Las Vegas Shooting Massacre
by John Welch


The most recent banter about gun control in the United States was most definitely precipitated by the Las Vegas shooting massacre on October 1, 2017. The shooting occurred during an outdoor country music festival in Sin City with an estimated crowd of 22,000 individuals in attendance. Stephen Paddock, then 64 from Mesquite, Nevada, carried out the shooting from his lofty perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino during a Jason Aldean concert.

When the shooting was finally over, 58 people lay dead with another 500 wounded, many of them clinging desperately to life. Las Vegas SWAT members later swarmed the hotel to take Patton down, but found him instead in a pool of blood after he took his own life. Countless reports later surfaced proving that Patton had obtained the firearms legally. Patton, however, had modified several weapons with “bump-stocks” thus allowing him to simulate automatic fire.

And in typical fashion following the majority of these shootings, the news media and congress have attacked the constitutional rights of American citizens to own guns. And in the Lone Star State, we Texans enjoy these unfetter rights that include being able to carry weapons either openly or concealed. Texas also recently joined the company of a fewer number of states which allow for the concealed carry of guns on its public college campuses. The emphasis here is on the word concealed.

The right to carry concealed at four-year institutions has been in effect for more than a year and with little to no fanfare. And as recently as September first of this year, junior college students, faculty and staff have the right to concealed carry as well. There are undoubtedly plenty of restrictions, and to me that is a good thing. First of all, an individual must be at least 21-years-of-age to even apply for and take a course to be able to carry a handgun on campus. That leaves out many students who are freshman, sophomores and juniors as they have probably not attained the age of twenty-one.

Add to that the length of time that’s required to take the handgun course, follow the paperwork requirements and wait the more than the 6-8 weeks that it takes to get the concealed carry license itself. Succinctly put, most students will not have the money, time or inclination to be able to be a licensed handgun carrier on Texas campuses. There are, no doubt, older and more mature students on campuses who might be able to carry if they choose to do so.

And despite the “liberal media” and its stance on gun control which “hyped-up” the dangers of campus carry before its implementation here in Texas, there seems to be little to no problems that have cropped up with the law. Even officials with the University of Texas had to acquiesce to the fact that there have been no “Gunfight at the OK Corral” scenarios playing out at institutions of higher learning here in the Great State of Texas.

“We have not had any problems (on Texas public college campuses) since the campus carry law went into effect,” said Jenny Caputo, who is the official public affairs spokeswomen at the University of Texas System in Austin.”

Caputo went on to comment: “We are not aware of any situations where campus police have to intervene with any problems associated with campus carry.”

So if wanting to defend yourself in today’s changing society is frowned upon by many individuals who want to stifle your constitutional protections, then now is the time to take responsibility to make yourself and your loved ones feel safer. And to echo Caputo’s comments, I recently caught up with a University of Texas at San Antonio student who plies his right to legally carry a handgun on campus.

“The number of people on campus who are carrying is very few,” said John, whose last name is being withheld so retribution from campus officials will not rain down upon him. “UTSA has a lot of ex-military students and many of them carry, but they know how to do it safely.”

“For the most part, I think that people are carrying handguns safely. And I have not heard of any intentional or unintentional discharges anywhere on campus.”

So you be the deciding factor as to whether concealed carry will make us a safer society. You know where I fall on the issue, and if you don’t agree with me that is also your Constitutional right as an American. I welcome your comments.



Hurricane Harvey
by John Welch


The plight of Texas residents who were directly affected by Hurricane Harvey has already been extremely well documented on TV, on the radio and in print. And it goes without saying that many residents of the Lone Star State will require a vast number of weeks, months and perhaps years to fully recover from Harvey’s ravages and devastation.

As of September 3, 2017, there has been a confirmed death toll from the storm and related flooding that’s standing at nearly 50 men, women and children. Not wanting to sound callous and crass, but I do feel that some of the numbers of lives lost could have been lower if more individuals has disregarded Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s edict of staying put and riding out the storm.

And sometimes, it goes to the old saying of “he who hesitates is lost”! I know there were many factors besides Hurricane Harvey that made for a “perfect storm” of sorts, from not having enough shelters to get to, plus the lack of wherewithal in order to get there. But, considering the fact that almost anywhere else from where you stayed behind as being better, it’s a shame that many individuals did not accept Governor Greg Abbott’s offers ahead of time to even stay in state parks and other facilities.

But all of us certainly can learn a lesson from this unseemingly awful tragedy. It starts with being prepared, obviously, but it goes far beyond that to say the least. Being prepared is the key in any survival situation, but an individual’s preparations are only as good as the willingness and awareness to implement them. Start with a basic plan, for sure, but don’t be afraid to go well beyond what is necessary by talking with friends, family, experts in the field and online resources.

Make sure every family member is fully on board and insure that you have a plan that all hands can and will comply with. This includes, of course, several back-up plans should any of the original ones fail. For instance, pre-designate a meeting place or location that everyone is aware of and can get to. Insure that you have the means to communicate with each other and be ready to fall back to the meeting location should all lines of communication be unavailable. Be sure to have your identification for all family members and consider having ID tags like the ones used by the military for each and every person, especially children.

You’ll need to be able to evacuate sometimes with little more than what you’re wearing or what you can carry with you. Consider having and maintaining a “bug-out-bag” for all members of the family. Have copies of your personal records in it along with as much food as you can easily carry with you, because remember, it’ll get lighter as you consume it. You can’t carry a lot of water with you, but have several ways to purify what you do encounter. Also consider having some cash with you as well as some silver coins, etc. If you can drive away, think of keeping from 5-25 gallons of fuel on hand and remember to treat it with fuel stabilizer and rotate it as often as possible.

Drive out of harm’s way if possible, but you also should be ready to walk as well should the need arise. For some family members, especially the infirmed or elderly, this might present another set of challenges that you may need to adapt to. At least have some form of protection for you and your family, in the form of knives and guns and have the skill and will to use them. If you’re not in shape, consider getting all members of the family up to snuff if only in the basic sense.

And don’t expect others to come to your rescue. The police and other persons in positions of authority will be plenty busy taking up countless rescues of individuals who did not heed warnings or were unable to do anything but shelter in place. Hopefully that will not be you! Do your homework, especially if you reside in places such as the Gulf Coast that can and often will be beset with tragedy producing storms such as Hurricane Harvey.

If you did make it through the storm safely, be sure to think of and reflect upon the dead and suffering during your daily lives. But, from now on, strive to not be one of them yourself.



Be Wary & Stay Alert
by John Welch


We all have memorable days in our lives. The day in my life that I will never forget was January 20, 1972. Although it occurred more than 45-years-ago, I still remember it just as vividly as if it happened yesterday. I was fresh out of West Virginia University and armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Physical Education. I decided to go into teaching at the secondary school level with hopes of becoming a public school teacher and track coach. I had a vast amount of experience in running, having competed in track and cross-country in junior and senior high school and for WVU as well.

I did need, however, a semester of student teaching in order to obtain my teaching certificate and be able to start my career in education. I was placed by my university at Stonewall Jackson High School in Charleston, West Virginia, which was 20-miles from where I still lived with my parents. Little did I know that fateful day in January would ultimately change and nearly end my life.

Just two-weeks into my one-semester stint as a student teacher in Physical Education, I had earlier been assigned to monitor and assist with the department’s Olympic Fantasy which was meant to emulate the summer games later in the year. It was a lively festival with SJHS students getting an opportunity to compete in basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, shuffleboard, badminton and weight-lifting in front of friends and family. With the Munich Olympic Games to occur in October, this endeavor was being hosted to instill in the students a sense of self-worth through competition in the sport of their choice.

The competitions got under way following school dismissal and they were nearly completed shortly after 9 p.m. Up to that point, there had been no major issues with either the students or the spectators. During the final events, a tilt among the two best girl’s intramural basketball teams and a highly anticipated free-style weight lifting event, a street gang of young black youths entered the school’s gymnasium. At first glance, the teenage youths seemed content to just be supportive spectators. But then things went terribly awry as the gang broke off into two groups and started to interfere with both the weight lifting and the basketball game. The gang members were fierce in their actions and with their vicious speech.

The school did not see the need to provide for security, either in the form of a couple of off-duty policemen or merely a greater number of faculty and staff members. There were only four of us adults and the gang consisted of over twenty youths ranging in age from early to late teenagers to men who appeared to be in their early-20’s. The leader of the gang, whom I later would discover was Wavey Glenn “Ugh” Pratt. Pratt, 19, had recently been released from the Marines after a combat stint in Viet Nam. He was certainly stout, standing over six-feet-tall and weighing well over 200-pounds.

Pratt grabbed a 50-pound barbell weight and senselessly rolled it down the court as the girls were hotly engaged in the waning minutes of their basketball game. Luckily no one was injured, but it was a miracle that they weren’t. Other confusion including that caused by the remaining gang members soon ensued, but the most senseless act occurred when Pratt snatched a small white boy, probably around five-years-of-age, and placed him on a basketball rebounder and started cranking him as high as the rebounder would go.

Students and spectators were terrified, and by this time my three supervisors approached Pratt and convinced him to lower the child safely to the gym floor. We were totally surrounded by the gang as most of the participants and spectators had fled the gym to avoid the confrontation that was about to occur. My supervisor, Charlie Linkus, made an attempt to get the gang to leave as he informed Pratt that he had already called the police. That obviously enraged Pratt as he struck Mr. Linkus with an open hand.

Two other male teachers soon became engaged as did I, thinking the gang would leave the premises and break off their hostilities toward us. We were grossly wrong, and as I attempted to push Pratt toward the door, he and his loyal minions swarmed me and the other teachers and lashed out at us with all the violence that they could muster. I was knocked down to the floor and set-upon with the force and violence of most of the gang members. They punched, kicked and stomped me into submission with their heavy winter boots, and I was ultimately knocked unconscious.

When I regained consciousness a few minutes later, the gang had fled and police and emergency services had arrived on the scene. This was providence for me and another teacher, as I suffered two broken facial bones, a broken jaw in two places, a broken nose, broken ribs and the loss of several teeth. I was bruised and broken, but I was still lucky to be alive. The other injured teacher fared much better than I did with only minor bruises and scrapes. I later found out that one gang member had wielded a knife, but he was unable to stab me as one of my favorite students, weightlifter Mike Nomar, took the knife away from my would-be attacker and thus saved my life.

I only share this harrowing story to make an important point, and that is to always be aware of your surroundings and prepare for the worst by arming yourself with some self-defense skills. My hospital stint and subsequent recovery tried all of my beliefs in my fellow man. I did finish my semester of student teaching with my jaw wired shut and several of my facial bones repaired. All was not lost to the attack as I did receive an “A” for student teaching. I did initially teach and coach at the high school level for two years, but I soon became disenfranchised with teaching and desired a change in my life. As for gang leader Pratt, he was taken to court but only received more probation from a liberal-leaning judge.

I entered the Marine Corps three years later and I received more than my share of self-defense training. But to this day, I wonder if my ordeal would have ended differently had I known a few skills which I could have summoned from deep within myself. I’ll never know, of course, but in today’s challenging society we all need to appreciate the need for self-defense and situational awareness. The ever-changing world around us should awaken the need of an appreciation of what is occurring as we move ahead with our lives.

Chris Murray, who is the proprietor of Modern Elite Firearms, can guide you in your quest to become safer. He has information and can make suggestions on how better to prepare yourself for any outcome that may befall you or one of your loved ones. If Chris does not have the answer, he can certainly point you in the right direction. I wish all of you the best and thanks for your continued support and engagement.



The Colt 1911
by John Welch


Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Colt 1911 pistol! For over 100 years, this highly-recognizable weapon has become an icon for both military and civilian shooters. This pistol has seen action and performed very well in conflicts as old as WWI and as new as in the war on terror at various locations around the globe.

Conflicts with the Moro Guerillas during the Philippine-American War with the then-standard Colt M1892 revolver (chambered in .38 Long Colt) proved to be less than adequate against an adversary who possessed a high morale and an often drug-addled mindset. A weapon with more knockdown-power was needed, and quickly, so the John Browning designed .45 caliber ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) eventally emmerged as the final choice from a number of participants.

This weapon has done as much for American freedom as the M1 Garand and the M-16, and it is in practical usage in many spots around the world as well. But weapons history aside, the gun aficionados out there among us still need as much practical knowledge as they need a love for this fine weapon. And that said, a 1911 course offered by MEF owner Chris Murray and taught by John Windham on January 8th seemed right up the alley for what 1911 pistol owners needed to become more familiarized with the gun.

John himself gained an early appreciation for the weapon from his father, Army Colonel John Windham, who gave nearly 40-years of undying service to our great nation during WWII, Korea and Vietnam. And the younger Windham became even more familiar with the weapon during his three-tour service during the Vietnam War as a petty officer aboard a riverine patrol boat. And even in John’s civilian life, the 1911 has become a favorite for this devout defender of the United States Constitution.

“I have always been intrigued by the military aspect of them (the 1911), from WWI, WWII and to Korea,” said John, who is a dyed-in-the wool classic gun collector with an array of weapons that run the gamut of styles and calibers. “I also like the fit, which conforms to my hand perfectly. It’s one of those kinds of guns that if you get a good one it doesn’t go down in value. You can also pass it on as a family heirloom. And they’re easy to work on and customize, and that’s why I like them.”

John brought an array of 1911-style pistols to the class for the participants to both envy and appreciate. They included 1911’s from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam, as well as some of the more modern ones. Calibers ranged from .45ACP, .38 Super, 9mm and .380. Seeing weapons history first-hand was, for some attendees, a chance to see many collectible guns. And for others, it was a chance to affirm the weapons they had that were appreciated by others.

Attendee Roger Pfeifer came to the class to refresh his skills as he had plenty of experience carrying a Colt 1911 as a U.S. Customs officer. But even the U.S. Government sometimes doesn’t know what is best for the personnel who carry weapons for a living. Even though the 1911 was proven and tested as early as WWI, police departments across the United States mainly armed their officers with revolvers such as the Smith and Wesson Model 10-6. The Colt Trooper was another widely used pistol among law enforcement. A fine gun in its own right, the S&W revolver did not have the knockdown power nor did it possess the ability for quick reloads (Dirty Harry aside).

“I carried one on duty from 12-15-years as a US Customs Officer,” said Roger, who hails from the Alamo City. “It was far more comfortable for me with the thumb safety as opposed to the double-action revolver model they made us carry.” Roger also said: “I couldn’t see any way to improve the 1911.”

Agents and police officers had opinions, too, so this is where the Colt 1911 in .45 ACP could have come in to play. But if you use the gun, you’ll have to learn its many nuances and idiocyancries. John taught the course from the ground-up and made sure that he covered all his bases.

Chris has also sponsored other special events that you as a concerned citizen could take advantage of on down the road. He has already sponsored a couple pistol competitions and even a course on medical emergency preparedness that has been taught by former sailor and RN Paul Thorsen.

There’s even talk of an upcoming rifle championship that Chris has thought about sponsoring. So, be sure to go to the MEF website or drop into the store to see what is new in the vast realm of gun ownership.

Take care and remember to be prepared and to be safe.



Christmas 2016
by John Welch


Well, it’s Christmas 2016, and I’m definitely in the spirit. I reminisce about the way it was in my youth growing up in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. It was certainly a special time in my youth when I thought anything was possible. It was also a special time with my friends and me being able to witness the splendor of the outdoors with hunting, fishing, camping and exploring and just doing wholesome activities that were common in the 1960s.

As the start of 2017 looms large, I look forward with bated breath to the possibilities that await America as Donald Trump is taking the helm of our great nation. I do consider myself a flag waver, and as a retired Marine, I am very proud to say it.

I realize that America has a tri-cameral form of government as shared power exists among the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I also believe that with Trump setting the tone for greatness, there is nothing that our great nation cannot accomplish.

So, I want to wish all of you the Merriest Christmas possible and the hopes that a Happy New Year will indeed come to pass. And if you do not celebrate Christmas, I hope that whatever holidays you do cherish will be the best ever for you and yours.

I further see drastic changes coming that could affect America for generations to come. As a divided nation becomes even more evident following Trump’s victorious election, I truly hope and pray that we as Americans can put aside some of our petty grievances and act like we are and have always been the greatest nation on earth.

One thing that I am also aware of is the fact that more and more Americans are embracing the concept of gun ownership. Statistics from FBI background checks show that Black Friday on November 25th of this year witnessed the highest single-day sale of guns in our history. And while some do not see that as a good thing for America, I certainly do.

Research has also shown that the activity of hunting among Americans has been on a steady decline for several decades now. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there were 14.84 million paid hunting license holders in the U.S. in 2015. That’s about 4% of us! The latest statistics show that hunters spend 23-billion dollars annually to ply their trade. And to the casual observer, it’s plain to see that we as hunters are also an aging group of individuals.

It seems that, except in certain enclaves across America, today’s youth are reluctant to get involved in shooting and hunting as a whole. And that’s certainly apropos in their regard. But, with electronic gaming seeming to be the pastime of choice for many American young people, it also becomes evident that many of them would benefit from at least a modicum of physical activity.

Here at Modern Elite Firearms, owner Chris Murray and his band of merry men certainly know their way around the firing end of a gun and they are eager to assist you in any way possible. MEF offers a Youth Rifle Class and other programs that can appeal to all members of the family as well.

I am certainly not speaking for all Americans when I espouse my beliefs, but that’s my take on where I feel our country is headed. I’d like to hear yours as well.



Discovering What You Like
by John Welch


I was attending a Marine Corps Reserve weekend training session in Houston back in 1989 when some of my fellow officers and I decided to attend a gun show at the Astrodome. It was truly a unique experience considering many bold facets. In the first place, the sheer size of the Astrodome was something to behold. Secondly, the vast number of patrons in attendance made our shows here in San Antonio appear small in comparison. And when the availability of the merchandise at this show was factored in, it certainly matched and surpassed anything I had ever seen at other weapons symposiums.

Before that weekend, I had been a dyed-in-the-wool 1911 aficionado in each and every way possible. Besides growing up on mainly rifles and shotguns, I rarely had shot any kind of pistol before entering the Marines. We were taught by distinguished pistol experts that we all respected and wanted to learn from. I later learned the Beretta M9 pistol only because all military members at that time were mandated to move to the 9mm.

So when one of my fellow Marines said I should give the Glock a spin, I nearly fell over in laughter. How could a pistol made mainly from polymer – plastic to me – could be equal to the venerable Colt 1911 was a puzzle. But, as I later discovered, many shooters were putting a lot of stock into the unusual-looking, squared-off weapon that was manufactured in Germany.

I was still sold on my Colt 1911 Series 80 Gold Cup .45 and its smaller cousin, the Colt Mustang in .380. But not to be a perpetual “Doubting Thomas”, I followed suit and picked up a Glock 19 at a gun show in San Antonio around 1994. It had taken me nearly six-years to make the move, but I was soon to discover that switching to the Glock was far too long in coming.

The Glock performed flawlessly at the range and in the field. I even traveled with the gun when I trekked back home to West Virginia and it soon became the envy of friends and family in the Mountain State. At the time there was a definite dearth of gun shows there. Gun shops there mainly specialized in high-powered “deer rifles” and shotguns mainly suited for squirrel, rabbit and grouse hunting. So, it wasn’t likely that there would be a wholesale movement towards this polymer pistol.

But arriving back in the Alamo City, I decided to determine what other offerings Glock had to show to me. I soon added a Glock 22 in .40 caliber and later a Glock 21 in .45 ACP. The 21 did carry 13-rounds, but the bulkiness led me to carry the gun less and less in the field. Again, my Colt remained my ultimate choice when it came to the .45.

In between the two (Glock 21 and Glock 22), I decided to spring for the Glock 42 in .380 caliber. Though too small to be a primary weapon, I felt it could serve the purpose of a back-up quite nicely. I even thought about opting for the Glock 43 in 9mm, but I eschewed that in favor of giving the Glock 40 in 10mm a try. I still have not decided between the Glock 20 (in 10mm) and the Glock 40, which is 10mm as well. But with a longer and heavier competition slide, the Glock 40 may be the way to go. The latter really felt good in my hands, and I even feel that the enhanced barrel length will be a definite boon to what I need and like in a handgun.

The well-versed and friendly staff here at Modern Elite Firearms can show you what you like, or stand ready to order something else if that suits your fancy too. Chris, John and Paul have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to weapons, both old and new.

It’s also great to be back writing for John’s Corner after an untimely hiatus. I needed to travel back to my beloved West Virginia several times in recent months to visit an ailing sister. Yvetta Carol Allen, who was my eldest sister, passed away peacefully in early-September. She was a rock for our entire family, and though she only lived to be 82-years-of-age, she touched a great many lives in her hometown of Clendenin, West Virginia. I will miss her greatly and love her forever. And I certainly appreciate all of the kind words that were conveyed to me upon my return to San Antonio.



Campus Concealed Carry
by John Welch


Remember all of the hoopla surrounding the start of the Texas Open Handgun law that went into effect on January 1 of this year? I certainly do, and I predicted then that despite the media’s hyping-up all the difficulties that would befall Texas because of “gun-happy” individuals toting weapons, the truth easily overcame the hype. And, so far, scant few problems with open-carry have materialized.

Well, get ready for the over-categorization that will no doubt occur with the Lone Star State’s newest firearm law – Campus Carry. As of August 1, the law allowing for Campus Carry on all public school college and university campuses went into effect. Time will tell if problems will outweigh the need for self-protection, but I feel that any future shooters will think twice and then go elsewhere to commit their heinous acts.

To be able to carry on campus, a student or staff member must first have attained the age of 21 at the time of application for a License to Carry a Handgun (LTC). An eligible person will then have to successfully pass a State-set instruction course taught by a licensed instructor for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 6 hours that include topics such as current laws, conflict resolution, and handgun safety. They will then be required to pass a practical qualification at a firing range with a weapon of the type they wish to use (revolver or semi-automatic) which must be greater than .32 caliber.

The cost of the licensing course varies from $100-$125. The qualified individual then can apply for a license after submitting all required documents, a photograph and fingerprints along with a $140 application fee to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The DPS can then run a federal background check, and if all goes well, a five-year permit to carry a handgun will be issued. This, of course, does not include the cost of a pistol, ammunition and holster, which could all cost from $400 upward depending on the choice. As you can see, it will not be cheap to be armed on campus.

The return of the newly-minted handgun license is not automatic, however, nor could it be timely. By statute, DPS has up to 60 days to issue an original LTC, and 45 days to issue a renewal license. However, it is imperative that applicants understand that these time periods are calculated from the time a fully- completed application and supporting documents (fingerprints, course completion document) are received by the department. In the event more information or documents are required to complete an application, DPS has an additional 180 days to complete the review process.

And according to DPS, an increased volume of applications for a license to carry a handgun (LTC) in recent months has resulted in the advisement that during the three-month period from December 2015 through February 2016, the department has received approximately 136,000 LTC application submissions compared to approximately 57,000 over the same time period the year prior – representing a 139 percent increase. So, that in effect means that a 21-year-old may not get the LTC till he or she is 21-and-one-half or older. This in itself means that mostly seniors and above can obtain the LTC.

And factor in the restrictions where license holders can actually carry the weapon and you are looking at a low volume of individuals actually carrying. I’m sure students should and will make up their own minds. I’m also sure that the media-driven brouhaha surrounding our Campus Carry laws will also turn out to be a non-starter as well. Out of sight, out of mind! That’s what my elders taught me at an early age.

I will address more on this topic after some of the groundswell has died down at a later date. Please remember to be safe out there.



Paintball for Tactical Practice
by John Welch


Many of us who have served in the United States Armed Forces have had the opportunity to practice tactical skills with both our service rifle and our service pistol. Most people, however, do not have this option. Engaging targets on a combat range is something that will not only cause shooters to take their environment more seriously, but it will also raise the shooter’s heart rate and blood pressure unlike no other shooting experience will do.

But short of raising your right hand and swearing undying allegiance to the American military and the United States constitution, most tactical range opportunities are both few in number and prohibitively expensive to boot. If you have ranch property like I do, then I hope you can enjoy your firearms opportunities to the fullest. After all, most ranges in the South Texas area will stipulate no fire-and-movement, nor any rapid-fire target engagement.

But, however, you do have an opportunity to at least somewhat simulate actual military-style target engagement without joining the military. And, it’s cheaper, too! I’m talking about none other than paint-marking activities. Some people refer to the sport as paintball. And that’s OK, too. But purists to the sport – those who are dyed-in-the-wool individuals – can relate to either moniker.

And getting started in paintball is simple. When you’re at Modern Elite Firearms, just exit the door and walk to the right about 20-yards and you’ll see the sign to Paintball Mart. Enter and you’ll experience a vast array of paintball guns, accessories and tactical clothing that can get you off and running (rather shooting) into a fast-moving sport that not only requires a modicum of marksmanship, but patience and cunning as well.

Proprietor Brooke Lowery of San Antonio has been at this location for over two-years and has offered up her knowledge and expertise of the sport to anyone willing to give paintball a go. And getting started is simple, too, with the opportunity to rent paintball guns and accessories before you want to jump headfirst into the fray.

For twenty-dollars, you can try the guns and a basic paintball kit out during the weekend and return them on the following Monday. One stipulation, however, is that rental equipment must be used on your own property. Private shooting fields and facilities require that you use their rental items if you do not possess your own guns and accessories.

Owning your own paintball gun can cost from $90-$2,000, so be prepared to shell-out some cash. You’ll also obviously need other accessories such as compressed air canisters and paintballs. Safety equipment including goggles or a facemask is also highly recommended, but clothing can run from the gamut from blue jeans to T-shirts.

There are some basic rules or premises to keep in mind, however. It is illegal to shoot paintball guns in the city of San Antonio. But, there are private locations in which you may engage in the activity. According to Brooke, XFactor Paintball Park in Bracken is the closest place where you can ply your skills in this fast-moving activity. Look them up online to see what opportunities they offer.

“Paintball is a fun thing to do, and it’s also visually appealing to the shooter,” said Brooke, a 2001 graduate of Texas State University, who has been a paintball player for over eight-years. “I think that when you do get hit, it’s a good hurt.”

Only you can attest to that, however. So if you want to give paintball a try, get in touch with Brooke at her store at 15737 San Pedro Avenue or call her at (210) 491-0506. You can also email her at: pbmartsa@sbcglobal.net.

I, myself, think that paintball activities can be either a lead-up for children who may want to get started in shooting or as a tactical opportunity for anyone who wants to experience a fire-and-movement scenario without getting hit by a real bullet. Hunters can also get special orbs that are filled with buck and doe lure scents. They are in a 10-round tube for $10.

For the person who is wary of a real firearm, get started in paintball and then visit owner Chris Murray and the good folks at MEF and become engaged in shooting or hunting or both. If Chris does not have what you want, he can order it for you. I hope all of you will have a good time shooting, but please remember to be safe.



First Aid for Trauma
by John Welch


Have you ever been shot? Suffered a stab wound? I have been shot at several times, but each time I came out unscathed. I hope that you, too, have never suffered from such a malady. But, what would you do if either you or one of your loved ones ever came into harm’s way? We all like to think that we are in close proximity of medical attention in today’s society. And I hope that is and always will be the case, but that may not always be the norm in our ever-changing world.

Preparation can and perhaps will be the key to ultimate survival, but in a crisis of epic proportions, resources and medical knowledge might be short on supply. Sure, you can obtain or even make your own first aid kit, but if you don’t know how to use it effectively what good will it do you when time and effort counts for everything? But now you can hit the ground running with the knowledge, skills and resources to construct and learn how best to apply what is necessary to survive in a crucial surrounding.

On July 17, Modern Elite Firearms employee Paul Thorson will be on hand to proffer the knowledge and techniques that he has amassed during many years of hand-on training in the military and during civilian life. The course offering will be called F.A.S.T. (Field Action for Situational Trauma) and will be held for a period of approximately four-hours beginning at 12 p.m.

Paul recently finished the requirements as a Registered Nurse (RN) at San Antonio College and has embarked upon a career in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nursing in the local Baptist Hospital system. Before that Paul gained an immeasurable amount of hands-on training as a Navy corpsman.

“You should attend the course, because you should know what to do and what not to do in a trauma situation,” said Paul, who will guide you through the process of setting up your own trauma kit. “You’ll learn to act effectively in any situation you may encounter, such as a car accident or a stabbing incident.”

A typical kit, depending upon your own needs and desires, will cost from $150-$275. There are pre-made kits on the market, too, but it is said to be better to build a kit to fit what you feel that you’ll encounter in an emergency situation.

The course fee will be $75 per individual or $125 for couples. But, you must register in advance in order for MEF staff to plan for course requirements. Some of the topics covered will include gun shots, stabbings, heart attack and stroke along with head and spinal cord injuries.

“You should definitely attend the course,” said Paul. I agree wholeheartedly, and I hope to see you there so you can broaden your awareness profile.



Second Annual Pistol Competition
by John Welch


If any of you out there missed last year’s Modern Elite Firearms sponsored pistol competition don’t fret, because you can still make it out to the MEF Second Annual Pistol Competition at Cedar Ridge Gun Range on July 10, 2016 at 10 a.m. The range is located 5.6 miles east of U.S. Highway 281 at 7110 FM 1863 in Bulverde.

But, you’re running out of time to enter. So, get on over to MEF and talk to owner Chris Murray or one his able employees to get your name on the list ASAP. Last year there were more than 20 men and women shooters. This year’s event promises to be bigger still. Anyone age 12+ (with a guardian) is eligible to enter.

This is not a sanctioned event. It is designed just for our shooters to enjoy themselves. Safety is a big consideration, and to that end, several range safety officers will be on hand to control the line and to make the overall experience a great one for all shooters.

In the spirit of overall fairness, no rifle calibers will be permitted for use. And no pistols in .22 caliber will be allowed in this year’s competition either. Feel free, though, to use 9mm’s, .45 calibers or whatever else you think will allow you to score the most success possible. There were some good scores last year, and with another year under our shooters’ collective belts, those scores are expected to be matched or even surpassed.

There will be an entry fee of $25.00, and the addition of the range’s gun fee for the day. But, once the shoot is over, the fee that you pay for range use will allow you to shoot the rest of the day if you’d like.

Grand Prize will be a Sig Sauer model 938-22. Your entry fee will also net you a nice MEF T-shirt.

The course of fire will be 3-round of 10-shots each at targets of 7, 12 and 15-yrads away. You’ll have 60-seconds for each 10-round of fire. The shooting will be based on an 11” round pistol target with a center “X” ring, a 10 ring and also rings scoring 9, 8 and 7 points each.

I did it last year and I think this year’s fete will be even better. I hope to see you there.



Being Prepared
by John Welch


There are plenty of rumblings these days about the need for preparations to help us survive in the event the need arises. And why not! Our recent hail storms and flooding here in Texas during April caused innumerable damage and some loss of life. Houston, as a tragic example of what Mother Nature can wreak, touched an entire nation with the devastation that occurred after the storm system passed through the Alamo City and the Bayou City thereafter.

Not related to Lone Star State weather by any means, but totally apropos for what preppers call a teachable moment, a treacherous situation recently occurred in Arizona when a 72-year-old woman survived a nine-day disaster after being trapped alone in her car. Ann Rodgers managed to get lost in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona after her hybrid vehicle ran out of both electric and gasoline power. She was heading to Phoenix to visit her grandchildren.

Rodgers kept her wits intact by constructing a “help” sign on the ground with sticks. She drank water from a pond and ate plants to stay alive. She did make a mistake, first relying on a mainly electric powered vehicle, and then by leaving the area where she was first stranded. She did, however, keep her cool by wandering into the Fort Apache Reservation, and then starting a signal fire to be seen from the ground and in the air. An Arizona Department of Public Safety flight did sweep her off to a health care facility where she ultimately managed to survive the hazardous ordeal.

That’s pretty intense stuff to be thrust into a survival situation without being prepared. I think she learned a valuable lesson from her ordeal, and I hope all of us are somewhat prepared in the event that something similar should ever happen to us.

Even more amazing is the fact that some of us even choose to be placed in a situation that famed American author Henry David Thoreau actually professed in his most famous book entitled “Walden.” The premise of this book was living off the land during all seasons of the year like he did during his two years, two months and two days while living on the shores of Walden Pond beginning on July 4, 1845. Huzzah to Thoreau and to all individuals who are both physically and mentally prepared to undertake the same challenge.

Modern Elite Firearms owner Chris Murray’s life has been shaped by an undying willingness to place himself in natural surroundings without any kind of support systems. Chris has undertaken several wilderness camping experiences since he was a young man. This also included several week-long canoe treks along the shimmering waters of the Guadalupe River -- from Comfort to the river’s confluence with Canyon Lake -- with wilderness at its best. “I’ve been canoeing and kayaking all of my life since I was 12, so the trip isn’t really out of the ordinary for me at all,” said Chris, who is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

I applaud all individuals who accept physical and mental challenges just to see if they have what it takes to survive solely on their own. If, perish the thought, a natural or manmade disaster ever befalls the United States, who would be able to survive? Preparation comes as no accident, but rather as a well-thought-out system that includes all facets of what is required to live successfully on your own. Start prepping now, with systems that insure you have food, water, shelter and protection should the need ever arise.

We all live mostly comfortable lives, and that is a good thing. But, should a situation present itself we must be ready to accept any and all challenges to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This might sound somewhat corny, but would you want to be caught up in the level of confusion that may result from anything that would immeasurably attempt to change our lives as we now know them. Chris explains his survival outings as a necessity and as a way of life.

And with Chris’s wilderness experience already in the bag, it’s easy to see why he had no qualms about a trip alone and away from modern conveniences such as grocery stores, clinics and hospitals. I, too, have experienced hardships myself as a child and during over twenty-years in the Marines. But for the faint of heart, I don’t recommend attempting something like this without training and a few dry runs.

Chris equates the watery trips to riding a bike the first time.“I’ve been doing it so long that it’s kind of like riding a bicycle, and having the fear that you might fall off,” said Chris. “Once you’ve been doing it (canoeing and kayaking) awhile, it’s like second nature”.

So, if you plan backwoods trips and excursions, think like author Thoreau and look at life for what it is: a way to get back to how things were before being able to flip a light-switch or turn on a faucet and expecting immediate gratification.

Prepare for what could happen, and not for what is happening. Good luck and be safe.



The Pride in Doing It Yourself
by John Welch


No matter the occupations that I held since entering the American workforce at the tender age of sixteen, I always attempted to take pride in whatever job I was engaged in. I think all of us aspire to do that very thing, no matter if the job is mundane or not.

Seeing my tasks accomplished and come to ultimate fruition to me was a great thing, whether I was toiling at a labor job or teaching a classroom full of seventh-grade English students. Even in my retirement, I have endeavored to find things that I can do that will instill both a sense of pride and enjoyment.

I have a feeling that most of my fellow Americans are predisposed to this as well. And to that end, Chris Murray, who is the proprietor here at Modern Elite Firearms, is giving all black-rifle enthusiasts out there an opportunity to get their hands dirty while building their very own AR.

That’s right, on May 1 at 2 p.m. there will be a dozen or two firearm aficionados plying their manual dexterity – with the assistance of MEF employees – to assemble their own personal black rifle. After the assembly has been accomplished, owners can opt for a number of options, from lights and sights to the finest optics that money can buy.

While not an employee at Modern Elite Firearms, gun enthusiast John Windham is usually in attendance at these soirees to offer his knowledge into the intricateness of small parts, springs, and pins to make the assembly experience a smooth and successful one.

You can obtain all AR components from Chris or you can bring your own stuff to assemble. Check out the MEF website for details of what is required to start building. Then all you’ll need is a willingness to learn and, of course, your basic upper and lower parts. Once again, the workshop begins at 2 p.m. on May 1, so get signed up ASAP. We hope to see you there!



A Little About Myself
by John Welch


It is pretty much uncharacteristic for me to ever write about myself, but I felt that after penning the “John’s Corner” column for over two years that it was time to tell you, the reader, a little bit about myself. My story is not unique, and probably similar to how many of you out there got started with hunting or shooting, or both.

Growing up at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains near Clendenin, West Virginia, getting involved in target shooting and hunting was a rite-of-passage for me and for many of my peers. I started out shooting a .22 cal Mossberg bolt-action rifle, one that my sister Jackie and I had bought for $10.00 from a mutual friend. Prices have definitely risen from there, haven’t they! We used the .22 for practice and hunting small game such as squirrels and rabbits, which became a fall and winter staple in our table fare.

I added a 20-guage shotgun (a gift from my father) when I entered high-school, but only got to use it occasionally as I was spending most of my time with my first passion, distance running. I went on to post a modicum of success and earned a track and cross-country scholarship to attend West Virginia University. During my four-years in college, my hunting and shooting was confined to vacations during the fall and winter when I was home from college.

But after college, I started teaching and coaching at my alma mater, which was Herbert Hoover High School in Clendenin. Shooting and hunting took a backseat for me then, too, as I had to sell my firearm collection just to help pay for some of my college loans. That was hard to do, but I knew that after I became established and on my own, I would be able to replace them.

But after two years of teaching I figured out that teaching was not for me and I decided to join the Marine Corps and attend Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va. And it was in the Marines that my shooting skills were honed. I had very competent instruction from range officers in both rifle (M-14 and M-16) and pistol (.45 Colt ACP). I qualified as expert in both rifle and pistol and wore those marksmanship badges proudly.

While on active duty, I was chosen to try-out for the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team in modern pentathlon here in San Antonio. The pentathlon consists of equestrian jumping, epee fencing, .22 pistol shooting, 300-meter freestyle swimming and 4,000-meter cross-country running. And though I did not make the Olympic Team, I was selected for seven Military Pentathlon teams that competed around Europe each summer as I had gone back into teaching after active duty and had the summers off from classes.

I still engage in shooting and hunting as often as I can and I must admit that I now have a greater appreciation for it. After all, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives us the right to bear arms and to protect ourselves from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. And I took my oath of office in the Marines very seriously and appreciate all the individuals who served before me and who will continue to serve after me.

Chris Murray, who is the owner of Modern Elite Firearms and a U.S. veteran as well, has given me the opportunity to express myself here and I hope that you will continue to read my words and comment freely about them. God Bless America and our troops, especially the snipers.



Shot Size a Consideration for Self-Defense? Why Not!
by John Welch


I have been writing articles for John's Corner for over two-years as of the posting of this missive. It has been a distinct pleasure for me to write about topics that either I have chosen, or ones that MEF owner Chris Murray has suggested to me. I also hope to remain at the forefront of topics that are of interest to you and those who share your interest in weapons and shooting accessories.

Self-defense is a serious concern to me and to my family members, as I am sure it is to you as well. There are always discussions of how best to provide for your safety and for the safety of those whom you hold dear. It starts with a willingness to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best.

But it ultimately comes down to the weapon that you choose to employ should bad people try to upset the tranquility of your family sanctuary. Some individuals out there may be content on waiting for law enforcement to respond, while others are more reliant in providing for a more hands-on approach.

If you want to use an AR-15 for instance, you should be aware of the collateral damage that you can inflict upon unintended targets. A 55-grain .223 bullet has been shown to penetrate walls and still keep speeding downrange. Even a round from a .357 revolver can do a lot of damage beyond your desired target.

But if you decide to employ a shotgun, the chances of unwanted damage are more remote. And a shotgun, which employs multi-shot projectiles, enhances your chances of inflicting damage to a wider area than that of a single bullet.

Extensive research among a number of experts in the field has also shown that the size of “shot” you decide to utilize will determine your stopping power. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, for example, uses as a standard the minimum of 12 inches of penetration. And the only shotgun ammunition that will consistently reach the FBI minimum of 12 inches of penetration is buckshot or slugs.

For all intents and purposes, #1 buckshot is the best recommended load for personal protection. And in a pinch, since #1 buckshot can be difficult to locate sometimes, double-ought (00) buckshot is just as effective. Sure, you can also use 000 buckshot if you desire, but you should also consider over-penetration, too. The same can be said for using slugs, but slugs will over-penetrate and possibly go through walls and do collateral damage to people and other property well downrange from your intended target.

Specialty rounds that use loads such as flechette rounds and wired-shot have also been extensively tests and they failed to reach the required penetration or were not an improvement on lead shot. These rounds also tend to be highly expensive.

So whether you use a weapon with a single-projectile such as a pistol or a rifle, or even a shotgun as your choice for defense, know that success will depend upon your readiness and willingness to use it. Be sure to experiment with what works best for your individual needs. And also be sure to test out some of the rounds that you plan to use.

Another factor will depend upon the mechanism of the weapon that you decide to use. These can range from a single-shot rifle or shotgun, to a pump or semi-automatic weapon. And, they will be discussed in another article somewhere down the road.

I hope all of you stay well and safe out there, and continue to be a staunch defender of what we hold dear as Americans.



My New Year's Resolutions
by John Welch


Following a brief hiatus to recover from a broken leg that I suffered on December 8, 2015, I am hopefully back in full force. I trust that all of you enjoyed a great Thanksgiving Day and a very Merry Christmas. The issues that our country has had in 2015 will hopefully be solved or at least some attempt will be offered to put America back in stead with the rest of the free world. I want to talk New Years Resolutions for a minute, and I hope you did some soul searching as well. I resolve to have a better year in 2016, and that includes all facets of my life from my family to my country. I resolve to vote in any and all elections, and I hope you will as well. If you don't show up to vote, you are just giving the other side another leg-up that they probably wouldn't have had. I also resolve to take more time for myself to do all of the things that I have wanted to do for many years. I hope that all of you will do the same, too.

I want to wish Chris Murray, the owner of Modern Elite Firearms, the best of luck as he begins another year of service to gun enthusiasts all over South Texas and on the Internet as well. I wish all of his employees, to include Scott Roberts, Paul Thorson and John Youngblood, the best in the coming year and years to follow.

If you get the chance, come by MEF and chat with Chris and his employees. They are not only knowledgeable about guns and accessories, but they also continue to provide the same relaxed, down-home intuitiveness that comes with any successful business. You will probably also run into other patrons at the shop who are eager and ready to discuss the types of gun matters that interest them as well.

Times are certainly changing and definitely getting more difficult in America, no matter what your political affiliation or personal beliefs. We're all Americans, and I implore each of you to not lose hope in our great nation. I've been to many places and climes, and I know that the United States of America is the most outstanding country in the world. It's not perfect, but could you name a country that is. I've invested 67-years in her, and I wish I had another 67 to give.



Open Carry Is Now a Reality
by John Welch


As of January 1st, open carry in Texas is now a reality. And with open carry already allowed in 44-states, you’d think that Texas – a bastion of the old West – would already have been one of them. But, be that as it may, the law now allows for the open carrying of one pistol, either in a belt holster or in a shoulder holster. Texans have always been allowed to openly carry a rifle or a shotgun, as long as the weapon is not displayed in a threatening manner – as deemed by police departments such as the SAPD.

Stipulations to the law still abound, the least of them being that a concealed handgun license is required for an individual to openly carry a firearm on his or her person. And even more stringent, businesses can and will ban an individual who is openly carrying a weapon on their premises if they so desire.

Some of the bigger chain stores like HEB have already said that open carry individuals will not be allowed to enter their premises. And in so doing, they are simply saying that business from legal, law-abiding citizens is neither welcomed nor needed. And that’s fine, as long as the business(es) display the correct signs, 30.06 (for concealed carry) and/or 30.07 (for open carry), and are clearly displayed and in the correct format at all entrances to their establishment. A verbal command from the businesses’ employees to leave the establishment will also suffice in the absence of a sign(s).

Here in the Alamo City, the hamburger chain Whattaburger said they would follow suit with HEB. There are other establishments that either ban the open carrying of pistols or have expressed interest in joining the bandwagon as well. On August 1st, public school college students who are over 21-years-of-age will be finally allowed to carry weapons on campus, providing that they possess a concealed handgun license from the state of Texas or from another state that allows for reciprocity with Texas.

Few unlawful incidents of individuals breaking this law have been reported statewide. There was an individual here in San Antonio, however, who was asked to leave an HEB store when employees spotted the person with a pistol being carried openly. Officers from the SAPD did arrive to escort the individual out of the store. It is reported that this person said that he did not see the store’s 30.06/30.07 signage. No charges were filed against this individual.

Chris Murray from here at MEF was quick to point out that there had been an increase of gun and holster sales as the law was about to go into effect. And that is not surprising given the newness of the law itself. Most CHL holders are saying that once a few months pass, the uniqueness of it will slow down a lot.

“I have noticed a big increase in the sale of level 2 holsters here at the store,” said Chris, who has expressed little desire to carry openly. “And I do recommend retention if you decide to open carry.”

I, for one, hope there will be few incidents as open carry makes its way into the public arena. It remains to be seen, however, what issues will crop-up down the road. I also await with bated breath for August 1st when campus concealed carry goes into effect. I hope there will be few illegal incidents reported.

MEF employee John Youngblood also had some reservations about the new law. “You will have to be more alert to your surroundings,” John, who is a UTSA student, said. “You can’t be nonchalant about openly carrying, because this could be a life or death situation that is being played out here in Texas.”



Oscar of Firearms
by John Welch


And the Oscar (of firearms) goes to!!!!!! I have three different categories on my Oscar list for what I perceive as the top weapon in pistol, rifle and shotgun.

To me, the top dog in the pistol category is the little-known FN Herstall 5.7X28. The pistol uses a diminutive cartridge known as, aptly, the 5.5X28, and looks like a scaled-down version of a rifle cartridge like a 5.56mm or a .308. It does a lot of damage all wrapped up in that small package. But that is one of the advantages, too. The pistol itself is very light and it even holds a 20-round magazine so you can spit them out in quick succession. There is also a 30-round magazine if you believe in overkill. Also, you are able to transport as much as 500-rounds in a small pack since the weight is light compared to heavier loads.

As far as rifles go, I have selected the venerable AR-15 in 5.56mm/.223 as my king of the hill pick. For more reasons than I can mention, this time-honored platform can support a vast array of ammunition. And when you figure in the rail, which is readily available, the AR can sport lights, sights, bipods and even world-class optics. I must admit that I am biased from having used the M-16 (the full-auto model) during my 22-years in the Marine Corps.

When something has to de destroyed in quick fashion, either the 30-round or 20-round magazine will suit most individual’s needs. If you want to take it up a notch, there are also a plethora of drums that hold 100-rounds. And if drums do not suit your needs, then go back to stick magazines manufactured by Sure-Fire in either 60 or 100 rounds.

If you need a shotgun, I would like to recommend the Mossberg 930 semi-auto. This weapon is sweet with an eight-round tubular magazine. Add on a magazine extension and I’m sure 10-rounds will complete most tasks for you. This piece is typical of Mossberg’s long-standing reputation that I and many of you grew up using.

If I had to bug out with just one weapon, I would definitely reach for the 5.7X28. I would also pack a bunch of loaded 30-round magazines and carry an additional 300-400 rounds of ammunition. If that doesn’t float your boat, I don’t know what will. Let me know what you think. I really want to know.



Veteran's Day
by John Welch


I'd like to wish all current and former military personnel a Happy Veteran's Day. And to all of you who have stepped'up to wear the uniform of our most wonderful country, I know the sacrifices that you have endured while doing so. The men and women who have taken the Oath of Office can never be repaid for the all of the sacrifices that they have undertaken to keep up safe. Military service changes everyone who joins up. Literally thousands have paid the ultimate price, while countless thousands more will be paying the price until they take their last breath.

Countries around the world that currently have conscriptions – some form of a military draft – are more numerous than you might be aware of. Most of us know that Israel – where 97% of its citizens are required to perform military service – has long required that its citizens play a large part in keeping their homeland safe from hostile countries. Count in other NATO countries such as Norway, Denmark, France and Germany, and you can see that a country's defense is just a part of life in many locales.

We do not have a draft in America, so please take a minute to personally thank any veteran that you know. It takes very little effort for you to do so, but a kind word and a heart'felt thank you will certainly make their day. Our military is shrinking each'and'every day. Just check out the U.S. National Debt Clock sometime and be prepared to be amazed at what you'll find.

Not only does the Debt Clock show just how much we owe to other countries, but it also points out just how fast our population grows each day. With a new person added to our population base approximately every 15'seconds, that rise in growth accounts for nearly 6,000 people a day. If you multiply that by 365 days a year, that means that we accrue more than 2.1 million people every year.

Conversely, our military is shrinking by an alarming rate each'and'every year. At the time of this writing, the number of Americans serving on active duty was 1,358,608 people. If you use the site's projection tool out to the year 2019, that number shrinks to 1,266,499 military personnel to protect a burgeoning population of what is projected to be 335,216,111 people. The current population on this Veteran's Day was 322,136,104. How's that for the ultimate wake'up call!

Please consider joining the military, even if it's only a reserve unit or the National Guard. If you can't, then give your support to someone you know who serves to give you all the freedoms and benefits that you now possess.

If you can read this, thank a teacher. Also thank the veterans who make it safe for the educators to be free to teach.



Wisconsinites Trek to Texas for Hill Country Hogs
by John Welch


No matter how you stack it, the feral hog population of an estimated 1.5 million animals in Texas is getting out of hand. The species known as Sus scrofa is said to inhabit 40 states and all but 19 Texas counties. On my most recent hog hunting excursion to Edwards County, I was accompanied by five friends who wanted to help control their numbers.

Two of my friends hail from Wisconsin, where feral hogs have not yet made their entrance – at least so far. Dennis Wenthe, a 63-year-old Primerica financial analyst from Fennimore, Wisc., had already been to the Lone Star Sate a few times to hunt hogs. And like Wenthe, Rick Campbell, a 59-year-old retired policeman from Monroe, Wisc., wanted to again trek southward to try his hand at some of our pigs.

And as much as hunting was their primary motive to come for a visit, both Wenthe and Campbell had other reasons to leave Wisconsin for a two-week stay. “The day we left to come here, I had to shovel six-inches of snow from my driveway,” Campbell said. “Besides the weather, it was great camaraderie just being here.”

Wenthe also admitted that coming to Texas was an opportunity to garner some temporary warmth. “The weather here in Texas was very nice. It was two-degrees below zero when we left, and when we were here, it got up to 81-degrees one day,” said Wenthe, who was a former Marine tanker.

On the second day of the trip, Wenthe shot a 170-pound boar from 100-yards with a 6.8 Remington fired from an AR-15 rifle. Campbell also bagged a 70-pounder at a much closer range with a .357 magnum Ruger Blackhawk revolver.

I was able to bag a 160-pound boar from 100-yards using my Remington 700 in .270 caliber. All-in-all we made a small dent in the pig population, but the trip was more about camaraderie and relaxation. We also got some serious work accomplished on my ranch as well. We poured and finished an 18’ X 32’ concrete slab for my ranch’s travel trailer.

Campbell, who has suffered from the effects of Parkinson’s disease since 2008, made it a point to say that living with the malady has in no way put a damper on his lifestyle. He also wants others to know that even a small degree of activity can be a boon to a better lifestyle.

“God bless modern pharmaceuticals,” said Campbell. “Being able to access much of the property on foot and in a 4-wheeler also made it easier to hunt compared to back in Wisconsin. From year-to-year you never know how you’ll be able to get around.”

But for my part, it was great to have Dennis and Rick here as well as my San Antonio friends, Walt Workman, Franklin Workman and Brian Cortez. And in the meantime, keep killing those hogs.