August 2, 2017

Wager on Hitting Targets the Uncle Willis' Way

With fall just around the corner and more favorable weather conditions for hunting and shooting within our grasp, it is time to reflect on ways to tweak the techniques required to hit more targets.

The following item is a tasty bit of information about the subject from my upcoming book "Shootin' and Cookin' With Old Boots & Bacon Grease.

Enjoy the tip and the recipe.

Ol’ Uncle Willis was a pretty decent country shooter who was quite adapt at bringing home a mess of rabbits or squirrels that he had bagged with his .22-caliber rifle.

Like a lot of us old timers who started our shooting careers when bringing home dinner was a lot more important than bringing home a trophy, making every shot count was a priority. The prospect of an empty stomach can be quite an incentive to developing shooting skills.

When he did take time to practice his skills, there was often a wager involved – might as well make a little dough if you are not going to be filling the cooking pot.

One of his regular money-making tests of skill was to bet a shooting companion that he could hit a dime – off-hand – with his iron-sighted rifle at a range of 100 yards.

Many a fellow country boy jumped at the chance to take a dollar or two from Uncle Willis in the belief that the shooting feat was impossible.

With the wager on the table, Uncle Willis would take a dime, tape it to the end of a large, heavy metal funnel and walk off the 100 yards to place his target on a stump or fence post. Disregarding any protests (nobody said he could not use a funnel), he would come back to the shooting line and confidently send a bullet into the funnel knowing that the slug would smack the dime.

There are a couple of lessons to be learned from this shooting feat. First, don’t ever try to win money in a shooting competition from an old country boy who shoots for food and not for fun; and second, always be prepared to take every advantage you can in order to hit a target.

While trying to use a funnel on clay targets might be a little difficult, a shooter should always look for the best foot position, hold point, break point or shooting window to smack the clay at the spot where it is easiest to see and break.

Plan your point of attack on each target as if you had a wager on the outcome to give you further incentive to make the break.

In honor the shooting skills of Uncle Willis and his love for black walnuts, the following recipe is one that combines a couple of interesting ingredients to make a winning taste treat.

Ralph’s Rum Raisin Cookies

1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup spiced rum
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup black walnuts

Pour the raisins in a measuring cup and cover with the rum. Allow to soak overnight. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, mixing well. Stir in the walnuts and rum-soaked raisins. Roll the batter into balls about the size of a hulled black walnut (about 1/2 inch across) and bake a dozen at a time at 350 degrees for nine minutes.

Now, let's get cooking!