have been privileged to get “on the ground” with my NAF
Brothers and Sisters several times in the last few months.
Our National Rendezvous was held on the Ford Ranch near
Hollister, California. Approximately a dozen members were
able to attend, including Jay Webb and a guest, who flew in
from Ohio for the event. There was shooting, tomahawk and
knife tossing, archery, much eating, and even more
story-telling. Dickie “Pil” Bresslin won the archery
contest, somehow edging out Captain Jack Swallow and Yours
Truly. Surely a case of beginners luck!!
Fall camp was held at the Apache Canyon site near New Cuyama,
California. This event was lightly attended except for the
little black flies which were there in great abundance. Our
primary competitive events consisted of numerous versions of
how many flies could be offed in a minute, the most
innovative primitive fly-swatter, and the ever popular
“best bug repellant” contest which was won by Randy
Bublitz. The archery contest at this event was won by new
member John Sanders. These new guys sure are lucky! One of
the reasons for the lack of attendees was that this camp was
a “cold camp” (no fires and no shooting) due to a fire
ban set by the U.S. Forest Service, which kind of brings up
my next topic.
appears that these fire bans are becoming more and more
common during the summer months in nearly all of the Western
states. It has been common practice for many years for
buckskinners to schedule their rendezvous’ on Forest
Service, BLM, or other public lands. Usually all that is
needed is a permit issued by the governing entity. However,
it is becoming more and more common for the powers to issue
fire bans at critical times during the year to reduce the
possibility of wild fires. Therefore, the question is where
can we camp, shoot our muzzleloaders, and have fires for
cooking and camaraderie. The answer is that we need to have
our events on private property, where we can responsibly
shoot and have our beloved campfires. However, this is
easier said than done. Most land owners are understandably
justified in denying access to groups like ours. The NAF has
no liability insurance of any kind, which makes things even
answer to these bedevilments is for members to actively
scout out private land that the owner will allow us to use.
About all we can offer are our assurances that we are
responsible stewards of the land and that we will use every
resource possible to limit possible problems. (i.e. water
buckets and shovels at every fire ring, signed waivers,
etc.) If we don’t get use of some private areas, we better
get used to having “cold camps.” Susy Epperson is
actively looking for a site for our 2014 National in Utah.
We need more members looking, talking, and reporting
possible sites to the Captain.
“Short Step” Thompson, NAF#5, Chief Factor.