Friday, January 6, 2012

Menace to society

This post is many parts; the lesser of the post being the first, which is that coyotes in King George's county, Virginia are now in an almost continuous open season, and hopefully this will extend to other surrounding counties, as my county is starting to see their population increase. I take issue with some parts of this ordnance, the main one being that if you use a rifle, it has to be larger than .22 caliber. I'd love to see some evidence of how this regulation was established, and would enjoy seeing some bureaucrat publicly defend it. It's asinine. If you frequent predator forums, you'd be hard pressed to miss that hunters note the faster calibers being the ones that put coyotes down quickly, and thus "ethically" like the DGIF official wants. The gist of it is hunters have had well hit coyotes run off after being hit with larger calibers with less velocity, and anchored them well with the same hits with zippy small caliber rifles. Call it what you want, but there's definitely a trend. My guess is that this regulation is put here now to make sure that icky AR rifles don't end up being the killing tool for coyote hunters.

I'm going to go off on a tangent for a minute: this caliber restriction applies to whitetail deer hunting as well, and I've never seen any scientific evidence or studies that show that .22 caliber bullets are less effective than anything larger. The .223 Remington cartridge is a premier deer round in states where it's lawful, but general public ignorance and baseless ordinances have led them to be demonized. I've argued this with people for years, and none of them can offer anything other than "it's not powerful enough." Do you have proof of that claim, because I've seen evidence that says otherwise.

Interestingly enough, many hunters that I've known throughout the years who subscribe to this bullshit tote a magnum caliber rifle that they can't shoot because they flinch with it on every shot, and believe it has more "knockdown power" because it's so biiiiiiiiiiiig. I've tracked a ton of hit deer for them, too, some of them where the hunter felt confident to shoot a 180 lb running doe square in the ass because their cartridge case has a belt, and that bullet will definitely make it to the vitals, sure. "IT'S A GREAT BRUSH GUN!!!!" - my personal favorite. To be blunt, I've tracked more dog-sized Virginia deer hit with a magnum than I can count, but never had to track one hit with a .22 Hornet, .22 Magnum, or .220 Swift. I don't account this fact to the caliber, but to the fact that the trigger man did his job and hit them properly, and did not rely on 30 extra grains of powder, 2 more millimeters, and piss poor shooting to get the job done. Just to ensure that this dead horse is adequately beaten, if you claim that to use a .223 Remington or other similar caliber cartridge on deer, you have to "hit them just right," you are implying that using a larger cartridge means that you don't have to hit them just right. Get it?

Good. Moving on.

The "no hunting on Sundays" is an archaic regulation that needs to be repealed. I don't know where it comes from, but to my knowledge folks believe that God will be angry with them if they're in their treestand on Sunday vice raking leaves or fixing the sink. The Lord didn't smite David for eating the showbread, and I don't think He will condemn Elmer Fudd for sending a ballistic tip through Wile E's guts. If you believe otherwise, then I invite you on a witch hunting journey with me in Salem. It'll be swell! My county this year has had a continuous doe-day this hunting season in a vain effort to control the population, and if they let hunters hunt one more day out of the week, a balance in the herd might be struck. The insurance companies would surely be happy with this concept, as they wouldn't have to shell out millions every year because of all the deer hit by vehicles.

Next up on my list of shit I don't like is this:


King George doesn’t allow the use of high-powered rifles during hunting season. Bullets fired by more powerful weapons travel farther, and that can be dangerous in areas with dense populations or flat terrain, which is the case in King George.Caroline County has the same restriction.
Now, this DOES NOT apply to shooting coyotes in the county -- it's for deer hunters -- but going off on a tangent again (I can do that, you know) I note that this is an asinine regulation, and it's one that plagues many counties around mine. Whoever came up with this should be kicked in the balls. The concept is that rifles are dangerous because the bullet has the potential to go further, so some counties only allow hunting with shotguns and muzzleloaders. The problem with that is that that concept is baseless:


Of Pennsylvania’s approximate 900 miles of border with other states, it was found that the centerfire rifle was unlawful along the entire boundary with the exception of western Maryland. They found that in no case was any state able to provide definitive information upon which they based their decision. In fact, most reported that they simply responded to the public perception that shotguns were less dangerous than centerfire rifles. At that time, PGC staff found there was no data to support the contention that shotguns and muzzleloaders are any less risky than centerfire rifles. They found, instead, that in the “shotgun-only” states this appears to be “an issue driven by emotion and politics rather than sound scientific data.”2

You mean to tell me that laws and regulations subjected on Pennsylvanians was born out of politics and emotion instead of facts? Weird. Don't quote me, but I think this sort of shenanigans has happened elsewhere in the country.

Anyhow, the conclusion from the linked study from Pennsylvania is that shotguns are "more risky" when fired from the ground at a zero degree angle, and Paw Paws 30.06 is "more risky" when fired at an angle, such as from a treestand -- but the risk factor in the study is based on the "danger zone" after the projectile has ricocheted, which is based entirely on the distance that it travels. My point is that who cares if the round ricochets one mile or ten: it's one bullet, and it's dangerous no matter how far it goes before it lands. It would be different if the bullet rained death down on everything below it during its brief flight, whereas the further and longer it flies, the more harm is done. That's not the case though; what we're talking about here is if a hunter fires a rifle at a deer, and the bullet skips off a rock and heads out of the pasture, that if it strikes Timmy in his back yard a thousand yards away it's "more safe" than if the round came down and struck grandma in the next county. Sorry, but that dog don't hunt.

According to the PA study, the criteria for the "danger zone" came from studies done by the US military on the ricochet distance for small arms for military ranges. So yeah, a two mile danger zone behind Edson Range is a good idea because thousands of Marine recruits fire millions of rounds there, and all those rounds will fall in a predictable area. Finding out how big that area is and making sure some developer doesn't build a Kroger there is in the public's interest. How this somehow applies to Elmer and his carbine is anyone's guess; I just don't see how a shotgun slug bounding half a mile is less dangerous than a .30 caliber Accubond skipping two miles. The telling part to me is the chart on page 26, where it shows that the probability of a rifle round ricocheting when fired at a 10 degree down angle is 38%, and the probability of a .50 round from a muzzloader or a shotgun slug ricocheting from the same angle is 91%; what I get from this is that there's less chance of an errant projectile to begin with if I stick with a rifle, damn the distance it flies. Go ahead and look that chart over real well. See how much more probable a ricochet is when you don't use a rifle?

It seems to me that we have the dumbest possible people struggling to make public policy, which I guess is better than letting them figure it out on their own using common sense, or worse, emotion.
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