Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Hazelnuts, 16 gauge shotguns and Bald Eagles

Hazelnuts (or filberts) lose viability as seeds if they are allowed to dry out. These nuts are residing in my refrigerator. I will add damp peatmoss in late October and let them stratify for the rest of the winter. NY-398 (aka, Gene) is the most likely pollinator of these nuts.
I picked hazelnuts from one of my bushes, a variety called Yamhill.

I will vouch that Yamhill is a very productive variety. This is a couple of pounds off a bush that is 42" in diameter and about seven feet tall.

I am still harvesting red squirrels. I got one this morning. He had acquired a taste for pear seeds. I got him as he crossed from the 1/4 acre of black walnut trees over to one of my pear trees. I lost count but he was number seven or number eight.

I used Belladonna's weapon-of-choice, a 16 gauge, single-shot shotgun.

Sixteen gauge shotguns
We had a new chain store open up in the Lansing area. Gander Mountain "reorganized" and Sportsmans Warehouse picked up some of their locations.

Sportsmans Warehouse has reloading supplies! I picked up 25 pounds of #7 shot. I fiddled around reloading for Bella's 16 gauge but did not get very good patterns with #4 shot and wanted to try smaller shot. Back in the day, I killed many a rabbit with #7-1/2 shot out of a 20 gauge.
I am much happier with how the 16 gauge patterned at 25 paces with #7 shot. One ounce of shot, 18.5 grains of Unique powder, Z-16 wad. You can click on the pictures to embiggen.

I cannot imagine a rabbit squirming through the light spots in the center of this pattern. A very lucky red squirrel might, but not a rabbit.

My good fortune continued. I was cruising the internet when I learned that Lee Precision makes a Load-All in 16 gauge AND sells an adapter kit for changing a 12 or 20 gauge Load-All into one for a 16 gauge. The adapter kit is a steal at $22.

Lucky me! I have an extra 12 gauge reloader I will flip over to 16. I also have a supply of BPI Z-16 wads, Remington hulls, primers and powder. Incidentally, the old Sweet Sixteen is still quite popular in Europe and especially in Britain.

Bald Eagles
I was driving Kubota over to Charlotte to see if his iPhone could be fixed when I got a call from the Captain.

He had gotten a call from Mrs Captain. She had been driving north on Canal Road when the vehicle in front of her struck a Bald Eagle that had been feasting on a road-kill.

Bald Eagles are as common as seagulls in some places but they are not common in this part of Michigan.

She told the Captain that the bird was still alive and flopping around in the ditch.

The bullet vehicle did not stop. Mrs Captain had an appointment she could not miss.

The Captain's father just entered hospice. The Captain kidnapped him and they were making one last trip "up-north" before the inevitable. The Captain was forty miles away and had bigger fish to fry. So he called me.

I handed my phone to Kubota who called The Wild Side, a local wildlife rehabilitation center. Yes they rehabilitated raptors. Yes, they would see if they could save the eagle.

Then, not three minutes later, Kubota saw a DNR pickup truck pulling into a gas station in Potterville. He directed me to pull in behind him and let him know about the eagle.

The officer thought it would be worth his time to check it out. He must have had enough gas in the tank to make the ten mile drive to the reported impact site.
Picture of the 8-year-old, female eagle from the Wildside Facebook page.
I called the Wild Side today. To my surprise, they found the bird. "...Yes we have her she cannot stand right now but nothing is broken... " so that is good news.

Cell phones can be very handy. Time elapsed between the car-strike and the wildlife rehabilitation center getting the call was probably less than five minutes.

Time from the car strike and the DNR showing up was probably fifteen minutes.


  1. I've got a 16 ga side by side mod/full choke and did real well with #6 shot when I chased rabbits and grouse in the north east. Tend to take the .22 for both up here in Alaska. I reload pistol and rifle but never tried shotgun. I'd unlimber the shotgun if getting game meant eating or not.


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