Interview with "Doc" White, Part Five:
Doc White's medical background offers unique insight into the muzzleloading harvesting of game animals. In this final portion of our visit with Doc, for the grand finale Doc finishes by sharing one of his many hunting adventures with us.
RW: How do you reconcile the John Taylor "Knock-out Value," based on his extensive observations on African game, with the combinatorial attributes of kinetic energy, the rate at which the kinetic energy is released, the temporary stretch cavity produced, and the permanent wound cavity left behind into an effective muzzleloading round?
DOC: It is obvious that the TKO formula gives the benefit of any doubt to big heavy bullets, just as there is no doubt that kinetic energy formulas give the same benefit to relatively small, higher velocity rounds. It must be that the true value falls somewhere in between.
The question then involves the factors that create a killing wound in an animal, including but not limited to the inherent propensity of the animal to survive wounds (relative toughness), the path of the bullet through (one or multiple) physiologically imperative organ systems, the distance through said tissues that the bullet may travel, the potential expansion of the bullet, the rapidity of energy release, etc. The most important (to the sudden ending of life in the target animal) is the path deliberately chosen by the hunter that places his bullet in line with either one, or preferably several organ systems without which the animal cannot sustain life for more than a few seconds.
Preferably, the destruction of any chosen single organ system will soon end the life of the animal, the sudden destruction of several at a time ending the life of the animal in such a sudden, unexpected and final way that survival for long enough to attempt escape or destruction of the assaulter is impossible. To my mind, a properly placed bullet that will knock down and keep the animal off its feet, penetrate heart and lung causing sudden massive hemorrhage, produce sufficient hydrostatic shock to stun the animalís instincts as well as higher brain function, would be the epitome.
Unfortunately, this is rarely achieved, as the requirement takes "too much gun" if universally applied. The attempt can be applied individually, however, the hunter tailoring his load to match the expected physiological capabilities of his game, accepting the inherent limitation of that load and using it within its design parameters, then placing the bullet in a precise way to maximize the loadís ability to destroy, as outlined above.
Jeez, what a cumbersome way to say that you design a bigger load than you expect to need, practice with it enough to know its trajectory and performance, study the quarryís anatomy, then shoot it carefully on one of several pre-designed paths calculated to knock the quarry down, stun it and maim it badly enough that it canít get up, get away or attack you before you can finish the job.
I have also just explained why I like slip fit bullets, ramrods that donít have to be turned around to be used, rifle butt mounted speed loaders that are simple and straightforward to use, cappers slung around the neck, and caps that blow off the nipple with the shot (yes, I said caps--not 209 primers). And lots of practice making all the above happen.
RW: It seems like you are drawing upon your hunting experiences with dangerous game, more so than taking a whitetail at sixty yards?
DOC: Of course I am. The capability of hunting the big dangerous stuff just makes the thin skinned, less lethal critter that much easier. Itís like medical training: you donít train to take care of the mundane and usual, you train for the difficult and deadly. The easy takes care of itself, if you can handle the deadly.
So also with hunting. The best training in the world for a whitetail hunt is a hunt for grizzly bear. The best training for a kudu is an elephant. If you are prepared for the latter, the former is quite a cinch!
The need to shoot accurately with good judgment and cool nerves, knowing the anatomy of the critter in the sights, being able to rapidly reload and shoot in case of a personal or mechanical flub, is no less needful for a whitetail than for a buffalo. Either is just as precious as the other. Both value their lives equally. The one might run away to be lost if you are slow and clumsy or the equipment poor. The other might try to tromp you into red mud, but the need is absolute with each even though the results might be different. To my mind a lost whitetail is every bit as bad as a mad buffalo and, in fact, the buffalo is going to give you a second chance where the whitetail will not.
RW: What do you feel is the most overlooked part of the deer family's anatomy by most hunters?
DOC: The top of the heart, where the huge vessels arise and go to lung and body. These structures are relatively thin walled, exhibit little elastic recoil so they donít close up after a hit, and contain fantastic amounts of blood. The average resting animal puts his total blood volume through that area every few minutes. A hit there is absolutely deadly, with few animals surviving more than a few seconds, especially if unalarmed.
Itís my constant target. You have to know the critters anatomy well and be able to third-space the location no matter the attitude of the animal, and must be shooting a bullet that will penetrate to that area. A hit a little high gets both lungs and hopefully a bit of the pulmonary artery. A low hit gets the heart, a forward hit gets the shoulders and a bit of lung, a hit to the rear, not too far to the rear, still gets some lung.
A good example is the 60-inch moose I shot in 1995, using a 600-grain Super Slug, 120 grains Arco powder, offhand, 160-170 yards, moose standing facing uphill and to the right. I aimed for the rear ribs, angled the bullet down thru the right lung, into the mediastinum and through both the pulmonary artery and the dorsal aorta. Bull went down like he was pole axed and never stirred. I took the expanded bullet off the left chest wall. There was a lot of luck in that shot, but not for the moose. Same thing happened with the tusker I shot just the other day at Thunder Hills, the bullet blew the big vessels apart (100 yard shot) and the pig went about 3 feet.
RW: Extreme long distance muzzleloading, the confident harvesting of game at 250 yards or more, has been discussed far more than put into practice. Do you expect this to become more achievable by the average hunter? There are currently center-fire rounds, such as the 7mm Shooting Times Westerner, that offer flat shooting out to 425 yards or so, much farther than Elmer Keith's beloved .35 Whelen. Will muzzleloading follow in concert?
DOC: Muzzleloading will follow in the same fashion as currently cartridge shooting follows. The writers write about it (or should I say lie about it?), the customers buy into it, the companies will be happy to produce it, and everyone continues to shoot their deer at the normal 60-120 yards that we have been shooting deer since the days of Simon Kenton.
Long range shooting is far more difficult than anyone imagines. Game does not hold still like targets do. Game likes cover. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that the debate is fun and developing the technology even more fun, but the limitations of human vision (even with scopes), the deterioration of hunting skills and prowess, (simply because of lack of opportunity--consider that the greenest greenhorn on Ashleyís first trip to the Rockies killed more game that year than you will in a lifetime), and game behavior will continue to dictate that most game will be collected at current average ranges. Only a few will maintain skill enough to take advantage of the new technology.
RW: Doc, I know you love to hunt, perhaps even more than exercising your noodle in the design and creation of firearms. Do you have a "most memorable" or "most exciting" hunt you'd like to share with us?
DOC: It would be 1995, caribou and moose in the NW Territories out of Whitehorse. Thrown from horse, hurt hip, and saw or hallucinated a grizzly in camp while everyone else was gone. I climbed with two canes. Made a 240 yard shot on bull caribou with a Super Safari, 120 grains of Arco, a 435 grain saboted PowerStar. That made for a 170 yard shot on 60 inch Bull Moose offhand, same rifle same powder charge, 600 grain PowerPunch, and both one shot kills. I killed a mulligan moose for the guide with a single shot with the PowerStar. Most challenging hunt I was ever on, because of the injury. I was still limping 6 weeks later.
SITTING IN THE MUD
Have you ever sat in a foot and half of cold mud? Ever sat there with your hip broken? I sat there while the horse that fell with you leaps to her feet and scrambles up on the bank, kicking mud in your face, then looks back in amazement. And remain there while the pain in the hip lances through your leg like a fiery knife, hurting so damn bad that you canít even cuss, let alone groan. So bad that all you can do is grit your teeth and grab for the bottom of the puddle so you donít fall back into it and drown.
Well, there I was, in exactly that situation. I was sure the hip was broken. I was also so very alone. I had been riding trail on a twenty horse pack string, riding one of the best gaited mountain horses Iíd ever ridden. Not that I am any kind of a horseman. I was raised around them but could always find an excuse to fall off. We had come to a mountain spring up on the hillside to the right, spreading its water into a 30 foot wide puddle where the horse-trail crossed it. The string in front had waded across without problem. I should have known something was amiss when my horse hesitated at the edge. She suddenly leaped out into the middle, then slipped and fell to her right side. I was enough of a horseman to feel the fall coming and throw myself uphill out of the saddle. I anticipated getting a little muddy. Instead, my right hip hit a rock just under the surface of the mud. Suddenly I was sitting in the cold mud, the pain in the hip excruciating, unable to move. It was a lot deeper than it looked from atop the horse, about belly button deep.
Iím not sure how long I sat there, but it seemed like forever. Maybe it was the cold that froze away the pain, or maybe it was Godís good blessings that did, certainly I had a few words with Him in those moments, but eventually the pain subsided to the point that I dared to hope that the leg was not fractured but just bruised. I chanced moving it. It worked! And the pain didnít get worse! Motion on the bank a few feet away caught my attention. The horse was there wagging her head at me, asking what in the heck I was doing sitting in the mud. The reins had fallen and she was flipping them around. One fell a few feet away. I rolled to the right and grabbed it, hoping to secure the horse before she could run off. It was an eight hour ride back to main camp and at least 4 hours from the proposed spike camp. It would be an impossible walk in either direction.
Next thing I knew, the horse pulled me up on the bank. I hung onto that rein for all my life as she backed away. She looked a little spooked by the mud covered pseudo cowboy that she had dragged out of the mud. I managed to get her tied to a sapling, then lay there while the pain in the hip subsided. Some grass sufficed to clean up a little. Then I spent half a lifetime getting to my feet, using a small quakie as a living crutch, the pain in the hip coming back with the effort. I spent the other half getting back into the saddle. Had to find a big rock first, climb the rock then step into the saddle. I knew the horse knew the way and turned her loose. Naturally she wanted to catch up with the string and tried to break into a trot. I couldnít stand the pain from bouncing in the saddle and pulled her into a walk.
An hour later, the wrangler showed, galloping down the trail, looking worried. He figured I was grizzly bait. His worry turned into a laugh when he saw me covered in drying mud. Another hour and we reached the rest of the string, resting in the shade. The two guides, the other hunter, the cook, and all 19 horses snoozing in the shade. Another two hours and we were in camp, a lovely river running close by.
I spent the next two days lying in a tent, barely able to move. I had a big bruise over the hip and so much pain in the hip that it was decidedly hard to get up, even to empty a full bladder. The solution to that was not to drink much. I couldnít get to the cook tent anyway.
The next morning I awoke to an empty camp. I was alone. The others, including the cook and wrangler, had left to find a moose for the other hunter. I had found some Percocet and a muscle relaxant in my kit and spent the day in woozy dullness. The pain was bad enough that I didnít even get up to eat and had nothing to drink. When nightfall came, I was still alone, not that it mattered. The other hunters were obviously delayed on the trail.
There was a good moon that night. I awoke long after dark with the sensation that something was awry. The door to the tent was wide open and the moonlight quite lovely. Just out side the tent was a smallish grizzly, maybe a two- three year old bear, probably 400 lbs. He was quite pretty, the bright moonlight glistening on his silver tipped coat. He was looking right at me, trying to see what was in the tent. I was full of Percocet and muscle relaxants and was feeling no pain, or anything else for that matter. Maybe the bear was a hallucination. I had my .504 caliber White Super Safari at my bedside, loaded with 120 grains of Arco powder and a 435 grain saboted bullet, so I had little to fear.
I told the bear to stop where he was. He was only 6-8 feet away, nearly at the door of the tent. I told him out loud, "one more step and Iíll dust your butt." I meant it. Iíd already killed a far bigger brown bear with a rifle like this, and knew I could do it again. The bear looked insulted for a moment, then carefully stepped one step back then slowly turned to the right, looking at me the whole time. "I mean it," I said. I had the rifle in hand now. The bear slowly dropped his head to the ground, sniffed then took several steps. He turned, keeping his head towards me all the time, and walked a dozen steps to the left but away a little, then turned to the right and repeated the performance, each step taking him away a little further. I suddenly realized hat he was preserving his dignity, sending me the message that he wasnít afraid but was satisfied to leave on his own terms. He disappeared around a bush. There was the thudding sound of a heavy running body, then silence. Well, maybe he was real and maybe he was a hallucination. Iíd check for tracks in the morning and find out. Back to sleep.
Daylight. Heavy bodies and thudding feet in my head. The whole packstring had come back to camp and were looking for a bait of grain. They crowded around the tent, looking to the only guy in camp for their morning ration. Whinnies, kicks and bites as they battled for place and attention. They werenít going to get anything from me. I could hardly get anything for myself. Darned critters were destroying my bear tracks as well. Now I'd never know whether the bear was real or not.
Along about mid-morning, the others showed, riding in with a 55 inch moose tied onto a packhorse. Well, not the whole moose. They had killed the moose just at dark then spent the night defending their kill against a big grizzly that wanted to horn in. They built two big fires and spent the night watching eyes in the night. The grizzly took over after they left with the meat and horns.
By this time I was up. I cut myself a walking stick and hobbled to the cook tent. Cookie had breakfast going. I asked the wrangler to look for grizzly tracks but he couldnít find any. The horses had torn up the ground too much, he said. It was nice to have some company.
Next morning I was well enough to go hunting. The hip still hurt like heck but was tolerable. After breakfast in the dark, we rode up into the mountains off to the north, up into caribou country. Riding up the mountain wasnít bad, I would discover later that coming back down was another question again. A two hour ride took us as far as the horses could go with their heavy loads. We tied then nose to tail and hiked the rest of the way. I used my walking stick in one hand and the rifle in the other as a crutch. The pain was pretty bad but if I went slowly I could get along. The guide spent the day way out in head. About the time I would hobble up to his position, he would have the country glassed and every critter identified. I had to ask him to slow up so I could keep up with him.
On the third day, he spotted some bulls that looked promising. They were on the far side of a big canyon and way up on the mountain above us. As before, we rode as close as we could, then proceeded on foot. A two hour stalk brought us to the canyon edge. The bulls were 250 yards or so across the canyon, lying down, chewing cuds. The guide offered to get me closer, proposing to take me on a long hike down and around the canyon for an approach from the opposite side. I was hurting enough that I turned him down. I was happy to rest there, using his pack for a rest, watching the bulls through the spotting scope.
These were Mountain caribou, somewhat smaller in average size than the bigger Alaskan Barren Ground caribou that I had hunted before. I had lived in Alaska for a few years and we hunted them for meat. I had better than a dozen in my memory, in fact about 2 dozen, including both meat animals and trophies. One of the bulls was bigger than the others and was acceptable. He wasnít the biggest bull on the mountain by a long shot but was good enough for this tired old man. I decided to try for him if the opportunity was right. I told the guide so. It was clear that he didnít think I could do it. He had never seen a muzzleloader shot of more than a hundred yards in his life. I didnít tell him that I had been shooting the rifle all summer, at ranges of up to 350 yards. I had sighted the rifle in at 125 yards, and knew that the bullet would be a foot low at 200 yards and 20 inches low at 250. I also had a dead rest and was well rested after a couple hours watching the bulls.
The afternoon waned. The bulls finally got up and began to feed. There were a few moments of confusion as the bulls crisscrossed in front of each other. Finally they separated, feeding slowly along. The biggest bull was now about 240 yards away, a little closer than before. I waited until he turned, presenting a side shot. My goal was to take the big arteries off the heart.
I was shooting a White PowerStar .45 caliber, 435 grain, hollow pointed, pure lead spitzer bullet, in a cannelured sabot both of my design, in my 504 caliber White Super Safari rifle. It was capable of inch and a half groups at 100 yards. Muzzle velocity was right at 1550 FPS. I figured the fall at 18-20 inches at 240 yards. The bullet had a BC of .32 and I knew that energy would be better than 1000 ft. lbs. at that range. I also knew the bullet to be an excellent killer, much more so than muzzleloading velocities would indicate.
The rifle was equipped with a Burris 3 X 9 scope. I dialed the power up to 6 and settled the rifle over the guideís pack. I put the crosshairs across the bulls back, caught my breath and squeezed the trigger. Damn, forgot the double safety. I had put it on Super-Safe while I hiked. Well, at least it didnít go "clack" like some of the competitorsí guns when you forget the safety. The muff was at least silent.
I pulled the secondary safety off, and settled back into shooting position. Crosshairs once again across the bulls back. The rifle boomed. I heard the big bullet hit the bulls chest, knew it had because of the solid "wop" it made. I call my big bullets "Italian Specials" because of the "wop." they make when they hit the animalís chest. The bull went over in a heap, legs in the air. "Tits up," as the locals say.
"You 'it' im, " exclaimed he guide in his Canadian accent, disbelief in his voice. He had obviously not believed that I could do it. He said it a second time, then glanced at me and grinned, a little embarrassed because of his lack of faith in his hunter. A realist, I thought, he just didnít know what White rifles are capable of.
We spent the next few hours gutting and caring for the bull. I spent most of it just getting across the canyon while the guide did the work. We took some pictures, the look on my face testifying to the distress in my hip. Then came the ride down the mountain, the horses always in a rush to get back, me trying to keep mine to a walk, my hip stabbing me with a fiery flame with every lurch and hop.
The look on my face says it all. Pain, Percocet and the rush of a fine shot from a rifle and bullet you designed yourself.
We got back to camp well after dark. The other hunter had come in with a bigger caribou, a pretty fine one, in fact. He was quite proud. I was proud of him too. He had been injured in a motorcycle accident some years before and had a frozen right forearm. Despite the disability and the challenge, he was a fine, tough hunter, now very left handed.
Cookie had a great Dutch oven meal ready. I hit the sack early. I was exhausted.
Next morning we hit the trail for home, that is, the main camp. It was a 12 hour ride. Once again, the horses knew they were going back to good times and lit out with vigor and dispatch. We skirted the spring mud puddle, wading the crick below it instead. My horse didnít have a problem with the water. I had a problem with the horse though. The jouncing and bouncing raised holy hell with my hip. I wasted a lot of energy trying to keep the pain to a tolerable level. By the time we reached main camp, I was once again exhausted. I hit my cot, (what luxury, a cot) without supper and slept until morning.
I awoke to find the outfitter kneeling at cotside. He looked very concerned, really a very nice guy. He inquired as to the state of my health, the pain, its location, could I ride a horse? Ride a horse? The last thing in the world I wanted was another ride on a horse. The last thing he wanted was a hunter not killing a moose. He was 100% for the last ten years and didnít want to break the record.
He reminded me that there were three days left in the hunt, time to take a leisurely ten hour ride into a near by (Near-by? Ten hours? Near-by?) Valley where he knew there were big moose. He hinted that this was the "honey-hole" a place he saved for only the finest clients. He would supply the finest gaited single foot horse in his string, one he alone rode from time to time. His voice dripped with honey. I was reminded of Satan tempting the Lord during His 40 day fast.
"Go ahead, throw yourself off this cliff. Surely the angels will catch you". Unfortunately, I did not have the gumption to tell "Satan to get behind me" I fell for the bait. His horse was waiting, saddled and ready to go, outside the tent. So were the packstring, guide and wrangler.
Inside of an hour we were on our way. The single foot horse was wonderful, taking three steps forward for every two back, or maybe it was the other way around. Anyway, it was the smoothest ride I have ever enjoyed on a horse. My hip did fine.
We made the ten hours with only a single stop for water and lunch, arriving in the valley well before the late September sundown. There were monster Bull Moose in every direction, at least a half dozed groups scattered across a wide valley covered with low brush and willows. A small alluvial stream wandered here and there.
The closest herd was about 800 yards away, milling about on a low hill. Quick use of the glasses showed a big bull with about 12-15 cows and several smaller bulls trying to horn in. They were paying us no attention. I estimated the bull would go about 60 inches. He turned out to be almost exactly that.
The wrangler, to his great disgust, was detailed to unload the horse and set up camp, a single tent. He would also get a fire and supper going while the guide and I stalked the bull. We rode the horses to within 200 yards, staying out of sight in the tall willows. A low hill lending us cover.
Once off the horses, we snuck over the top of the hill, creeping through the willows, trying to be as silent as possible. We came into view at about 60 yards. Every moose in the herd was looking straight at us. They could obviously hear better than we could creep. The bull was surrounded by cows. There wasnít a shot to be had.
The herd moved off to the right, starting up the slopes of the mountain in the background. They didnít seem terribly alarmed, just moved off at a walk. The herd scattered a little with the move, but the bull artfully kept cows between him and me. Still no shot. I would have to wait until the cows left his side.
I looked around for a rest. There wasnít a tree in sight, only chest high willows. This was going to have to be offhand. The Super Safari was loaded with the same 120 grains of Arco but now a 600 grain Super Slug had taken the place of the lighter saboted bullet. This .300 BC bullet would leave the muzzle at 1350 fps and would have roughly 1600 ft. lbs. of energy left at 200 yards.
The bull had stopped, now about 170 yards away, quartering uphill, hips lower than fore-quarters, head turned looking back at me. The screen of cows parted. I heard the guide suck air. Guess that was my signal. I threw up the rifle, put the crosshairs on the bullís rear ribs and touched the trigger. Once again there was that solid "Wop," closely behind the boom of the shot. Dust and dirt flew from the bull, the big bullet hitting him exactly as planned. His legs buckled and he dropped into the brush, out of sight. The guide blurted? "You did it again!" Once more the sheepish look.
I threw a charge of powder down the barrel, using the White Super-Chargers mounted in an elastic buttstock carrier on the rifle, then reversed the charger and pushed another 600 grain bullet down the barrel. I put on a #11 cap, using the brass capper slung around my neck, the whole process taking less than 20 seconds, thanks to the slip fit bullet. It still amazes me how quick these bullets reload, how accurate they are and how hard they hit.
We walked up on the bull to find him dead with legs collapsed under him. He had died almost instantly. We found out why as we cleaned him up, joined by the wrangler that brought up the pack horses. He had watched the whole performance through the spotting scope. The big 600 grain bullet had hit high on the ribs, the quartering away, uphill angle of the bull dropping the bullet cleanly through the huge arteries coming off the heart. He had lost his blood pressure almost instantly. Death was very nearly instantaneous. The one shot kill shows how effective a muzzleloading rifle can be on truly big animals.
We spent the evening and well into the dark quartering the moose and packing the meat back to our spike camp. A big grizzly showed on the skyline late in the twilight but fortunately did not join the party. We were up early the next morning, breakfasted, packed and saddled for a leisurely ride back to main camp. I looked forward to a peasant ride. My hip was beginning to settle down a little. I hadnít needed any Percocet during the night and had rested well.
So much for anticipations. The pleasant single foot of the day before on the way to spike camp turned into a jangling trot. All of a sudden everyone was ready for home, and in a hurry. It was impossible to hold the horses to a walk. The string would walk rapidly, spread out a little, the faster walkers getting a little ahead, and then those in the rear would break into a trot to keep up. The trot was deadly on my hip, barely tolerable. I found it easier to hold the horse to single foot until she was frantic to catch up, and then kick her into a gallop. Galloping was easier than trotting with more rock than bounce. The trip out took 10 hours; we made it back in 7. Was I ever glad to see main camp!
We left the next day, flying hunters and meat to a larger lake than the one the main camp was on. A Beaver picked us up there and flew us back to an even larger lake where we met a big truck that took us back to Whitehorse. We had trailed a large flatbed trailer up the Alcan Hiway. We loaded it with meat and horns and headed back. 48 hours later we were home. I limped for 6 weeks, but limping is a lot better than sitting in the mud.
RW: Not many people (no one?) have ever had the distinction of taking some twenty-two head of caribou in one afternoon, much less with a muzzleloader. As it turns out, this was far from exactly "your original plan." How did this all come about?
DOC: I was in the Shaefferville country, in a camp with 10 Michigan deer hunters. Went out one morning, alone, with a M98 (#0001) .504 loaded with 100 grain Pyro P and 435 grain White saboted bullet. About 2 miles from camp I heard some shooting, went over a hill and found a French-speaking Canadian and Indian wife killing caribou for their dogs.
They had a about a half dozen down, with one staggering. He was out of bullets for his 22 Mag. He asked me to shoot the wounded bull. I did. He was so thrilled with the sudden kill that he asked me to kill another one, then another. I ended up shooting all the bullets I had with me. These were small meat animals. Not a big bull in the bunch. I believe the 22 number was the total number of critters down for the day. He had killed 6 or 8. I killed the rest.
One other time in Alaska I took some senior scouts caribou hunting. They could not hit the broadside of a barn with their modern rifles. I ended up shooting most of the animals. There were a dozen scouts and three leaders. I donít exactly remember but I think I killed at least 6-7 of the kidís bulls for them. I was using an original Swiss .41 cal military-target muzzleloading rifle, shooting 70 grains of black powder and a deeply double waisted 235 grain bullet from an original issue military mold, which came with the rifle. It was the most effective ML rifle I ever used until I invented my own. It loaded very easily (slip-fit) and shot very, very well. It was the Swiss issue rifle at the same time that we used the Minie ball.
RW: It seems that even those with a passion for hunting are limited either by time or financial embarrassment from hunting overseas, perhaps inclusive of Canada or South America, until they are "senior citizens." Many of the folks I've hunted with, while out of the country, have been more than "pleasingly plump" and have acquired a few of the medical conditions associated with a long life as well. Doc, are there any special areas that most of us overlook given that scenario? What can we do to better prepare for, and better enjoy our time in the hunting woods?
DOC: Best to come from a long line of long lived folks who donate their good genes to you. Next, be active and exercise at least moderately and eat modestly, stay lean and tough (I donít). Next, donít smoke, donít drink but get all the healthy sex you possibly can (legally). Stay vitally interested in all you do. Never get bored. Be intellectually curious. Cultivate a spiritual life. In addition to a good diet take anti-oxidant vitamins, expensive but worth it.
RW: Despite your extended work schedule, and diverse interests, your wife has referred to you as a "hopeless romantic," and it is apparent to me that she is both proud of you, and supportive of everything you do. Is there any special trick to balancing the personal with the professional, or did you just get really lucky?
DOC: Let's call it God's good blessings and give Him the credit. Be generous, full of integrity, honest as the day is long and keep your conscience free of guilt. Be anxiously engaged in doing good always. Always think of the other guy first. Keep your contracts- do what you say you will. Never deliberately harm another person except at the risk of your own or a loved one's life. Resist evil at every opportunity.
Go out of your way to serve others. Always fill your client's basket full to overflowing, and if you can't fill it, at least leave him with the impression that you tried damn hard! When your client dies (or the deal fails) despite your best efforts, thank him for what he taught you, weep over him briefly and get on to the next one.
When you deliberately end an animal's life, always thank him for his sacrifice--his sacrifice is always greater than yours. Remember to quickly kick over the pedestal that folks put you on, before they kick it over for you. Be the first to laugh at your own foolishness and last to laugh at someone else's misfortune. You'll never be rich, but you will enjoy life as few do, your posterity will bless your name and if there is an eternal reward, you will qualify.
RW: Few individuals have distinguished themselves to be considered living legends in the field of muzzleloading. Doc White is one of those exceedingly rare combinations of intellect, innovation, and experience. This makes Gary B. White a man whose prolific thoughts and contributions, in this authorís opinion, truly timeless and priceless beyond measure.
Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Randy Wakeman's series of interviews with "Doc" White can be found on the Muzzleloader Information Page.
Copyright 2005 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.