Skip to main content

Squirrels & Smoke! A Rare Way To Chase Bushytails

There's just something special about flintlocks; they represent self-reliance and satisfaction you don't get from modern firearms.

Squirrels & Smoke! A Rare Way To Chase Bushytails

Rich DeFalco Jr. grew up like many of us—a youngster who hunted deer and small game with his father. And while archery was his first hunting love, he quickly became enamored with the timeless tradition of shooting a muzzleloader. Being especially fond of hunting small game, he would soon combine these two favored pastimes and embark upon a unique pursuit.

flintlock_bushytails_-_chris_ingram-10

"With big-game hunting, you load the gun and sit for hours. But with small game, you get to shoot. You're constantly doing something, walking around, shooting and reloading. I still hunt all three different deer seasons and I use all types of modern firearms, but I always come back to muzzleloading. I don't get the same satisfaction from modern firearms that I do with a flintlock. It's just so cool to me to run around the same ground with the same firearm that people did back in the 1700s. In some of the places where our country's independence was won as well."

It’s just after sunrise on a frosty, windless late-December morning at DeFalco’s favorite squirrel haunt. Outfitted in late-season snow camouflage, he methodically tramps through the woods, periodically stopping to look and listen for signs of squirrel activity. Shooting black powder commands patience. Unlike using a modern, repeating shotgun or scoped and cartridge-crammed rifle, traditional muzzleloading reduces effective killing ranges, decreases accuracy and significantly slows reload times—but that’s also part of the appeal.

flintlock_bushytails_-_chris_ingram-3

"The flintlock represents self-reliance. A traditional prepper's weapon. With a percussion gun, you're going to need caps, and you're not going to be making them on your own. With a flinlock, as long as you have a piece of quartz, all you need is a little black powder and something to shove down the barrel and you have yourself a gun."

DeFalco continues, "There's just something about flintlocks. It's what everybody thinks of as traditional muzzleloading. For me, it's the whole era - the 18th century and America's infancy during the colonial period. I'm holding something that was used before our country was even established."

"It forces you to get closer and pick and choose your shots when your open sighted with one shot. If you have a scoped .22 rifle, you wouldn't think twice about taking every shot you could. It also keeps you more in tune to use your sends and you become a better hunter."

flintlock_bushytails_-_chris_ingram-20

The climax of hunting with a flintlock crests when the quartz strikes the frizzen. Sparks ignite the iconic “flash in the pan” as the black powder burns fast, hot and bright through a tiny hole in the barrel to forcefully fire the lead ball that speeds out en route to its target.

The blazing heat of the flash warms your face as it flares up in your field of view. Your heart skips a beat at the crack of the powder charge igniting and rapid gas expansion that violently ejects the ball from the muzzle encompassed by sparks. The pungent, alchemic aroma of spent powder lingers in the air as the shot echoes through the timber. This all—at least for a fleeting moment—sends you back in time and serves as a reminder of all the hunters that have come before.

flintlock_bushytails_-_chris_ingram-25



GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Hunting

Part 3: Bears of the North – Grand Finale

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Hunting

Part 2: Bears of the North - Keep the Momentum Going

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Hunting

Part 1: Bears of the North - The Journey

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

Stag Arms Pursuit AR Pro

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

Aero Precision Solus Hunter

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

Browning X-Bolt 2

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

The Truth About Thermal Optics

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

Weatherby's All-New Model 307 Range XP

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

Introducing the Savage 110 Trail Hunter

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

Federal Terminal Ascent 7mm PRC

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

CZ Shadow 2: Competition Ready Right Out of the Box!

Hunters and shooters looking for a single-gun solution for hunting, predator control and plinking should consider the Fr...
Gear

The Ultimate Truck and Trail Gun

Petersen's Hunting Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Petersen's Hunting stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now