A New Girl’s Guide to Shotguns

(First published here)

M. Ashley Evans

Shotguns can be used for a large variety of purposes. They make excellent home defense weapons, are frequently used in police and military applications, and are great for competition and hunting.

Shot Gun Specifics

A shotgun is a lovely tool that can serve its purpose well. It can be used for home defense as well as hunting and competition shooting.  A shotgun fires a type of cartridge called a shell. Inside the shell are projectile(s) (aka shot or a single slug), the wad, and a shot cup that holds the projectile(s) until they reach the end of the barrel. Inside the cartridge is also gunpowder and primer. The primer ignites the gunpowder and the energy expels the pellets from the barrel.

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The energy is divided amongst the individual pellets, which means each pellet is relatively low in energy. This makes it ideal for hunting small game. Also, this makes it great for defense – lower the energy means a wider spread of the pellets. So when an intruder is breaking into your home and is posing a threat against you and your family – the wider area of spread can be very helpful when your adrenaline is high and your hands are shaky.  (But even then – aim small, miss small!)

When the trigger is pulled, the firing pin hits the primer. This causes a very controlled explosion. This explosion ignites the powder inside the shell. The gases released fill up the chamber at thousands of pounds per square inch. This pushes out the shot cup, wad and pellet(s) out the barrel.

Buckshot is a type of shotgun ammunition that even a great many non-hunters have heard of. But let me tell you, it ain’t for everything. There are a wide variety of ammunition calibers and then numerous subcategories. But we will just stick with the basics.

Shotguns ammunition typically comes in a measurement called a gauge. A gauge is the diameter of the bore, or inside of the barrel. The smaller the number – the larger the diameter, which is opposite of pistol ammunition where the larger the caliber the larger the ammunition. A 12 gauge shotgun has a barrel that is 0.727 inches in diameter. If you got lead balls that diameter, it would take 12 of them to equal a pound of led. With a 20 gauge shotgun, 20 led balls that are 0.617 can fit.

Shell length is also a very important number with shotgun ammunition. Not all guns can feed each length. Please make sure you know what ammo your gun is designed for – some guns can HOLD come ammunition but it would be unsafe to attempt to fire it due to the pressure differences within each casing. Common lengths are 2-3/4″, 3″, and 3-1/2″. The longer the shell the more shot pellets it contains.

Ammunition can also vary in Dram Equivalent – which used to be all black powder, but now many companies make ammunition with a smokeless powder. The higher the dram number, the more powder, which means the more energy each shot will have – more energy means more travel distance for the pellets.

Shotgun ammo typically comes in birdshot, buckshot, or slug. There are specialty shots that you can get, but we won’t delve into those. Birdshot has tiny pellets, buckshot has large pellets, and a single projectile is a slug. Buckshot is ideal for self-defense and for deer hunting – two occasions that you want the pellets to penetrate deeply. Slugs look different than an actual bullet, in that they are front heavy.

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Pump action, Semi-auto, and break open are the three basic Action Types. A pump-action requires the hand rest on the slide to be pumped in order to eject a spent shell and this action also chambers a new round. A semi-auto releases the spent casing and reloads the next round simply by firing off the first round – the energy from the fired round does all of that action automatically. A break open does exactly that – it has to open up in a way to which it appears broken and a shell (or two) are inserted.

Shotgun Fit, Mount & Technique

We have all seen the YouTube videos of the poor girl who gets thrown to the ground by the force of shooting a shotgun – it doesn’t take much examination to see that she is not holding her shotgun properly. A proper mount is critical not only for accuracy but for proper dispersion of the felt recoil as well.  Where your gun is placed in relation to your shoulder and dominant eye determines where the projectile goes.

The gun needs to fit properly if you are to lift, aim, then fire it quickly. The best option for ensuring a gun fits is to see a professional, but sometimes that isn’t an option. Because fit is such a detailed endeavor to discuss, we will not go into a lot of details here.

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One quick way to ascertain whether or not the length of pull is too long or too short is to hold the gun by the grip and to bend the elbow. If the butt of the gun doesn’t touch your bicep, it’s a little too short. If you can’t bend your elbow to a 90% angle because the butt of the gun is in the way, then it is too long. The butt of the gun should rest on your bicep. This is just a rough guide but it is a very helpful tool.

It is much easier to mount a gun that is slightly too short than it is to mount a gun that is too long. You should be able to keep your eyes closed and mount the gun then open your eyes and your dominant eye should be squarely looking down the rib (top raised portion traveling the length of the barrel. A raised rib alleviates the heatwaves from distorting the sight picture).

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When you are holding a shotgun correctly, your eye becomes the rear sight. Don’t focus on the front sight. You want to be looking at your target. Keep your eye straight and always on that target. Practice watching your target, finger pointed along your gaze with your arm extended. Move your body, not your eyes. Keeping your sight picture in focus is vital.

Cheek first, then shoulder is the correct method. It sounds a bit backward. If you go to the range you will see many people placing their shotgun to their shoulder first and then bringing their cheek to the stock. This causes you to “chase” your target too much, always a step behind, and you don’t have the control you need. Keep your head straight. If you cock your head over to the side to get your eye into position it will distort your depth perception and sight picture.

You should stand straight and balanced with your weight slightly more on your forward foot. Your front knee slightly bent.  Your feet need to be about six to nine inches apart at least.

So to properly mount a shotgun your standing at the Ready. This means your trigger hand is on the grip, your other hand is on the forearm grip and the stock is in your underarm. Ready to pull it up to your cheek and shoulder. Your feet are in their proper position and you get your target in sight. Lock your eyes on it. As you have your eyes on it push the muzzle forward towards the target. You are moving with the target, keeping your head verticle. Any turning with to follow the target comes from the waist and not your arms.

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While keeping your sight picture, pushing the muzzle towards the target you are also pulling your rear hand forward with the stock. As it comes forward the comb comes up to rest in the dip of the cheekbone. By placing it in exactly the same position it ensures accuracy with every shot. Your shoulder comes forward to meet the gun. Your body and gun move as one unit with the target. You lead the target a bit (this will vary from gun to gun on how much), meaning you are pointed just in front of the target as it is moving. Then you pull the trigger – careful to continue flowing with the target. If you stop abruptly or slow down as you pull the trigger you will miss, this is called follow through.

Practice, practice, practice! And have fun!! All of this will become fluid and can become very natural. Even expert shots will have accuracy issues if they don’t practice for months at a time. A great way to practice when you can’t get to the range is to practice with this indoor technique. First, ensure the gun is unloaded. Then get a flashlight that fits into the barrel and have it turned on. Holding the gun at the ready, keep the flashlight beam aiming at the corner of the ceiling. Practice mounting the gun all the while keeping the flashlight beam aimed at that corner. Once you do this a while, then practice making the beam travel along the line between the ceiling and the wall first one way and then the other. Practice until this all becomes one fluid motion

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Women in Taxidermy – Part Three

As first published here

Amy CarterAMY CARTER OF AMY’S ANIMAL ART TAXIDERMY

Taxidermy has interested Amy since she was 13. “Now, I had never been a girly-girl, and had always had unique interests and hobbies as a kid growing up, so picking up taxidermy as hobby came as no great shock to my family. It all started one day while out on the family farm, I came across a dead King-snake. I thought the pattern of the hide was so interesting I wanted to turn it into a belt.”

Amy was home-schooled, which equipped her to be great at learning whatever she sets her mind to. She went straight inside and researched how to tan a snake hide.

“While I was researching, I came across taxidermy websites and instantly realized that taxidermy was something that I wanted to try. Early on, I practiced on whatever I could get my hands on, particularly road kills, and rat that I raised for my pet snake’s food. As I became more involved, I made friends with other taxidermists who began to donate better specimens for me to practice on.”

Taxidermy was just the right fit for her as a kid to get started in. The price for a license varies from state to state – and where Amy lives it was only $15.

“As a kid starting out, I had very little funds and was able to use as many common household supplies for my taxidermy, as well as making my own bodies for small animals out of things such as newspaper and tape. While these days I don’t advocate doing it the archaic way that I started out, it was fun and making my own body forms from scratch forced me to learn a lot about animal anatomy.”

“Many taxidermists are open to taking on apprentices, and that can be a great way to learn. The optimum way would be to take a taxidermy course with a qualified teacher, which can range anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks long depending on which course you choose.”

Amy Carter - Alaskan Wolverine

Amy’s Alaskan Wolverine

Amy has come a long way from using newspaper and duct tape – now she is dedicated to educating others. “I recently began teaching my own taxidermy classes, and they have been very popular, especially among women who may feel safer or more relaxed learning from another woman. I would also suggest joining your state taxidermy association and attending their annual convention. There you can meet other taxidermist, attend seminars on a wide variety of topics, and view some beautiful examples of taxidermy.”

More and more women are showing interest in this art form. When Amy first got started there were just a few women taxidermist in the field. “In my experience, I received nothing but kindness from male taxidermists I met. They saw me as a bit of a novelty, yes, but were eager to help me learn more and I owe them for where I am today. I also get a great amount of respect from my customers, many who come out of state to bring me their trophy. I attribute this to the quality of work that I do, not just because I am female. Several customers have mentioned their trust ‘of a woman’s touch’.”

“People do tend to see a female taxidermist as a curiosity and I believe this helps me in a very positive way… I have a large following on social media, more so than many of my male counterparts. I’ve sensed a bit of jealousy in this area, from other taxidermists – even though I want to be known for my talents and not my gender… but if it helps promote my business, I won’t complain.”

Amy Carter - BobcatTongueOut

Amy’s Bobcat Taxidermy

Amy is indeed talented. Her bobcat head mount with his tongue sticking out is absolutely remarkable. Most tongues that I have seen in taxidermy are so fake looking they are laughable, but this looks very much alive.

Amy used to do pet taxidermy. She has chosen to no longer accept any, due to the close connection people have with their pets, and the sensitive emotions surrounding their death. “I had one fellow call me one night and tell me that he was brining his dog to me. As I went to hang up the phone, he said ‘I’ll be there just as soon as I can dig him up’. Sure enough, the dog had been buried for a day before they decided that they just couldn’t let go!”

She had a lot of really funny stories. “I had a lady who wanted her cat turned into a rug, and the remains shipped back to her, all the way to Hawaii. From what I heard, there was a lavish ceremony with music and rose petals, and they tied rocks to the carcass and threw it into the sea…. And there’s always the occasional call for someone asking if I’ll stuff their Grandmaw.”

Amy Carter - Bobcat

Amy’s Perching Bobcat Taxidermy

Her art goes beyond traditional taxidermy. She makes fur pillows; upholstered stools; antler carvings; jewelry made from bone, teeth, and claws. “I support any form of taxidermy – after all, it is preserving an animal that would otherwise just have rotted. There’s something really cool about that!” Her style tends to be mainly traditional, but a lot of her woodwork and habitat bases lean towards the modern trend of less-is-more. “I like to showcase the animal and not necessarily clutter the scene with too much grass or other material.”

Amy has had her share of trouble from animal rights activists, who seem to love to give her bad ratings on Facebook anonymously. She responds to them kindly, by asking logical questions but never gets a response. “There will always be those that don’t agree with hunting, and the taxidermy that comes from it. To me, I see it as a beautiful way to use EVERY part of the animal. Ethical hunters respect and use as much of their game as they are able to.”

And it definitely takes someone who respects wildlife so much to be able to stuff them in such detail that they seem full of vibrant life. And the bobcat standing perched on a log – it looks like it has just paused a moment to watch its prey. It’s hard not to hesitate a moment, almost half expecting it to complete its step.

“I’d say the hardest part of taxidermy is properly preparing the hide. Most people think that laying the hide over the body from and sewing it up would be the most difficult – but that just isn’t true. That tends to be the easiest part for me. Many more hours go into skinning, fleshing, thinning, and otherwise preparing the hide to go on the form. Each new piece presents a new challenge for me, which is part of the fun. I try something new every time. For my first mountain lion, I carved the foam from scratch using a large block of foam. It was the largest form I had ever made by hand and it was a pretty big challenge.”

Several of her pieces have award ribbons hanging from them; testimony to just how great of an artist she is. “I go to a lot of taxidermy competitions. In fact, I’ve been competing since I was 15 years old. I’ve been to most of the state shows in the southeast, as well as nationals and world competitions over the years. My top awards have been National Champion (NTA 2003), North American Champion (Big Rock Taxidermy Competition 2015) and a second place ribbon at the World Championships (2015)”

Amy’s art is just incredible. She really is one of the very best in this field. “I encourage women to explore their interests, and not be intimidated to jump in and get their hands dirty in a male-dominated field! You just might find that women have that extra special touch.”

CONCLUSION

It has been a remarkable week getting to learn about these amazing women. They are wonderful artists to look up to, not only because of their talent – but their character, dedication to their business, and drive to educate others. They each have noted that being female isn’t a hindrance, but can offer a unique perspective in this field, and that the Woman’s Touch is a beautiful complementary addition to the world of taxidermy. After hearing about their journeys, I can’t wait to practice on a critter myself.

Loving Jesus Isn’t Enough – Why Sound Theology Matters

By M. Ashley Evans

 “If we don’t know the bible, if we don’t know doctrine, if we don’t know theology – it is virtually impossible for us to identify false prophets” is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite pastors, Voddie Baucham. It, in a nutshell, summarizes why theology and doctrine are so important.

While witnessing to others, I have had several people tell me that they are pagans and they quickly tell me that they love Jesus too, as if that statement alone will guarantee them eternity in heaven. Some professing Christians have said that they just believe that we have to love Jesus and love others – they don’t believe in going to a church that teaches doctrine, because doctrine divides. Some professing Christians have said that they love Jesus – all of that theology stuff just doesn’t matter in the end.

Frankly, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Having sound theology matters – everyone has a theological view.

Having sound doctrine matters – and it is good that doctrine divides.

If you think that Jesus just wants you to love him and NOT repent of your sins, grow in maturity, and warn others of God’s wrath…. You very well may love that Jesus, but that isn’t the Jesus of the Bible. In fact, it is simply an idol that you have created.

We cannot give people an “answer for the hope that lies within you” (1 Pet 3:15) if we do not know the answers ourselves. We have to have sound theology and doctrine

Theology Matters: Everyone’s a Theologian

Far too many people view theology as an intellectual hobby or an abstract concept with no daily applications. The very word Theology means a Word (logos) about God (Theos). Everyone is a theologian because everyone has their own belief about God and about what happens after death. What we do and how we behave flows out of what we believe in our hearts. Theology is what enables God’s people to think and live rightly. It is because of our (Bible-based) beliefs about God that we try to live according to His standards.

Even inaccurate beliefs about God essentially make that person a theologian – just a bad one. Some theologians believe that which is contradictory to what God says about Himself in the Bible. If everyone is a theologian, then obviously some of those beliefs are right and some are wrong.

That is why we cannot look to our own selves to understand God. There has to be an authority outside of ourselves in which to turn. Thankfully, God has given us His Word so that we can know Him. Jesus said that the scriptures were written about Him.

(John 5:39) “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.”

The implications of our theology (whether good theology or bad) will affect every facet of our lives. All of life – the daily minutiae, toiling at work, various emotional ups and downs, to the serious issues of death, job loss, tragedy – all of this requires a sound theological foundation in order to perceive them from a biblical worldview.

Doctrine Matters: Because Doctrine Divides

“No doctrine but Jesus “and “no creed but Christ” is a common mantra plaguing many churches in modern Christianity. And frankly, it is self-contradictory. Both of those statements are doctrines and creeds in and of themselves – the thing is, they are shallow. They either leave one ill-equipped or wanting for more, perhaps sometimes both.

The word Didachē is the Greek word commonly translated as doctrine. It comes from the verb Didaskō, “to teach.” One helpful definition of doctrine that I read in Tabletalk magazine said: “Doctrine is teaching from God about God that directs us to the glory of God.” Doctrine simply means “a teaching,” so if a church is teaching that they have no teachings…. it is just ridiculous. Further, to reject the concept and study of doctrine is dangerous. To do so is to reject Jesus’ teaching, and to reject Jesus’ teaching is to reject Him. (Luke 9:26) Jesus says “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the father and of the Holy angels.”

Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy that sound doctrine is one of the most important things for the spiritual health of the Christian and therefore of the church. Sound doctrine is like a precious treasure that we pass down from one generation to the next. (2 Tim 1:13-14) “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”

Just because all doctrine is not the Gospel doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Some doctrine may very well be “non-essential” for salvation and yet it is still important because it is God-breathed Scripture. Some doctrine, though it may not be the Gospel, is a picture of the Gospel, or a natural outflow of the Gospel. Almost all doctrine is somehow connected to the Gospel. Are there different types of importance? Yes, but the categories can be completely arbitrary. You can categorize them in as few as 4 types of importance – or 10. The most concise way is Primary (Gospel), Secondary, Tertiary, and Adiaphora (unclear, up to the individuals’ conscience).

It’s a great thing that “doctrine divides.” It divides the wheat from the chaff: children of God from false converts who need to hear the Gospel. The doctrines of God tell us how to come to know Him whereas the false doctrines of man lead people astray at the risk of their very souls, for example, false gospels. Scripture warns us that we should be “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim 2:15) so that we can “present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed”.

In Paul’s letters to Timothy he urged Timothy and the others to teach “no other doctrine” (1 Tim 1:3) than what Paul taught since solid biblical doctrine (divisional contrast to false doctrine) would save all who heard it from spiritual error “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Tim 4:16)

Division isn’t always bad since Jesus said that his doctrine would divide even family members. (Matt 10:34-37) “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Division in inevitable for the followers of Jesus. We live in a world marred by sin and full of peoples whose “father is the devil” (John 8:44). We are called to be set apart and holy. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) Teaching doctrine is one of the functions of the church. Those who demand a “doctrine-less Christianity” don’t understand neither doctrine or Christianity or are purposefully misrepresenting it.

Love Matters: But What is Love?

Many people who attempt to erase theology and doctrine from Christianity claim to do so out of love for others. But in the end, it’s just love of self and hatred of others.

It is out of love for God that we pour over His Word (His theology and doctrine), carefully so that we may know Him as He has revealed Himself to be.

It is out of love for Christ that we study the Word and its doctrines so that we can become more like Him in our journey of progressive sanctification.

It is out of love for others that we divide the Word rightly and help others to do so too. The Word was given to us so that we could teach others rightly, even correcting others when needed “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim 3:16)

If we refuse to teach these things rightly – we do not love our neighbor, we hate him. If we refuse to correct our brother who teaches these things incorrectly, we are not loving him but hating him.

Love is this: Human beings are the crown of God’s creation, created in His image- Imago Dei. But we have completely rebelled against Him. We committed treason against God. We were born completely and utterly depraved in our sin. There was nothing good in us- nothing. Our sin separated us from the Holy God who created us. We could never be good enough to earn our way to heaven. Our very sin caused us to deserve an eternity in Hell. Yet God granted us grace and mercy. Christ, the Son of God (there is only ONE God, and He exists in three Persons of One substance) wrapped Himself in flesh; he forsook His throne and glory and came to Earth as a man. This God-man lived the perfect life and fulfilled His law to utter perfection. In His perfect fulfillment of the law He was hated by man, so much so that He was tried, crucified and buried. On the cross, He bore the full wrath of God for the sins of those that would believe in Him. On the third day, He rose again in accordance with the scriptures and He ascended into Heaven. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. He offers mercy to those who would believe in Him and repent of their sins. Our love for Him overflows in how we love others. We love others so that we yearn for them to know Him rightly.

Conclusion

Lifeway Research did a study in 2014 on the theological knowledge of 3,000 American adults. These statistics are from Facts and Trends Magazine. The study was to show the differences between Americans and historic Christianity. These statistics are startling.
• 55% believe that there are many ways to get to heaven.
• 55% believe that the Bible was written for each person to interpret as he or she chooses.
• 59% of evangelicals believe the Holy Spirit is a force, not a person.
• 33% of evangelicals believe that God the Father is more divine than Jesus.
• 44% of mainline Protestants don’t see sex outside of marriage as sinful.
• 39% of Americans did not believe in the Trinity.
• 43% say the Bible is helpful but not literally true.
• 56% believe that their pastors’ sermons have no authority in their life.
• 67% say that most people are basically ‘good’, even though everyone sins a little bit.

Each one of these is completely contrary to what the Bible teaches. It is imperative that we teach sound theology and doctrine. “Loving Jesus” simply is not good enough if they love a “Jesus” who isn’t the Jesus of the Bible. “Loving Jesus” simply is not good enough if they don’t understand the doctrine of Salvation.

Boldly proclaim the truth of God, out of love for Him and for others.

Women’s Best Conceal Carry Gun – Four Options Chambered in 9mm

By: M. Ashley Evans

First published here

Gun Choices: Caliber Differences

Two of the most common calibers of ammunition for concealed carry guns are 9mm and .380. Side by side, they look a lot alike. They both are the same diameter but 9mm is just a little longer.  But which one is better? That is up to debate, and there are a few other factors to consider.

The .380 ACP is also known as a 9mm Browning. It was first introduced by Colt in 1908 as a self-defense round  – hence ACP for Automatic Colt Pistol. Its also called 9mmX17, 9mm Short, etc.  It is rimless, straight walled, and designed to have less felt recoil. The .380 can hold a maximum of 5.3 grains (that’s grains of water, which is a more accurate measurement than solid grains).  Its velocity is 1050 FPS and a penetration depth of about 9 inches.

In contrast, the 9mm is known as 9mmX19 Parrabellum. It was introduced in 1902 by DWM, a German weapons manufacturer. It was designed for their Luger pistol for the military. The most popular weight is 124 grains, but there are several weight variations available. It can hold a maximum of 10 grains of water. It is rimless and tapered. The 9mm has a velocity of 950-1400 FPS and a penetration of around 13 inches.

The 9mm doesn’t penetrate a lot more than the .380, because the extra energy causes it to expand a bit more – which slows it down considerably. That expansion causes a lot of tissue damage, and that helps to stop the attacker. This isn’t to say that the .380 isn’t a qualified candidate – the differences between the .380 and the 9 are extremely small compared to the differences between a .380 and a .32.

Here is an excerpt from a great article found here

“(About the .380) A typical load carries roughly 3 grains of powder that propels a 95-grain bullet at 845 fps to produce 151 ft.-lbs. of energy from a 2.75-inch barrel. It produces about 2.76 ft.-lbs. recoil energy from a 1-pound firearm… A typical 9mm Luger load contains about 6 grains of powder used to propel a 115-grain bullet to 1,000 feet per second (fps) out of a 2.75-inch barrel. (Velocities increase along with barrel length.) This produces approximately 255 ft.-lbs. energy while generating 5.36 ft.-lbs. of recoil energy from a pistol weighing 1 pound….

“While 255 ft.-lbs. of bullet energy from the muzzle of a 9mm Luger is not a lot in the firearm world—consider that an average .30-06 deer rifle produces around 2,500 ft.-lbs. energy—a 9mm’s energy is far greater than a .22 LR’s piddly 105 ft.-lbs. and many other smaller calibers. It has about 68 percent more energy than the .380 Auto.”

So while the 9mm does have a lot more power, the .380 has 94% less felt recoil when fired from a gun of equal weight. That makes it a lot easier to accurately shoot multiple rounds. But 9mm guns are typically a little larger and heavier than .380 guns, and the extra weight helps to reduce the felt recoil. So when choosing a concealed carry gun there are a few steps to consider:

  1. Make sure it fits in your hand well
  2. Be sure you will be able to conceal it properly
  3. If it comes in multiple calibers, choose the largest one that you can rapidly fire with accuracy.

 

Gun Choices

1. Kimber Micro

kimber micro 9

This is one of my favorite carry guns. Its overall length is only 6.1″ and it has a height of 4.01″. So while it doesn’t fit into my jeans pocket, it is extremely easy to conceal in a holster. It is definitely one of the easiest 9mm to conceal in my opinion.

The Kimber Micro 9 comes in several variations. I like the stainless one. It has a weight of about 15.6 ounces unloaded. The 1911 style frame and the heft of this pistol are definitely something required – a +P round of 9mm can have a pretty steep felt recoil. But it was absolutely manageable with this gun. It isn’t my first go-to for a fun time on the range, but I can put a lot of rounds through it without any trouble.

The Kimber Micro 9’s dovetailed, dotted sights are fantastic. Its single action trigger is crisp and clean and will break between 5-6 lbs.  To safely clear a malfunction, you can still engage the safety and then pull the slide back. It can hold 6+1 and there is an optional magazine extension available.  While Kimber can be a little finicky about ammo, I have not noticed any problems with this one.

 

2. Sig P938

sig p938

This Sig and the Kimber Micro 9 are often considered the best of the mini-1911’s. The 938 looks just like a slightly larger 238.

The night sights are very nice – but there is not as much light on either side of the front sight as I prefer, but that may be because I have short arms. This too holds 6+1 unless you buy the extended magazine plate. The trigger reset is much better than many other 9mm’s and is about 7.5 lbs.

The Sig P938 weighs 16 oz unloaded. It is 5.9″ long and 3.9″ tall. It is almost identical to the Kimber Micro 9, just a TINY bit shorter. Sig uses a Nitron coating which helps to prevent the moisture from your skin from rusting it. All in all, it is a beautiful little gun that would make an excellent carry weapon.

 

3. Springfield EMP

springfield emp

This is probably one of the most enjoyable guns I have ever shot. The frame is a forged aluminum alloy and the slide is forged stainless. It is heavier than the other 9mm’s mentioned so far – weighing in at 27 oz. The EMP 9 is 6.6″ long and 5″ tall. The 3 dot Tritium sights as standard make for very easy target sighting.

The EMP (Enhanced Micro Pistol) is the smallest TRUE 1911 created so far. From barrel bushings to the trigger traveling straight back and even the back strap safety – its a 1911 through and through. Everything has just been scaled down to fit the 9mm. It is a beautiful gun – the Cocobolo grips, satin finish steel slide. The trigger is very clean and only about 3.5 lbs. This gun is a bit pricier than the other two options.

The earlier models (until 2009) were prone to failure to feed problems, but all of this has been resolved. I have read a lot of reviews from people who were not very happy with it – and each review is by a man who said that the gun felt a little small. It all goes back to how the gun fits in your hand. The EMP is my first go to for a fun day at the range and definitely what I reach for when competing.

 

4. Dan Wesson Valkyrie

dan wesson 9mm

This is a gun that I can’t wait to get ahold of but have done a lot of research on. It is absolutely on my must-have list. Its price is a little more than the Springfield EMP, but everyone who has shot one that I’ve talked to says that it is worth every penny.

The Valkyrie is top quality and every part is tight fitting, which makes for some very accurate shooting. A lot of people are crazy about the finish – but the Duty Finish actually something that I’m not extremely crazy about the looks of. However, I do love the concept for a conceal carry weapon. Moisture will rust a gun extremely quickly – so a ceramic coating that will do a great job in protecting the gun from the moisture and salt in your skin is the way to go.

The Valkyrie is 8 inches long and 5 inches tall. It weighs 28 ounces unloaded. It is a little longer than the EMP, so as a short woman I would probably open carry or use a Can Can holster around my waist as opposed to an IWB holster. The trigger is shorter than a  lot of other guns of this size – which is why my small hands fit around it so well. The trigger is light, at about 4 lbs. The Tritium night sights are a little different than what is on the other guns listed. These are a stacked two dot system – you line up the dots to form a figure 8. If you’ve never shot a gun with those type of sights, takes a little getting used to, but it is really great for low light situations.

 

Women in Taxidermy – Part 2

First Published here

WOMEN IN TAXIDERMY

There have been a great many studies on the differences between the male and female brain. In general, women are much more meticulous, creative, and detail oriented. Which, when coupled with artistic talent and a love for nature it is a wonderful recipe for creating award-winning Taxidermy!

BECKY MARTINMAAS – OWNER OF MEAN WOMAN TAXIDERMY

Becky - working

Becky is in Orient South Dakota. She is a fierce competitive shooter who is equally fierce about her loyalty to family. Mrs. Martinmaas is astounding when it comes to the art of Taxidermy.

She very well may be one of the most determined women you will ever meet, “I got interested in taxidermy because of the wait times we were experiencing with the taxidermists we had been using. Often it was years before we would get our trophies back. My husband and I love to hunt and it was so frustrating to have to wait so long – sometimes we even forgot what we were waiting for!”

Becky was great at explaining how to get involved “it can be as simple or as complicated as you choose. You can be full service or specialize in one category. There is even a lot of good information you can get with self-help courses and videos, but I would highly recommend going to school or working with an experienced taxidermist. Oh, there are so many little tricks and fine points that you just can’t learn without actually seeing it done. I went to school and took all the available courses: game heads, mammals, birds, fish, and habitat. It doesn’t have to be very expensive – you can start small and work your way up.”

She, like all outdoor sportsmen, are extremely responsible and encourage that same respect for the laws and authority of your state, “I carry a state license issued by our Game and Fish Department, it must be renewed every year. I also carry a federal license issued by the US Fish and Wildlife that is required for waterfowl, etc.”

“Really, it is not surprising that Taxidermy is a predominantly male dominated field. After all, is extremely physically demanding.” Becky explained with an air of understanding. The big game carcasses are extremely heavy and many women are unable to lift that much, of literally, dead weight. “It is messy, smelly, and at times things come into your shop that is already in decomposition. It is not pretty sometimes,” Becky explained.

“It is much easier to do a good mount if you know the animals in their natural habitat, so being a hunter is a big advantage. Well, it was not hard for me to break into the boys club as I already had the reputation of being an avid hunter and shooter. I hunt and do a little range shooting also.” A little? I think she was just being modest.

Becky as talented of a marksman as she is a taxidermy artist. Her bear looks like it is about to lumber off.

becky-bear

“After being taken seriously as a hunter, being female in taxidermy was an advantage. Women tend to be more artistic and quite a bit fussier about details… Also, most men have to get permission from their wives to display their mount at home, I am a big help there by making them a work of art, not just a dead animal.”

Becky’s art is fantastic. Her crouching coyote really looks as if it is about to pounce on its prey. The male pheasants she preserved engaged in a sparring competition are just breathtaking!

“Yes, there are a lot of different styles to taxidermy. I call myself a Working-Man’s Taxidermist. That means I try to stay affordable and I keep my turnaround time as short as possible. So, I do a lot of game heads, birds, and mammals. I love doing small scenes to show off the animal in its natural state. What I love most about my business at this point is how much people trust my judgment and let me run with a project knowing that it will be something to be proud of.”

Becky - Coyote

She seems like a woman who doesn’t put up with a lot of bull surrounding wildlife management, “All I can say about those that have negative things to say about hunting and taxidermy is that they are very uninformed.” Very true Becky! There is a lot of false propaganda out there, and we have a duty to educate others about the outdoors.

“We farm for deer and pheasants because we want a healthy population. Those naysayers have never seen a pack of coyotes steal a baby calf from its mother or seen an animal starving due to overpopulation.” Yet even with such a heated topic, Becky was trying to be polite, “but everyone has their opinions and they are entitled to them.”

Becky used to enter taxidermy competitions at state conventions. “But a competition piece takes a lot of time away from my customers, and they are my main concern. People know my work and I don’t need ribbons on my wall. I am glad that there are those that do it as I have learned a lot from studying other people’s work and methods. You know, the most difficult thing in my business is getting people to come and pick up their mount in a timely fashion!”

Becky - Moose

My favorite thing she said was “I would highly encourage other women to get into taxidermy as it is a great stay at home business. You can be as big or as small as you want. You can set your own hours and goals.” What a great way for a woman to who wants to help her family financially, raise children, maintain her passion for hunting and have a creative outlet. It really sounds like a fantastic option.

“I love looking at a finished product and knowing that I made that animal come back to life and that I saved someone’s hunting memories forever.”

CHERI GUINN

OF CHERI’S TAXIDERMY

Cheri Guinn

Cheri is the daughter of her local Duck Club’s President, so she grew up hunting duck each weekend during season and even pheasant hunting too. She remembers as a teenager carefully studying one of her father’s mounts and wondering just how the taxidermist preserved it.

So, being the determined self-starter that she is, Cheri went straight to the library and got a book on taxidermy. She got started in her parents basement, and eventually her dad set up an extra garage he had for me by putting in a sink and supplying me with all my tools. Cheri hasn’t looked back these last 37 years in the business.

She didn’t have these great videos and classes then. Her excitement was tangible “Give it a try and if you are interested take a class and learn all the tips and tricks! If I were to do it all over again I would first watch videos and read magazine articles on how to mount a bird!”

Cheri explained that even after you do all that – it takes a considerable amount of practice. “If you’re lucky enough to find a taxidermist that needs help and has a lot of patience, then an apprenticeship could be an option.”

A lot of taxidermist in her area didn’t like mounting birds, so she was welcomed within this particular niche. “I like making the bird look ALIVE again! Action poses are my favorite and minimal habitat. I wasn’t trained in doing water scenes or habitat so I am limited in what I can do. Habitat is an extra cost, and most of my customers don’t like the extra expense that goes with it.”

Cheri Guinn - Wood Duck Preening

You don’t have to learn how to mount every type of animal to be successful in this field. You just have to have a passion for your art! “What I like most about my art is seeing what other taxidermist come up with – it inspires me! The best part of my work is seeing the customers’ faces when they come and pick up their bird”

Cheri is an enthusiastic supporter of Ducks Unlimited. She believes that we all have the right to hunt and it is through conservation that we are able to manage wildlife and to help keep the ecosystem in balance. “And if there wasn’t hunting, I would be out of a job!”

Cheri Guinn - Mallard Ducklings

Her Barred Owl is one of my favorites – posed as if it is swooping down to catch some prey. She also has preserved some specimens I have never seen mounted before – a flamingo and mallard ducklings. Each one looking like it is about to fly away at any moment.

Cheri Guinn - Barred Owl

“My most favorite bird I ever did was a Flamingo who was owned by a man who sold exotics. The bird was the matriarch of the flock and died when she was 42. All the scales on her legs fell off when I was wiring the legs and a lot of feathers fell out when I washed her. She ended up turning out great and I brought her along to an outdoor show I was in and boy she was a hit! The owner actually has it in his will that when he dies I get to inherit her!”

Cheri Guinn - Flamingo

 

Cheri is in this business because she loves the art, “I would encourage women to do what they are interested in and don’t listen to people that say you can’t. Nowadays you can practically learn anything online. Be patient with yourself, remember your life will constantly change, so just go with it and enjoy it!

Coming up next is Part 3!

 

Women in Taxidery part 1

Women in Taxidermy

by M. Ashley Evans

First published here: https://henoutdoors.com/blog/women-in-taxidermy-part-1/

This past week I have had the privilege of interviewing several amazing women who have beaten the odds to become some of the few female taxidermists in the country. Taxidermy is almost exclusively an art that men gravitate to – but these women have proved that their creativity and unique perspective sets them apart.

History of Women in Taxidermy

The art of preserving animal specimens has been around since animals were embalmed in Ancient Egypt. Even in the Middle Ages very crude methods of taxidermy was used in creating displays for apothecaries and astrologers. In the mid-1700’s birds were being preserved for the study of natural history.

It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that hunters began hiring upholsterers to sew up animal skins stuffed with cotton and occasionally rags. This is where the label “stuffed” originates. In the Victorian era, artists would sculpt clay, plaster and wire cages as the frames for the animal skins. Taxidermy mounts became a popular item for home decorating. Even Queen Victoria was an avid collector of taxidermy birds from all over the world. During the late 19th Century, artists would sculpt animals into anthropomorphic displays. Both the natural display, often called Classical Taxidermy, and the more whimsical displays, or Rogue Taxidermy, continue today.

Martha Maxwell

Pioneer in Taxidermy

 Martha Maxwell - this photo also from national cowboy musuem

Martha Maxwell was born in 1831. Obviously, I wasn’t able to interview her, but she is certainly worth talking about. Martha was the first female naturalist to obtain and taxidermy her own specimens. She built elaborate displays that greatly influenced some of the major figures in taxidermy, such as William Temple Hornady (hunter, zoologist, conservationist, and taxidermist – famously known as the man who saved the American Bison from extinction due to his taxidermy displays) and Carl Akeley (known as the Father of Modern Taxidermy).

Her displays set the precedent for the future of taxidermy – by arranging the mounts in lifelike poses and displayed on items from their natural environment. Martha was the first to find and identify the Colorado Screech Owl – and it was named in her honor, Scops asio maxwellae. This was the first time a woman had a subspecies named after her.

Martha attributes her love for nature to her Grandmother. They loved going on long walks with grandmother through the woods where they would identify the wildlife they encountered. Martha’s father passed away in the 1830’s and her mother remarried right away. The new family left Pennsylvania for Oregon as Christian Missionaries to the Native Americans. Much to Martha’s sadness, her grandmother did not survive the arduous journey.

The trip proved to be much more difficult, so for the sake of their health the family settled in Wisconsin. Martha was unable to finish her schooling due to finances, so in exchange for board and tuition, she agreed to be hired by a widower to chaperone his two children at a local college. Less than a year later, and despite the widower having 6 years and being 20 years her senior, Martha married James Maxwell. James soon learned that Martha was a very determined woman and a go-getter if there ever was one. Less than two months after her marriage, she was arrested for her involvement in the raid of a tavern in support of the Temperance Movement.

The Maxwell’s had a baby the year that the fell into financial ruin, so they traveled west, prompted by the Gold Rush. Young Mabel stayed behind with Martha’s mother so she could attend school. Martha was determined that she would prove to be an asset to the team – she cooked for all six and even took her turn driving the team of mules. James mined for gold in Pikes Peak and Martha baked pies and mended clothes. She soon sold enough pies that she was able to purchase a boarding house as well as some mining claims and even a one bedroom cabin on the plains outside of Denver.

Martha Maxwell - photo from national cowboy museum

But tragedy struck again in the 1860’s – Martha’s primary method of income, the boarding house burned down and a squatter was trying to lay claim to her cabin. Even after winning the lawsuit, the squatter refused to leave. So Martha watched him and when he left the cabin to run errands she removed the door from the frame so she could enter her home – and what she found was lots of crude taxidermies. She became busy and set everything outside so she could claim her home. She was mesmerized by the preserved birds that she saw – and wrote to her family asking them to send her a book so she could “learn how to preserve birds and other animal curiosities in this country.” Shortly after, while in Wisconsin again for a short stay to take care of her ill mother she found a local taxidermist and was able to learn a little about preserving from him.

Martha Maxwell - photo also from national cowboy musuem

When she returned to Colorado, Martha feverishly got to work in creating elaborate taxidermy displays. By the fall of 1868 she had over 100 mounts – including hummingbirds and eagle chicks. The Colorado Agricultural Society asked her to display her work with them. Everyone was amazed at how lifelike her taxidermy was. She was awarded a diploma for her talents.

In the 1870’s Martha opened the Rocky Mountain Museum in Boulder, Colorado to display her mounts and to educate others. Her museum later was moved to Denver. She expanded her collection to include mammals – including the Black Footed Ferret, a very elusive species that had been recorded by John James Audubon but had never been seen by scientists. Martha became an avid hunter and collected most of her specimens herself. She traveled all across the west to study and to harvest specimens – she braved poor conditions and rough weather and didn’t seem bothered by them. Martha often brought her daughter with her on hunts. By 1869, Martha had over 600 animals in her collection.

Her first step in skinning the carcass was taking very specific measurements of all aspects of the body so she could replicate it exactly. She later hired a blacksmith to craft a thin iron frame, she then would cover it with cloth and then stretch the skins over it. This approach was much more advanced than any of the taxidermy methods used at the time such as filling the skins with clay or plaster. Her collection included a six foot grizzly, a pronghorn antelope, and snakes. Many of her rare items she sent to the Smithsonian for display. Ferdinand V. Hayden of the U.S. Geological Survey said about her museum “it excelled every other in the West” but the museum struggled financially and James was not working.

Her display was featured at the Colorado’s exhibit for Philadelphia’s Centennial International Exposition. Her landscape included mountains, plains, a cave, a stream that fed a lake filled with various creatures. There was puma posed as if to kill a deer, a doe nuzzling her fawn, fox, bear, sheep, buffalo, elk, pronghorn sheep – and a postcard that read “Woman’s Work”. Everyone was amazed that this 4’11” had killed and preserved the animals and created this massive display unlike anything ever seen before.

Martha Maxwell - photo from alchetron

Unfortunately, after the display was taken down improperly in New York mold set in and every item was ruined. There is not a single specimen left from Martha’s elaborate museum. She died in 1881 of ovarian cancer. It wasn’t until after her death that Mabel came to admire and appreciate her mothers work. But now, her methods are the standard practice for taxidermy all over the world.

Kiernan Hull

Owner of Oregon Taxidermy

Kiernana - Impala

She, like Martha, is defiantly a determined lady! Kiernan also owns Phaded Acres Colt Starting and Performance. This former Miss Rodeo is talented in multiple areas! At age 17, just after high school, she and a friend dropped off a buck at a taxidermy shop. By the time she walked out she knew she was going to be a taxidermist. So the very next month Kiernan moved to Montana to begin schooling. “I have never looked back since!” she said.

There are many ways to learn to be a taxidermist – schools, internships, books, dvds, etc. Kiernan recommends working with a few good artists along the way regardless of the educational path you choose. And each state has its own licensing laws and regulations. I was amazed to learn that there was so many tools involved – each with its own special purpose. Kiernan stresses that the most important skill is actually money management –there is quite a bit of overhead with opening a taxidermy shop.

 Kiernan - Turkey

“At first no one took me seriously, especially being 17… I really started gaining respect around 20 or 21 and now I’m at 24 and I no longer deal with people not taking me seriously. Everybody around here knows who I am now and that I am not just here to mess around. Being female did hinder me at first – between that and my age, nothing was going for me. But now, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had come to me just because I am a woman and they know that gives me a natural eye for detail. I have had so many people actually tell me that they will never go to a male taxidermist again. Which is a huge compliment being in such a male-dominated industry!”

Kiernan’s passion for this art is so evident “Being female is an advantage in this industry for sure!”

Kiernan - Bird of Prey - Copy

“In the summer of 2016, I had about 50 hours into my competition piece of a life-size Badger when my candle that was about 10’ away caught the fumes from my foam just right and my table and Badger went up in flames! Poof!! It felt like an eternity – but really it all happened in about 20 seconds. After scrubbing off his black hairs and fluffing him up, my badger went on to win the Highest scoring Open in Oregon and Best of Category.” Her badger looks like it is going to walk away any moment.

kiernan badger

“I defiantly go for the Alive and Peaceful look with mine. I have the utmost respect for animals and I want them to look natural and presentable for everyone. My biggest fear is someone thinking I don’t have respect for our wildlife when it is the complete opposite. We as hunters know it is our duty to help manage wildlife and their habitat so we have them around for future generations to enjoy. Taxidermy is respectful and educational. Hunters are the #1 contributor to wildlife conservation! It is just as simple as that!”

I really enjoyed looking at a picture of an Elk she preserved. The veins and wrinkles on its muzzle were so accurate – it was mesmerizing.

“I’d say the most difficult part of Taxidermy for me is how physically demanding it is. I rarely get to sit behind a desk (thankfully) but that also means I spend most of all day every day physically hands-on with some oftentimes heavy pieces – having to wrestle them around. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a struggle occasionally and that I wasn’t sore. The most challenging piece I have worked on has to be the Kudu. They have so much extra skin and their skin is super thick. The African Kudu is built so differently from our North American deer varieties. I had to do several of them before it became any easier!”

Kiernan - Elk

Kiernan has entered many competitions and has won many awards in Oregon and Idaho. “Competing is one of the best ways to gain knowledge in this art. The judges give feedback and you are surrounded by other passionate artists” Kiernan was an absolute joy to get to know!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

______________

Sources:

https://americacomealive.com/2014/04/05/martha-ann-maxwell-1831-18881-maturalist-taxidermist/

http://www.historynet.com/colorado-huntress-wildlife.htm

https://siarchives.si.edu/history/featured-topics/stories/william-temple-hornady-saving-american-bison

https://nationalcowboymuseum.org/explore/kill-em-all-martha-maxwell-colorado-huntress/

http://www.cogreatwomen.org/project/martha-maxwell

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxidermy

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha/Maxwell

https://alchetron.com/Martha-Maxwell

A Girl and Her Hawk

By M. Ashley Evans

First published here: https://henoutdoors.com/blog/a-girl-and-her-hawk/

I had the privilege of interviewing Sarah Molnar recently. Sarah is a sweet lady and an enthusiastic hunter. It was such a joy getting to talk to her about falconry! (Falconry: the sport of hunting with falcons or other birds of prey)

Sarah started the conversation by telling me how she got involved in falconry. “I fell in love with falconry several years ago. I have always been a hunter and fisher, but falconry has forever changed my life. My first boyfriend was just starting his journey in falconry, and it became something that we both enjoyed. I got to see him and his friends work with different birds of prey, mainly red-tails, and I fell in love with the sport. It was one of those things that on our off days, we were out hawking. Every chance we got, we were flying his bird, hunting rabbits. It was a completely different way of hunting for me, and to see the bond between the falconer and the bird was simply amazing. I began my own journey a couple years later and found a sponsor to teach me the sport, and ever since, I can’t envision my life without it. I am constantly looking forward to going out hawking and hunting with my bird, and I get sad when the season ends and we have to wait until the next season to hunt. I am always looking for birds of prey, especially red-tails as I drive from one destination to the next.”

 untitled-design-20-
Image

(Sarah’s hawk, Ella)

Sarah shared a picture of her hawk. “I have a juvenile red-tail hawk. She was born this past spring in 2017. As a falconer, we can only trap immature red-tails. Our trapping season here in Michigan starts in September, and this is when the birds have been hunting on their own for awhile, and are proof that they can be good hunting birds. My red-tails name is Ella, and she will be a year old this upcoming spring. She hunted the small game season up until March 31st, and then I began fattening her up for the molt so she can grow out her red feathers. As an immature bird, she has a brown tail, a dark brown belly band on her chest, and light eyes. As she molts into a mature red-tail this summer, she will grow a red-tail, her chest will become whiter, and her eyes will get darker. Once the hunting season starts again in September, I will re-train her some, and we will be hunting again.”

Ella is a beautiful red-tailed hawk with very large feet. Sarah explained that having large feet is a huge plus in the falconry world! Large feet are one of the signs to look for when trapping a new hunting partner. Birds with large feet can hold onto the smaller game well, and often their grasp will kill them instantly. Ella is very even-tempered and doesn’t rely on Sarah as her primary food source.

In falconry, the birds need to be taken out on a hunt about 6 times a week, weather permitting. Windy days and stormy days are generally avoided and area treated as days to recuperate. It’s very important to exercise and train your birds as much as possible. Interestingly, the female birds are larger. Immature birds are called “Passages” and the mature birds called “Haggards” Small game is hunted during the appropriate season, typically beginning in the fall and ending just before spring. Small game hunted includes squirrels, rabbits, and occasionally a pheasant. Other small animals have been harvested by birds of prey including opossums, snakes, and voles.

Sarah continued, “I grew up hunting rabbits and squirrels with my .22, but I have found more joy in hunting these animals with my red-tail. It is a more intimate bond because my bird has gained my trust, and she follows me from tree to tree as I beat brush and try to spook out rabbits or squirrels, and she is able to chase and hopefully connect, giving us a successful hunt. And if Ella doesn’t catch any game, it still is good for her to get out because it allows her to use her muscles, and get exercise as if she were out in the wild. I enjoy seeing my red-tail chase either game because she is a really good hunter. Ella follows me and is right with me if I was to spook something, but a lot of time as I’m walking through the woods, I may spook something way ahead of me that I may not see, but my bird will see it and will chase it. It is important to always make sure you know where your bird is in the woods and whether it’s down on the game or not. While hunting, our birds wear bells and a transmitter. The bells allow us to hear where our birds are, and if they go down on the game, we can hopefully locate the bird on the ground. The bird also wears a transmitter so if she was to fly further away towards an animal she saw in the distance or was to get bumped out by a resident red-tail, we would be able to track her down and locate her.”

Image

(Ella with a rabbitFalcon and Preybit kill)

Sarah walked me through the process of how to get started. (Although different states and regions will likely vary) “In order to get into falconry, you need to take a test through the Department of Natural Resources in your state. You must pass this test with a score of 80%. The next step is to find a sponsor. A sponsor is a person who has been a falconer for 4 years, and willing to teach you their ways of falconry and is there to answer questions. Once you find a sponsor, then you will build a mew, which is their hawk house. There are certain requirements for a mew such as windows and perches, and once the falconers’ mew is complete, the mew must be inspected by a game warden. Once the game warden passes you, then you are eligible to get your permit to trap. Here in Michigan, we have to pay $100 a year to maintain our license. Once all the big things are taken care of, then you can gather up the gear you need, and be tying nooses and making your trap, as anticipation of trapping begins. As an apprentice falconer, you are allowed to trap an immature red-tail or a kestrel (here in Michigan). Once you become a general, you are able to have different types of birds and more than one at a time. You then become a master falconer after 5 years. A lot of states require apprentices to have at least 12 months of experience (2 seasons) before they become a general. As a falconer, you can keep your bird however long you want. If your bird turns out to be a good hunter their first year, a lot of falconers will keep their bird the next season because the bird will be an even better hunter because it knows what to do. I knew a falconer who kept a bird for 21 seasons before he retired the bird back to the wild.”

Training a wild hawk sounds impressive and difficult. Sarah explained how to do it in a step by step fashion. “Like any other opening day, the start of trapping is a big day for the falconer. We have prepped all summer by locating where the immature red-tails are hanging out. As the big day finally comes, you will find all if not most of the falconers out trying to locate their bird. We create a trap called a BC, which is a style of a throw-able trap that can we throw out the window. It consists of some type of mesh that we can put gerbils or mice in, and then we tie nooses that are created from fishing line, and this traps the bird. A lot of times, the birds will be sitting on telephone poles or trees close to the high way, so this allows us to drive past them, pull our binoculars out, and identify whether an immature or a mature red-tail. Once we identify that it’s an immature bird, we throw out the trap, drive and turn around, and a lot of time once you turn around, the bird will already be on the trap. We wait for the bird to dance a little on the trap, and once it tries to fly away and can’t, that’s when we go in and get the bird off the trap. We inspect it to see if it’s healthy and if it’s a bird that we want to keep.

“Once we determine that it’s a bird we want, we then put equipment on the bird, and sit with it right away so the bird can know that we aren’t here to hurt it. The goal is for the bird to eat from us, and the earlier the better. Once the bird has eaten off the glove, we then continue this for a few days, gaining the birds’ trust. After the bird gets used to feeding off the glove, we then do jump-ups. These consist of jump ups where the bird is lower than the falconer, and the bird has to jump up to its food. A few of these, and then we move to tidbits, which is training with little bits of meat. This allows us to call our birds down to us while hunting and we reward them with tidbits, then we move on to creance training. This is where the bird is tethered to a rope and the bird flies anywhere from 50-100 yards in an instant. The goal here is for the bird to be hungry and to come to the falconer with no hesitation. Some days the bird may be too fat and may not respond to come right away, and this lets the falconer know that the bird needs to lower its weight. The whole objective for falconry is based on weight management. Our goal as Falconer is to find that weight that the bird will respond too. If the bird is too heavy, the bird will not be interested in hunting or flying and will just sit like a bump on a log. Once the bird does well with creance training by flying right to the falconer, we then know it’s time for the birds’ first free flight.” The idea of a chubby hawk made me laugh. I had no idea that a bird could eat enough to make it weigh too much to fly.

Sarah continued to explain the training, “We then train the bird to come to the lure. This is a big piece of meat that is used in an emergency. This consists of a big meal indicating that the bird will come down. Sometimes a resident bird may come into the hunting area and your bird may not like it, or the bird could be aggressive, or something else could go wrong, that the lure is our safety net. The lure is also used if the hunt was unsuccessful and we have to call our bird down after a hunt. We then throw out the lure, and our bird is rewarded for its efforts. Also, a lot of falconers birds catch game after each and every hunt, and then the lure is used for a trade off to get their bird off the kill and onto the lure so the fresh kill can be placed in our vests and stored away for a later time for food. This is when the bird is not connected to the falconer in anyway. The bird is perched and could fly away at any time, but the goal is for the bird to come instantly. This is always a scary time for the falconer because this shows whether our training has paid off or not. Once the bird comes to the falconer, with it being free, we then know we are ready for hunting.

“Training takes between 3-5 weeks, depending on the attitude of the bird. Falconry is based off rewards. Like dogs, the birds come to us because of food. We reward them for their training, their work, their trust. And there are times that we don’t reward them because of bad behavior. Myself, as a falconer, I have a whistle that I blow that indicates that I have tidbits, or that I’m calling my bird to me. I also use a whistle to indicate to my bird that I am calling her to the lure. This is a long blow, and often times the bird sees me get the lure out before I blow, and the bird is already on her way to me. Once the bird lands on the lure, I then go and clip her in and attach her back to her rope. If I wasn’t to attach to her to me, and she was to eat the lure and fly back into a tree, she would be too heavy and wouldn’t come down to me. I would have to wait overnight and try and go back and get her in the morning. Generally, red-tails stay in the same area overnight. She would burn off energy overnight, and would be hungry enough to come down to food in the morning.”

Sarah said that often landowners will ask her to come onto their land and will join in on a hunt, happy to see pest species like rabbit and squirrel numbers toned down. It’s important to hunt from several different areas and to rotate frequently. This helps to ensure that prey numbers are sufficient and that the prey doesn’t get too used to having such a skilled predator right at their doorstep. Frozen food is used also. Hunters will keep frozen food on hand to supplement during the offseason. Also, some hunters will take the kill, give the bird a reward, and save the harvested animal for food during the offseason. This provides essential nutrients that help the bird plump up and molt during the offseason.

Falconry is a beautiful partnership that is beneficial to both sides. As a hunter, you benefit from the experience and the superior hunting skills of your bird. And the bird benefits too because you are helping to train him to be a better hunter. Up to 80% of red-tails don’t make it during their first year in the wild, so keeping a bird for a couple of seasons is an excellent way of helping nurture the population and providing healthy mature birds to repopulate. Some falconers release their bird after each year, some after two, and some keep their birds up to 20 years. “Each bird has their own attitude and will react to things differently, whether towards colors, or other birds. They may pick up on things they don’t like. I have a falconry friend whose bird is extremely picky and wont hunt with men who have beards. The bird seems to fly away when he is near or when he out hunting with them.”

“The bird itself is very intelligent and it shows while out in the field. The bird follows well and stays with me as I’m pushing game, and a lot of time, the bird sees the game before I see it. As falconers, we have a game call that we say when we spook game, “Ho, Ho, Ho”. And the bird responds and moves up if needed, or chases.” Falconers listen for the squeal of the rabbit to know that the bird has managed to make a catch! “Once the bird itself has caught a rabbit or a squirrel, it’s our job as falconers to run and dispatch the game immediately. The squirrel can do damage to the birds’ talons or body so it is important that we kill it fast and humanely.”

A lot is involved in having a hawk as a hunting partner: daily weigh in, almost daily hunting, daily feeding, cleaning the mew, sitting a minimum of an hour each day with the bird to gain trust, etc. Sarah says “It’s a great hobby but it is a big, big responsibility!” It is a little pricey to begin with. Constructing the mew, the fencing for the weather yard, hoods, jesses, anklets, receiver, transmitter, permits, frozen food, etc – but the bond with the bird is priceless and is an investment into conservation and wise wildlife management.

“You do develop a bond with your bird. It is a trust bond. I am out hunting with my bird, and she is free, up in the trees following me as I am the brush beater down below trying to flush out game. She can fly away from me at any given time, but she decides and continues to stay with me because I act as her mate. We are working together. It also is amazing to see a falconer, bird and dog work together. And the sport has allowed me to gain lifelong friends, and share the sport of kings that we all love so much.”

 Sarah and Falcon
Image

(Sarah Molnar and her hawk, Ella)

If you would like to follow Sarah and Ella on their hawking journey, check out her Instagram and give her a follow!

Leading the Way: Five of the Best Female Hunters

By: M. Ashley Evans

My article was originally published here: https://henoutdoors.com/blog/leading-the-way-5-of-the-worlds-best-women-hunters/

Historically, hunting was a male-dominated sport. For decades, women hunters were marginalized in the Outdoorsman arena. The number of women hunters is growing rapidly – and is the top trend in hunting sports today. That is in part thanks to some amazing women who have won some of the top awards available in this sport. There are a number of awards that can be given to world-class hunters. The Weatherby Award is the world’s most coveted and prestigious hunting award because it is one of the most difficult to achieve. Not only is the quality of each animal harvested judged, the number and variety of species are considered, the more difficult-to-hunt species are a heavy consideration, and a requirement that game from every continent is included. Conservation is a majorly important factor. Not only has each nominee supported conservation by spending hundreds of thousands in purchasing the licenses/fees/taxes, etc. for each individual hunt – but there have to be large donations to specific conservation programs. These programs are focused on protection and propagation of endangered wildlife. Each nominee has to be highly involved in educating the next generation of hunters through school programs, 4-H, scouts etc.

The Weatherby Award nominees also have to show exemplary character and sportsmanship in the field – a life of integrity, commitment to fair chase, strong ethics, and a solid reputation. Each year only 6 nominees are considered, and the highest point total in all categories is chosen for the recipient of this most elite of hunting awards. The Weatherby Foundation’s newsletter once printed “What’s It Take To Win The Weatherby Award: It is easy, climb a few million feet, walk a few thousand miles, spend years away from home, family, and work, usually in a foreign land. Travel for days on icy, gravel mountain roads in old jeeps or SUV’s full of other people’s cigarette smoke. Endure hundreds of searches in airports, borders and military checkpoints. Get sick or hurt, lose luggage and suffer delays too numerous to mention. Sound like fun? It is. It is a passion and way of life for a few very fortunate people.”

These female pioneers have not only beat tremendous odds in learning and mastering their skills, but they have exhibited such a drive for conservation and for educating others that they without a doubt should be heroes, not just for women, but for everyone who has a passion for hunting.

1) Suzie Brewster

Suzie Brewster photo courtesy of NRA News

Suzie Brewster is a remarkable lady. She did not have the privilege of growing up in a family who hunted – but her husband did. As the years passed and their family grew, the Brewster’s developed Day-After-Christmas Hunting Tradition. Bill and the children hunted and Suzie enjoyed traveling with them. One year, flight schedules were rearranged, the children had to board a different plane home. Tragically, their plane crashed. Suzie realized that for her husband to heal and be able to love his beloved sport again – he would need a hunting companion. So, she jumped in with enthusiasm, determined to be her husband’s very best partner.

Suzie and Bill have traveled the world going on a total of 37 safaris. She has hunted on 6 continents, in 34 countries, and has harvested more than 220 species. She still loves to shoot turkey and quail near their home in Marietta or in the fields of Texas. Suzie became a pro in the field. She has won the Dallas Safari Club Outstanding Hunting Achievement Award – the highest award given by the organization. Suzie has also won the NRA’s Sybil Ludington Freedom Award, which honors achievements in education and promoting Second Amendment Rights at a national level as well as SCI’s Diana Award. Suzie is the only woman to have received all three of these awards. While on safari, Suzie and Bill participate in as many humanitarian activities as they can. While traveling from village to village, they love to bring clothing and toys to children. Educating the next generation of Outdoorsmen has been a primary goal for the couple. Bill served in Congress and on the NRA Board of Directors. Suzie helped found the Washington Women’s Shooting Club and co-chair of the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum since it began over 10 years ago.

2) Barbara Sackman

barbara sackman

Barbara Sackman is another woman of great renown amongst hunters. She has 191 world records in the SCI Record Book. And she won the 2015 Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award – one of only two women to ever have received it. She has also won the Diana Award, SCI Conservation Award, Magnum Villamanin Award, ORVIS 20 Award, Capra Super 20 Award, etc. Interestingly enough, her husband Alan has also won the coveted Weatherby Award – which marks the first time ever both a husband and wife have won the award.

Barbara and her husband, like many avid hunters, only harvest older specimens of each species – which is great stewardship and helps with conservation. Older males will dominate over the younger ones in their chance to mate. But in order to ensure a healthy new generation, it is wise to use younger, more vital, males with healthier genes. Barbara is passionate about conservation – she was once interviewed and said, that she was “almost embarrassed to say how much (she) paid to harvest that sheep (in Nebraska), but every red cent goes to conservation and the welfare of the sheep herd. That means an awful lot. The hunter is a huge conservationist, more so than anyone else.” Big game hunts, like sheep in Nebraska, can cost well over $100,000, which is a wonderful contribution towards the health of that sheep species. Barbara is a skilled hunter and has harvested Kudu, Roosevelt Elk, Polar Bear, Nile Crocodile, African Lion, and Leopard.

3) Caroline Pruitt

Caroline Pruitt photo courtesy of Outdoorlife

At age 12, she went on an African Safari with her father and shot an Impala – and she was hooked. On that hunt, she was able to harvest 9 animals – most of which was taken with the first shot. Only four years later, Caroline Pruitt won the 2010 Youngest Hunter Award from SCI and Cabellas. Only two teenagers in the world are chosen for this award each year. At age 14, she had 18 entries in the SCI Record Book and had harvested over 50 big game specimens including Leopard, Wildebeest, and American Bison. She hunted the American Bison with a .44 Magnum. Caroline has hunted with various other weapons including a rifle, muzzleloader, crossbow, compound bow, and longbow. She is the only woman recorded to hunt a Gredos Ibex and a Muskox with a Longbow, which has become her hunting weapon of choice since 2011.

Caroline is passionate about hunting – and strives to be a great example to others. She has not let her busy schedule in traveling across five continents neglect her education – she maintained high grades. Caroline has a heart for helping others, whether it is training new hunters at Meadow Ridge Archery and Gun or donating the meat from her hunts locally and abroad. Hunters all over the world watch in eager expectation to see what the years have in store for this prodigy.

4) Renee Snider

Renee Snider photo courtsy of the Conklin Foundation

One of the most accomplished hunters in history – who has received an astounding number of awards, is Renee. In 2006 she was the first female to win the Golden Malik Award for taking “free range and on-foot” all big game species found in the South Pacific. She won the 2012 Diana Award. 2013 was the year that Renee became the first woman to receive the OVIS Award. In 2014, the Weatherby Award had its 57th anniversary. That year Renee Snider became not only the first female recipient of the award – but she had the highest number of big game animals harvested by anyone who had ever won the Weatherby. That same year, she won the Ullman Magnum Award for collecting European big game species and she was the first woman to be inducted into the highly prestigious Mountain Hall of Fame from the Wild Sheep Foundation. In 2015, Renee won the SCI World Conservation and Hunting Award. In 2016, she was the first woman to earn the Pantheon Award from SCI and GSCO. 2017 was the year that she won the International Hunting Award from SCI, Super 40 Capra from GSCO, as well as the Super 39 Ovis from GSCO. That same year, Rene won the Conklin Award from SCI. This award is “for the dedication of pursuing big game in the most rugged terrain under the most difficult and demanding conditions while maintaining the highest standard of ethics, adhering to the rules of fair chase, and showing a true conservation stewardship for the big game animals of the world.”

Renee has raised millions to aid disabled and disadvantaged children. She has been on the board of directors for the Help-A-Child Foundation, River Oak Center for Children, Conklin Foundation and the Weatherby Foundation International. She makes every effort to use each hunt as a venture in not only conservation but in humanitarian efforts. She loves to bring medical supplies and administers first aid – in many villages she has been the only source of medical aid they had ever seen. Renee is an amazing lady who goes above and beyond when it comes to trying to make a difference in the world.

5) Brenda Valentine

Brenda Valentine photo courtesy of Tuskessee Outdoor Expo

Last but certainly not least, is Brenda Valentine, the “First Lady of Hunting.” Brenda is down to earth and passionate about conservation and introducing women and children to the sport. She is from Tennessee, where hunting and being in the woods is a way of life. She is proficient with a large number of firearms and has won dozens of national and regional 1st place awards in archery competitions. She is an award-winning speaker, author, photographer, and TV co-host. It truly seems like there is not anything that Brenda doesn’t excel at. She is the National Spokesperson for the National Wild turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors program, the only woman to receive the Knight Rifle Master Hunter Award, a member of Bass Pro Shops’ RedHead Professional Hunting Team, Paris/Henry Co. Sports Hall of Fame, Women in the Outdoors Leadership Award, AMVETS Silver Bayonet Award, etc. In 2012, she was the only woman chosen by the Department of Defense to take part in the Outdoor Legends Tour II. This was a great honor, as it is a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation to active troops in southwest Asia and in Afghanistan as well as those military members who were hospitalized in Germany.

Even with all these accomplishments, Brenda remains humble and eager to help others. She hosts hunts for the disabled, supports wounded veteran projects, and loves to teach women and children about hunting and the outdoors. Brenda has designated hundreds of acres of her land to be a part of a Mossy Oak Gamekeeping project. She stays very busy with public speaking and loves to speak on the importance of conservation, land preservation, wildlife management, and patriotism.

Anything Is Possible!

These are remarkable women who have excelled in their art. Not only have they become phenomenal outdoorswomen, proficient in marksmanship, and excellent at tracking and pursuit but they have excelled so far as to win many awards that historically only men have won. Several did so while raising a family and while making a difference in their communities – their success is amazing. These women should be held up as mentors – to show others that anything is possible, even succeeding in the most difficult of terrains and winning the most elite of hunting awards. All while using their talents to focus on the gravely important task of conservation and education.leading-the-way_

The New Calvanism Book Review

As featured in Top Christian Books website https://www.topchristianbooks.online/the-new-calvinism-book-review/

The New Calvinism

by Conrad Mbewe, John Buice, Paul Washer, Steven J. Lawson, Tim Challies

Book Overview

“Will the New Calvinism last?” A focus on sola Scriptura, ecclesiology and commitment to the local church, pursuit of holiness, the work of the Holy Spirit in ministry and living, and a call to biblical discernment: without these things New Calvinism is just a fad.

Who should read this?

This book is written not only for the members of the Reformed/New Calvinism movement but for anyone who is wondering what this movement is about. How is the caricature of the bearded pastor with a cigar and tattoos not just some fleeting church fad? Is there any depth and truth to the movement? What are the goals and standards in New Calvinism? What are the dangers this movement faces?

SUMMARY

The book opens with a clear cut introduction chapter that shouldn’t be missed.  It frames the setup for the book, noting that this resurgence of Calvinism includes the following: 1) inerrancy of Scripture, 2) authority of Scripture, 3) high view of God, and 4) global missions.  This modern resurgence mirrors so much of the Reformation – people are being driven to a pursuit of holiness with a bold and unwavering resolve to support the sole authority and inerrancy of the Scriptures.

“When Christ rules a person’s heart, holiness is a byproduct. The public behavior that demonstrates a loose tongue along with other immature behavioral characteristics does not display a heart that is under submission.”

The echoing question amongst the New Calvinists is – will this movement last?  This book discusses the problems facing New Calvinism and what the movements focus should stay at, if it is to last.  Dr. Josh Buice does an excellent job at editing the material. He wrote the introduction and the first chapter. Other authors each contributed a chapter.  The authors include Paul Washer, Dr. Steven J. Lawson, Dr. Conrad Mbewe, and Tim Challies.

Sola Scriptura is the heart and soul of the Reformation. “If the scriptures are not trustworthy, how can we know the truth of our human depravity, the glory of Jesus’ substitutionary death, and the amazing grace of God granted to depraved sinners?”  Today, you can witness hundreds of enthusiastic believers attending conferences all over the US – hungry for Scripture and for sound doctrine.  And praise the Lord for it! But even amidst this, lurk pastors who have fallen prey to the slippery slope of pragmatism, the charming allure of mysticism, cultural trendiness as a means of evangelism, and other fallacies.

“The world will never think the gospel is cool. If the New Calvinism movement is indeed a new reformation, the people who make up this movement must stop accommodating their culture and boldly preach the Scriptures.  The Gospel will never be palatable to depraved sinners apart from a spiritual resurrection performed by God. As we study the world of God in conversion, we must admit that the church’s cultural trends are not what brought a person to a saving knowledge of the gospel.”  If our battle cry of Sola Scriptura is indeed the heart and soul of New Calvinism – then we must remember that doctrine matters!! – if we let this slip, the church suffers greatly.

“The health of the church is always connected to the health of the pulpit.  If men who stand in the pulpit are ashamed to preach the Word, their disciples will likewise learn to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”  Being Reformed is not simply being a Calvinist – its embracing Sola Scriptura and applying it to every aspect of one’s life and faith.

The danger in conferences is that many of the immature believers will have more preference for them over their local church. Conferences are amazing – it’s such a blessing to get to attend, to fellowship with so many likeminded brothers and sisters.  It’s encouraging to get to see our heroes in the faith – and maybe even snap a selfie with them. It’s spiritually refreshing; a spa day for your soul. But it cannot be held in higher esteem than your own church. Serving enthusiastically in your local church is paramount.   “If we are not committed to a local congregation of believers we are not walking in the center of God’s will.”

This concept is seen in Hebrews 10:24-25 ‘and let us consider how to stimulate one another in love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

“The key word here is ‘committed’.  The command is not fulfilled by mere attendance but by our active participation in the growth and sanctification of the body.  We should never think that we are doing God’s will simply because we attend a church with sound theology and expository preaching and are frequently involved in theological conversations with our peers.  We are committed when we are actually ministering in the church under the direction of the elders who for the sake of the least of Christ’s brethren, even those who do not share our interests in high theological dialog, but are simply struggling to make it down the road to Zion.  If we do not love the most broken, needy, and theologically inept brethren in the local church, then our love for the church and for Christ Himself is in question.”

Purity is essential.  Scriptures abound in direct commands to stay pure. While salvation is monergistic, sanctification is synergistic. We do have a responsibility. Colossians 3:2 tells us to keep our mind pure by setting them on things above.  Ephesians 6:16 says to keep our heart pure we have to resist the flaming arrow of the evil one. 1 Peter 2:11 says we strive to keep our souls pure from lusts of the flesh.

“Our innermost being must be driven by the desire to know God and follow Christ by the power of the spirit.  Every Christian must cultivate his own spiritual life before God in order to bring Him glory.” Many people reject the concept of holiness because it sounds too legalistic. But the pursuit of personal holiness is nothing like legalism – which separates the grace of God from the law of God.

“When we isolate divine grace from divine law, we fail to see the infinite love of God that stands behind the commands He issues. When this unbiblical divorce takes place, we view His commands as burdensome, too heavy to bear.” Some people oppose legalism to such an extreme that they take their “Christian liberties” too far and have caused damage.

Purity starts with our minds being prepared for serving the Lord.  We must keep our minds pure from the worldly influence. “There can be no loose thinking that is disconnected from the whole truth of scripture. Neither can there be any doctrines neglected. Nor must there be any worldly beliefs allowed to infiltrate our minds. We must master the whole truth of Scripture, and its whole truth, must master us.” We have to be in total control of our minds, not inebriated or emotionally unstable.

We must have sound judgment and a submissive, obedient heart. This growth in holiness is centrally focused on the expectant Hope in the return of Christ. One aspect of the Holy Spirit is His goal of conforming us into the image of Christ. He empowers us to serve Him with a joyful heart.  Personal holiness is an act of spiritual empowerment.

ANALYSIS

I thought the book was excellent – quite emboldening.  It’s not a light read – but one that you want to savor slowly and meditate upon.  It was encouraging in that this book provides a sense of unity to the centrality of the New Calvinism movement.  There are so many variations to the movement that it is crucial that we understand what it IS and ISN’T. This book did an excellent job in describing just that.

I would highly recommend this book to pastors who are not Calvinists – simply because there is so much misinformation out there about Calvinism and this could shed some light on the issue. The book could also encourage them, likewise, to focus on sola Scriptura, commitment to the local church, pursuit of Holiness, Holy Spirit empowerment in ministry, and biblical discernment.

The only negative thing I can say is that I had a bit of trouble following some parts of the chapter that Dr. Conrad Mbewe wrote on the Holy Spirit empowerment.  It is a subject that is crucial to study and to have a firm grasp on in this age of counterfeit prosperity gospels. And perhaps it was just his style of writing, or that there is a need for multiple book volumes to cover it as deeply as is required of the content?   I have heard him speak in person and thoroughly enjoy his material – but this chapter was a little hard to follow his train of thought.

CONCLUSION

This book is vital for all Reformed believers to read.  We must remain focused on the centrality of Scripture – and not get lost in the charismatic mysticism, the “hip” churches that focus on emotional enticement, non-essential ministries, etc.

“When our culture laughs at our gospel, we must not apologize, dumb down, or so contextualize the gospel the offense of the cross is veiled from the eyes of sinful men.  We must do the work of discipleship, apologetics, evangelism, missions, and gospel preaching with the confidence that God’s Word is our authority and as ambassadors of the King – we will not remain silent.  The battle cry of the Reformation was sola Scriptura. May it be said of us that we are people of the Book – unflinching on the inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of God’s Word. The battle over the Bible continues today, will you be found faithful?”

FAVORITE QUOTES

• Page 31 – “When pragmatism overshadows theology, the end result will be compromise.  The need of the hour is for our orthopraxy to match our orthodoxy. When pastors capitulate on sola Scriptura, the entire church suffers.  This methodological shift will affect everyone from the children to the senior adults.  We are guilty of creating functional atheism when we distance ourselves from the authority and reliability of God’s Word.  New Calvinists are not being confused with theological liberals by any stretch, but the cultural pressures to lighten up and avoid taking the Bible to seriously are perpetually present – even among the New Calvinism movement.   All true preachers of God’s Word feel a certain pressure to avoid being too preachy.  Meanwhile, liberals are awaiting children from evangelicals’ churches, and with open arms they receive a new crop of them onto the university campuses each fall.  Once these students are isolated from their homes and their local churches, professors go on immediate attack against the authority of God’s Word. Much like Satan in the Garden of Eden, they arrogantly cast doubt upon the reliability of God’s Word.”

• Page 64 – “The local church will in some measure take upon itself the doctrine, character, and piety of its ministers – for good or evil. We should pray that our influence over the church would increase only to the degree that we increase in fear of the Lord and in submission to what is written in His Word.  Let there be no soiled rag of flesh on our bodies and nothing of our own cleverness in our mouths, for as ministers we do have influence, and as ministers we will be called to give an account before the throne of the living God with regard to how we have cared for His most precious possession! How then can we know how to conduct ourselves in our care of God’s household?  It is only through what is written in His Word. It is only under the infallible guidance of sola Scriptura. Paul wrote to Timothy ‘I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God.’  Therefore, the more closely we submit ourselves to what is written, the clearer our conscience will be, and the more confidence we will possess.  Consequently, the more we stray from the direct commands of Scripture and give ourselves to our own inventions, the more we open ourselves to Christ’s reprimand.”

• Page 66 – “… let me remind you of two unalterable truths, whose interpretation are not open to debate.  The first is that we will be judged, and for some ministers, this will result in the loss of everything except our souls.  The second is that the only infallible standard by which we are to guide our conduct in the church is the written Word of God.  The further we stray from it, and the more we take away from it or add to it, the less confidence we can have that we will pass through judgment unscathed.”

• Page 73 – “… there is more teaching in Scripture regarding how one is to live the Christian life than how one is to become a Christian. … God is, first and foremost, more concerned with what He is doing in us than with what He is doing through us.  He is fundamentally concerned with our godliness before He is with our giftedness.  He is of first importance, more interested in our spirituality than in our productivity.  This is to say, God is principally focused upon the depth of our maturity before the breadth of our ministry.”

• Page 80 – “Being glib in preaching is valued over having gravitas. I believe it can be shown that this casual thinking about God has led to the new casual worship of God.  Moreover, the pulpit is more a dialogue than a declaration. A heavy dose of being sober in spirit is much needed medicine today.”

• Page 101 – “The historic reformed position took it for granted that the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit – such as speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, miraculous healing, etc – had ceased with the passing on of the apostles in Bibles times.  Notice that this does not mean God cannot do something extraordinary or miraculous, especially in answer to the prayer of God’s people. He is God! He can do all things. Rather this refers to the cessation of the gifts being embodied in individuals so that they are empowered to do the extraordinary in an ongoing way as was the case with the apostles.  So any seeking of spiritual empowerment that suggests the restoration of such gifts must be biblically misinformed.”

• Page 115 – “This enthusiasm for sound doctrine is a mark of Gods favor and blessing.  The inadequacy of the church growth movement is directly related to its inadequate theology and the failure of the Emerging Church was inevitable because of its failure to embrace sound doctrine. New Calvinism, though, is built upon the firm foundation of the historic doctrine of the Christian faith.  God has awakened people who for far too long have been content with poor theology and I am convinced that He will use these now awakened Christians to approach the world with missionary fervor.”

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