"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot." - Aldo Leopold

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gator Bangsticks

Happiness is a warm bangstick. I’m not sure this is something John Lennon really explored, but I can attest to its validity.

Over the course of my hunting career, I’ve come to accumulate cool gear - stands that climb trees, rangefinders, rifles that’ll group penny-sized shots at awesome distances, and fiber optic sights and red-dot scopes. Heck, I even own two .44 Mag. handguns, so I can’t really explain why a Dirty Harry on a stick impresses me so, but it does.

I purchased my bangstick a month ago in preparation for this gator season. I, as I always do when shopping, spent ample time cogitating on what I wanted – though I had no clue what I needed - comparing prices and whatnot.

The winner was Central Florida Trophy Hunts. They offered a .44 Mag powerhead on a 5ft powder-coated aluminum pole for $145 plus Uncle Sam. I was drawn to this product for the price. And the fact I would not have to assemble anything, my talent for doing so lost when I missed that day of shop in 7th grade.



The design is simple - a .44 caliber stainless hollow steel cylinder with grooves on the outside for rubber O-Rings. This constitutes the chamber. The “firing pin” is located in the base. It is simply a conical protrusion. (BTW – words like "protrusion" and "cylinder" are about as technical as I can get.)

So the deal is, the cartridge slides into the chamber and the chamber is pushed into the base until the O-Ring grabs the edge to hold it in place. A gap is left between the primer and firing cone. An R-Clip is set through a drilled hole to act as the safety. When it comes time to discharge the round, you pull the R-Clip, and thrust the end of the stick at the sweet spot in the gator’s head, in line with the spine and behind the eyes, best it’s been explained to me.



How does it work? Well. Very well. The 8 feet 7 inch gator Sunday night rolled up three snatch lines and a harpoon rope. The first .44 severely dimmed his lights. If you know anything about gators, though, you know he was still smoldering underneath. Indeed, it was not a perfect shot, and he went to acting up again. The second hit was much more gratifying – as Kate Hudson remarks in Almost Famous, “The truth just sounds different.”



It’s a pretty small sampling size, for sure. While I don’t have tags myself, I did get the trapper’s license that allows me to hunt with anyone with a CITES. I’m sure I’ll secure a call or two more before season’s end and put Bangstick Betty to work again.

The one whiff with this product is a lack of flotation. With its rubber handle, it would be hard to lose your grip, but in the melee of a hooked lizard, who knows what could happen. I remedied this problem by scissoring 8 inches of a red Styrofoam pool noodle to secure to the shaft.



After all, sadness would be a sunken bangstick.

2 comments:

kmurray said...

Great post Ian. I always wanted to know how one of those worked.

Julie said...

check out www.alligatorhuntingequipment.com they sell gator equipment cheap too..