GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - If you didn't bag a buck during open firearm season then get a muzzle loader ready for the black powder season starting Dec. 4.
Merle Shoemaker with Al & Bob's Sports understands bagging a buck with these primitive weapons can be difficult because you only get one shot before having to reload, but it gives outdoorsmen an extended period of time to kill a trophy deer with a unique and traditional style of hunting. Merle said even the most experienced hunters take 30 seconds to reload a muzzleloader, and by that time, the deer being hunted is probably gone. Muzzleloaders have a shorter barrel than rifles, giving them a 250 to 300 yards of accuracy. The gunpowder season is sanctioned by DNR based on how many deer they're expecting to be hunted, so take your shot carefully.
New muzzle loaders will allow you access to the breach plugs giving you full access to clean the barrel, while older more traditional muzzleloaders need to be taken apart and soaked in the bathtub with soap and water to be cleaned. Merle said you'll need to clean your muzzleloader after about ten shots because of how corrosive the gun powder is.
Just one more week to enter the Big Buck Photo Contest on Al & Bob's Sports Facebook page. This week's winners were Jacob Caldwell and Brad Van Sledright.