting concessions of Tanzania, it’s pretty common to be 50 miles or more from base camp at lunchtime. The plan for the afternoon might be to continue on a particular dirt track or be someplace special ...

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We marked the heads of the turned brass shells just like the originals.

The Parker 11 Gauge Shotgun - #36

It was a very early Parker shotgun, with a three-digit serial number and in pretty nice condition - which was what got me interested in the first place. But, the clincher was the back-action locks, which feature a v-t...

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There is nothing much better than a favorite gun – except perhaps having more...

My Favorite Shotgun for Pheasants - #35

Guns have been an important part of my life, since I was old enough to shoot –guns to hunt with, guns to shoot, and also guns for collecting. Often I’m asked which gun is my favorite; but there’s no simple answer to t...

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This is a young male, without a mane, and still showing some spots.

Close Encounter with Lions - #34

It was Russell who was after a lion and we had hung baits in many places but hadn’t seen any lion tracks. Late in the safari, and a few days after the full moon, it was suggested that Russell and his PH might walk in ...

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The bungee cord is carefully secured to both legs.

Like Father Like Son - Not! - #33

We had just finished a wonderful fourteen day hunting safari in northern Zimbabwe and had allowed a couple of extra days at the end to visit Victoria Falls and the nearby town of the same name – just being tourist.

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The sun is bright and my PH and I are standing in the shade enjoying our morn...

Coffee Break in the African Bush - #32

One of the greatest pleasures of an African Safari, for me at least, is the morning coffee break – it’s definitely one of the underrated joys of a Safari, and I highly recommend it to everyone. There’s no set time or ...

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Here I am standing on one of the levees with a minnow pond in the background.

Snake Shooting with a 1911 - #31

A lot of things had to line up perfectly to make this story possible– #1, Lonoke County, just east of Little Rock, Arkansas, was the home of the Remington ammunition plant. #2, Remington was producing a new 45 acp sho...

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It doesn’t get much better than this – a huge leopard and a happy hunter.

Brenda's Monster Leopard - #30

Any male leopard is a great trophy; but sometimes, in far away and remote places, you find a real monster. We were hunting in Maasailand, in northern Tanzania, just below the border with Kenya. The principle vegetatio...

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A cape buffalo is one of the great trophies of Africa and you will never forg...

My First Cape Buffalo - #29

Your first cape buffalo will dance around in your mind for the rest of your life, not necessarily because of the size of the trophy, but rather because of the circumstances of the hunt - no matter how routine. We were...

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It feels, functions and shoots as good as it looks.

The Nearly-Perfect Safari Rifle - #28

There’s no such thing as ‘perfect’, so ‘nearly-perfect’ is about as good as a man can hope for. On safari one year, I got to thinking about what a rifle would have to be to make me really happy – well, it would have t...

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Russell and his PH congratulate each other over the difficult but successful ...

Buffalo on the Mountain - #27

As our plane circled to get downwind of the runway, we could see small herds of buffalo on the hills and in the valleys below. This was a seven day hunt in rough country and son Russell, amazed at seeing all the small...

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When deciding to shoot the coyote, it never occurred to me that the buck woul...

Deer & Coyote a Texas Pair - #25

The Nail Ranch has lots and lots of whitetail deer – and a fair number of coyotes. In my many hunts there I have almost always got my buck and sometimes shot a doe or two for herd management; and every trip or two I g...

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What a great confidence builder for an 11 year old girl to shoot such a nice ...

Sara's First Buck - #24

Hunting with an eleven year old daughter is an interesting experience. By that age she could sit quietly and pay attention for reasonable periods of time, so it was my job to present her with a deer that would stand s...

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A hunt is even more memorable when Brenda and I both shoot trophies – at the ...

Goats for Two - #22

It was Brenda, who wanted to shoot a goat; so when we landed in spike camp the guide immediately said “Brenda, I have found your goat!” The spotting scope was set up, and about two miles up the valley on the right was...

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The sides are sheer.  Roots and fallen trees offer the only way to gain acces...

A Million Years of Erosion - #21

Intrigued; that’s probably the best word to describe my thinking, when this small pedestal came into view. Our safari car had been climbing steadily for twenty minutes and we were approaching the escarpment that defin...

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This is a giant specimen, approximately 48 feet in circumference and 16 feet ...

To Climb a Baobab Tree - #19

It had been a long and successful safari; we had collected most of the desired trophies and were driving around on the dirt roads enjoying the last few days in the bush without a pressing agenda to collect more.

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Who, me?  Certainly no one thinks I lit this fire!

The Burning of Africa - #18

If you like to set fires and burn things up, you’re called a pyromaniac – except perhaps in Africa. There, if you burn your thumb flicking matches off the striker strip of a match box and set fire to thousands of acre...

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Home in the wilderness, a typical mountain spike camp.  The sheep were on the...

Down off the Mountain at Midnight - #17

Sheep shooting can be an evening activity, especially early in the season, when the days are quite long. Brenda and I were hunting Stone Sheep on the Spatsizi plateau, way up in the northwest part of British Columbia....

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One of our trackers holds a small part of the prize; a wax honeycomb full of ...

Robbing a Honey Tree - #16

We discovered the bee hive quite by accident, while putting the stalk on a zebra in the bed of a dry sand river. This dead tree was serving as our cover when we noticed the bees buzzing over our heads – coming and goi...

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The vultures – on the ground and landing.  The noise was unbelievable.

The Vultures of Africa - After the Kill - #15

In my experience, vultures are one of the unchanging features of an ever-changing Africa. They cruise around effortlessly in the air currents, all day long, looking for something to eat – generally what’s left of an a...

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Fresh elephant cooked over an open fire is pretty special.

Fresh Elephant Heart for Lunch - #14

It was a short track, mid-morning, on the third day of the safari. We were walking at a pretty good clip and came into an opening in the bush to discover the elephant standing about fifty yards to our right; facing us...

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Here’s the leopard hunting crew.  I don’t  deserve much of the credit for thi...

A Wounded Leopard - Serious Problem - #13

There is nothing in Africa quite as dreaded as a wounded Buffalo, Lion or Leopard. Nearly all of the recorded incidents of maulings or death to clients and professional hunters are attributed to following up on these ...

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His horns are quite broken up, but he offered a shot I couldn’t refuse.

Bull Elk at 10 Steps - #12

Some people say that elk hunting is like spring turkey hunting in Missouri – make a sound like a female; the male responds, comes to the call and you shoot him – simple as that. From personal experience I can confirm ...

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