NILO Farms 70th Anniversary

NILO Farms was founded 70 years ago by John M. Olin when he bought 600 acres of mixed pasture and woodland in Brighton, Illinois. Mr. Olin, who owned among other things, Winchester Ammunition, wanted a place to hunt and train his field trial retrievers. He owned the famous field trial retriever King Buck who was the 1952 and 1953 National Field Champion.

Historically, NILO Farms was a place for Mr. Olin to take his wealthy friends and clients for a day afield. Nowadays, it has been opened to the public by reservation for hunting, trap and sporting clays shooting, training, and other events. It is still owned by Winchester which is a subsidiary of Olin Corporation.

I do wonder if my father-in-law Clarence ever had a chance to hunt or shoot here. My in-laws resided in O’Fallon, Illinois and Clarence was very active in DU and Quail Unlimited while he was alive. As for me, I’d be happy just to watch the dogs work in the field though I would not turn down a chance to hunt there.

JAMA Viewpoint On “Assault Weapons”

I was sent an embargoed article that appears in the September 27th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The article is by Philip Cook of Duke University and John Donohoe of Stanford University. It is entitled “Regulating Assault Weapons and Large-Capacity Magazines for Ammunition.” I have embedded the full two-page article below.

Both Cook and Donohoe have a history of research that supports gun control. Their op-ed proposes the regulation of certain semi-automatic firearms with features that they deem objectionable as well as a ban on large capacity magazines (sic). Their premise is that enacting such laws will decrease mass murders and the lethality of them.

They note that while the House of Representatives has passed such a ban that it probably would not pass the Senate. Thus, they are calling upon states to take the initiative to enact new assault weapons bans along with magazine bans.

They rely upon three major sources to back up their claims that such bans would be effective. First, they refer to a RAND Corporation study examining previous studies on the effectiveness of the Clinton AWB. While acknowledging that RAND found these studies “inconclusive”, Cook and Donohoe say “logic” would say the bans had a positive impact. Second, the authors then look at Australia which banned possession of all semi-automatic weapons and forced a “buyback” (sic). They say there has been only one mass shooting in Australia post-ban. What this ignores when applied to the United States is that Australia has over ten times the land area of Texas while having about four million less residents. Finally, they look at a study of “32 experts” conducted in 2016 and published in the New York Times in 2017. The “experts” deemed a new AWB as the most effective policy to prevent future mass murders. Looking over the list of “experts”, only four names stand out as not being anti-gun: David Kopel, John Lott, Gary Kleck, and Eugene Volokh. The rest were the usual suspects including Daniel Webster and David Hemenway.

While this article is being published after the Bruen decision, it seems to ignore the realities of it. For example, concurrent with the Bruen decision, the Supreme Court vacated the 9th Circuit’s ruling in Duncan v. Bonta and remanded it back for rehearing consistent with the new standards. Just this week, the 9th Circuit remanded the case back to Judge Roger Benitez and the District Court for “proceedings consistent with” the Bruen decision. This case was a challenge to California’s magazine ban. Similarly, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded a Maryland case on an assault weapons ban back to the 4th Circuit.

Based upon text, history, and tradition, I would find it very (!) hard to find any justification that would support the proposed bans of Cook and Donohoe in a way that would be consistent with the Bruen decision. Whether the intended audience of physicians or even the physician editors comprehend this is unknown. That said, you have to believe that a retired professor of public policy and a professor of law understand the implications of Bruen and choose to ignore it.


A Successful Hunt

What makes a successful hunt? Is it when you get a bag limit of birds? Or is it when you finally get that buck you have been watching for a year on a trail cam? It could be watching your son or daughter get their first deer.

There are many ways to define what makes a hunt successful. They will all be different for each individual and they are all valid.

“The Honeyhole”

I went hunting for the first time this season on Friday afternoon. Bow season in North Carolina opened on September 10th and this was my first chance to get out. I was invited by my daughter’s neighbor Zack to hunt some private land where he had set up a number of blinds as well as food plots. He graciously set me up in “the Honeyhole” where I had taken a 5-pointer last year. No shot would be longer than 50 yards and that post you can see in the middle is right at 25 yards.

While Zack got a doe where he was hunting, not one deer appeared where I was hunting. I had covered myself with Nose Jammer and set out discs with Ever Calm calming scent on them. Nonetheless, they just didn’t move.

Was my hunt unsuccessful? In the sense that I didn’t bag a deer, yes. However, in the greater scheme of things it was a successful hunt. I got to sit out in nature and enjoy the quiet. While I did hear road noise from nearby roads, I also heard the birds sing while they scratched around the ground looking for food. I didn’t have to answer phone calls or worry about answering emails. I could just relax.

I repeated this on Saturday morning on land inherited by the Complementary Spouse. I had built a blind last year using wood pallets, scrap wood, mis-mixed paint, and remnants of camo cloth. It is kind of rough and the particle board flooring is a little wonky. I set it back in the edge of the woods by a right of way. In the past, I had captured many photos of deer on trail cams as they used it as a path.

A couple of weeks ago I set out some deer minerals in the same location where I had made a mineral lick the year before. I got in the blind about a half hour before dawn and got set up. You can see my view of that area in the picture below. Just beyond that tree in the middle of the picture is a shallow, slow-moving, creek.

If you guessed that I was skunked again, you would be correct. Nonetheless, I considered this a successful hunt. I saw a Great Blue Heron fly up from the creek, I heard multiple woodpeckers go to work on the trees behind me, I heard the other birds singing around me, and I enjoyed the cool, quiet morning while I sat quietly hoping a deer would cross my path.

Would I have liked to have taken a deer either day? You bet. I am starting to run low on venison in the freezer and would like to have filled it with a nice fat doe. That said, I ended both days with what I considered a successful hunt. Hunting is like life. It is all in what you make of it.

As a postscript, Zack’s 10-year old son took a very nice 8-point buck last night on the private land where I hunted on Friday afternoon and evening. Father and son had a successful hunt.

US V. Quiroz – §922 (N) Held Unconstitutional (Updated)

Jose Gomez Quiroz was indicted in a Texas state court for burglary and later indicted for jumping bail. Both are felonies under Texas state law. While on the lam, Quiroz sought to buy a .22LR pistol from a dealer and answered “no” on the Form 4473 when asked if he was under indictment for a felony. He got a delayed (but not denied) response and subsequently took possession a week later. Then, the NICS System notified the BATFE of Quiroz’s transaction. He was charged with lying on the Form 4473 (18 USC §922(a)(6)) and illegal receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment (18 USC §922(n)). A Federal jury found him guilty on both charges. A week later, Quiroz moved to set aside the conviction under Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and asked the court to reconsider in light of Bruen.

US District Court Judge David Counts of the Western District of Texas issued his decision yesterday and found §922(n) facially unconstitutional. Moreover, since §922(n) was found unconstitutional, Quiroz’s lie on the Form 4473 was immaterial. The US Attorney is already appealing the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The media is making a big deal over the fact that Judge Counts was appointed by President Trump. What they fail to say is that Counts was originally nominated for the position by President Barack Obama and that the clock ran out before he could be confirmed by the Senate. Prior to the nomination by President Obama, Counts served as a Magistrate Judge in the Western District and was the State Judge Advocate for the Texas National Guard where he was a Colonel.

The expansion of civil rights has often come in cases with less than desirable defendants. Witness the expansion of rights thanks to Clarence Earl Gideon, a drifter, and Ernesto Miranda, a kidnapper and rapist, whose cases established the right to counsel and the right to a warning against self-incrimination respectively.

Now it is time to examine the decision in detail. It starts out by saying the court is dealing with three things: the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns. The known knowns are that the defendant did buy a gun while under indictment and that he asked the court to reconsider the conviction in like of the Bruen decision. The known unknown was whether the current law on firearms purchases by those indicted for a felony aligned with the historical tradition of firearms regulation. Finally, the unknown unknown is the constitutionality of firearms regulation in a post-Bruen world. Judge Counts then methodically works his way through these issues.

First, did Quiroz’s motion for reconsideration under Rule 29 meet the legal standard? Looking at 5th Circuit precedent, a Rule 29 challenge is appropriate when there is “an intervening change in the controlling law”. Thus, because Bruen changed the framework with which to analyze firearms regulations under the Second Amendment, it met the standard for reconsideration.

Next, does the plain text of the Second Amendment cover Quiroz’s conduct in purchasing a pistol while under indictment? §922 (N) states that it is unlawful to “receive” a firearm while under indictment. Judge Counts says that the government has misread Bruen and lumped possession in with the historical justification for preventing it while under indictment. The government argued that the Second Amendment only covers possession and carrying with everything else is outside this. Judge Counts disagreed saying that you cannot possess something without first receiving something which is what the law states. Therefore possession is covered by the plain text of the Second Amendment. The question remained whether there was historical justification for excluding those under indictment from possession of a firearm.

The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 was the first federal attempt to regulated possession by a felon or those under indictment. It only applied to those under Federal indictment and “crimes of violence.” Congress implemented this law to deal with the motor bandits of the ’30s such as Bonnie and Clyde. Indictments in state courts were not added to Federal law until the Gun Control Act of 1968. The current version of §922 (N) was codified in FOPA 1986. The government argued that felon in possession laws were roughly the same as that when under indictment. Judge Counts disagreed and noted they lacked historical analysis going back to the enactment of the Second Amendment. He noted that the colonies and later the states generally refrained from disarming its citizens. He says the government has failed to make the case that long-standing historical precedent prevents those under indictment from possessing firearms.

Judge Counts looked at other rights of “the people”. He found that those who had been convicted or were “violent actors” had been excluded from “the rights of the people.” However, he did not find similar exclusions for those under indictment. He then noted that grand jury proceedings were not adversarial and rules of evidence don’t apply to them. Further, you can be indicted in a state without being indicted by a grand jury. Other laws that disarmed people were aimed at minorities.

Judge Counts then concludes:

The Second Amendment is not a “second class right.” No longer can courts balance away a constitutional right. After Bruen, the Government must prove that laws regulating conduct covered by the Second Amendment’s plain text align with this Nation’s historical tradition. The Government does not meet that burden.

Although not exhaustive, the Court’s historical survey finds little evidence that § 922(n)—which prohibits those under felony indictment from obtaining a firearm—aligns with this Nation’s historical tradition. As a result, this Court holds that § 922(n) is unconstitutional.

In coming to this conclusion, Judge Counts said that the new framework under Bruen creates unknown unknowns which raised many questions regarding balancing societal costs and benefits. He didn’t know the answers but he said he must “faithfully follow Bruen’s framework.”

UPDATE: Jake Fogelman at The Reload has a follow-up on this ruling that has comments from law professors at Duke and George Mason. Both think the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals as well as those of other circuits will “moderate some early decisions by lower courts as Second Amendment jurisprudence matures after Bruen.” Frankly, I hope they are mistaken.

Report: NRA Loses Under Wild Skies Lawsuit

The blog NRA In Danger is reporting this evening that Under Wild Skies has won its breach of contract lawsuit against the NRA. Under Wild Skies and its host Tony Makris produced African hunting shows that featured NRA advertising and sponsorship. While the show and the NRA had a 26 year relationship and Tony Makris was Wayne LaPierre’s BFF, once Ack Mac and the NRA went to court, the payments were frozen. Makris is or was an executive with Ackerman McQueen at the time.

From NRA In Danger:

We’re told all of NRA’s claims were shot down, and the jury awarded UWS $550,000. It may be worse than that, as the court only allowed damages for payments already past due (maybe just for those past due when the complaint was filed in 2019), not for future payments as they come due over the remaining years of the contract. That means that UWS can probably sue again for the remainder.

We’re told that the Brewer team for NRA was 10-11 attorneys; UWS had 1 or 2. The Brewer firm likely made a mint on the case. A weeklong trial, after three years of fighting, with a team of 10-11 attorneys billing at up to Brewer’s $1,400 per hour. The legal fees alone must have run into the millions, perhaps tens of millions.

Under Wild Skies was represented by the Fairfax, Virginia law firm of Dycio and Biggs. I have an email in to the firm asking for confirmation as well as a comment. If I hear more on this, I will post it.

Registration For SCI Convention Opens

The registration for the 2023 Safari Club International Convention is now open. The even will be held February 22nd through 25th in Nashville at the Music City Center. This is the convention center where the NRA has held their annual meetings in the past.

This will be the first SCI Convention to be held outside of Nevada since 1993. In their earliest years, they held some conventions in cities like Atlanta and Orlando. However, they were not a great success when compared to Las Vegas and Reno. I am hoping this year will be prove to be different.

The 2022 convention was fun in Las Vegas and we split our time between it and the SHOT Show. I enjoyed the exhibits as well as attending some of the seminars. Not wanting to be tempted, I skipped the auctions and banquets. All of that said, I’m excited that it will be held in a location to which I can easily drive and where I know my way around. I also like the timing of it as it won’t make the month of January jam-packed with events.

More information on the convention is below in their press release:

SCI’s preferred hotels for the 2023 Convention include Grand Hyatt Downtown, Hilton Nashville Downtown, Hyatt Place Downtown, JW Marriott Nashville, The Westin Nashville, Renaissance Nashville, and Omni Nashville. Please mention “SCI2023” or “Safari Club room block” when booking hotels over the phone to receive discounted pricing. 

The Convention will showcase unique hunting opportunities on six continents, world-class taxidermy and art, and give manufacturers their first opportunity to demonstrate new products directly to consumers. Considered the “Ultimate Sportsmen’s Market,” the Convention also plays host to dozens of topical seminars presented by subject matter experts. Several hundred hunts, fishing trips, firearms, works of art, jewelry, and other items and services are offered at live and silent auctions, helping SCI raise hunter advocacy and conservation funds. Finally, you won’t want to miss out on the nightly banquets and world-class entertainment starring country music celebrities, hunting superstars, and much more!  

Whether attendees are looking to book their dream hunt, scope out the latest firearms and gear, or find taxidermy inspiration, the SCI Annual Convention will impress with many exhibits and something for everyone! 

To register for the 2023 SCI Annual Convention, visit To contact a registration agent, please dial 520-620-1220 or call toll-free at 888-746-9724.

UPDATE: I came across this teaser video on the 2023 SCI Convention. It is definitely well done.

Ed Head, RIP

Ed Head, trainer, author, and veteran of both the Border Patrol and the USAF, passed away on Friday from cancer. I never got the opportunity to take a class with him but did get to share a beer or two with him at a Michael Buys The Beer get-together in Las Vegas. He was wearing his traditional Hawaiian shirt and shared stories with my brother-in-law Larry and myself.

From Ed’s Facebook page in his natural element at Gunsite

His gun reviews were always spot on and you knew you could trust them. Ed knew firearms. More importantly, he knew how to use them in dangerous situations from his days in law enforcement. In addition to his reviews, Ed wrote the Skills Check column for the NRA’s Shooting Illustrated.

Ken Campbell, CEO of Gunsite, wrote this about Ed and his career on Facebook:

Ed (Was) was a US Air Force Security Police Officer from 1972-1976, specializing in nuclear weapons security. Also, he was the Captain of a weapons and tactics competition team.

He entered the US Border Patrol in August 1977 and was assigned to San Diego, CA. During his tenure, he supervised a Patrol Group of 19 supervisors and 160 Agents at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station. His stories of his time there are near-legendary. Successfully completing the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Firearms Instructor Training Program with a Distinguished Master rating, he began working as a Range Officer conducting all firearms training and qualifications for the Chula Vista and Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station. That later morphed into the Sector Firearms Instructor and then the Senior Firearms Instructor for the San Diego Border Patrol Sector, including more than 2500 agents. Additionally, he was the Founder, Rangemaster and first club champion of the San Diego Law Enforcement Combat Shooters Association.

Ed retired after 24 years with the USBP, retiring in 2001.

Ed met the love of his life Jean in and they were married over 36 years. They shared many adventures from horses to recent travel in their RV.

The other great love of his life was Gunsite. He began attending Gunsite in 1988, earning the coveted “Expert” (“Golden E”) rating in many of his classes. He attained his Instructor Rating at Gunsite in 1992. Ed worked as Operations Manager from February 2005 to September 2010 and then resumed his lengthy teaching career at Gunsite. His career as a writer in the gun industry also began to flourish, writing for NRA Publications and working with Michael Bane on video productions. Ed taught his last class at Gunsite late May of 2022. We know it was a very difficult moment for him to come to us in early June to let us know of his illness and withdrawing from the active instructor roster. We assured him he was only being moved to the “injured reserve” list and we looked forward to his return.

I love this picture of Ed from his younger days when he was a supervisor with the Border Patrol. You knew he meant business.

His death reminds me of John Donne’s poem.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

We are all diminished by Ed’s death.

Nice Donation To Walk The Talk America

Walk the Talk America or WTTA is an initiative from within the firearms industry to assist in suicide prevention along with mental health issues. Founded in 2018 by Michael Sodini, who was then with Bersa and Eagle Imports, WTTA seeks to find innovative ways to bring the industry and the mental health community together with the shared objective of decreasing suicides and increasing treatment.

This past week they received a $20,000 donation from Chattanooga Shooting Supplies, Inc. CSSI is now a Silver Sponsor of WTTA.

From the press release:

“Mental illness and suicide affect many individuals and families throughout the country, and that includes within the firearms and 2A community. We at CSSI want to play an active role in helping to find meaningful solutions to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health within the gun community. We are honored to support WTTA’s mission,” commented Ron Staffieri, CEO of CSSI.

“We are humbled by CSSI’s generous donation and support and proudly welcome them as our newest Silver Sponsor,” Michael Sodini, WTTA founder, said. “With every donation, we can provide more tools and resources to individuals, companies, and retailers. Our goal is to bring together not only the firearms industry and mental health resources but to make them available to all firearms owners. Donations like this from CSSI help to support our mission and we couldn’t do what we do without companies like CSSI.”

Michael Sodini has been a guest in the past on the Polite Society Podcast to talk about the work of WTTA. The firearms community as a whole has done a lot on suicide prevention. I wish I could really say the same about the gun prohibition industry. While they designate days as “firearm suicide prevention day“, they don’t provide resources beyond saying “lock it up” and pushing safe storage laws. Contrast that with WTTA’s resources which include classes, instructor slideshows, flyers for dealers, and links to even more resources.

Metric Jigger

I like to play around with different cocktails. I get my recipes from various places including books, online sources, and social media. On the last, I have been following the cocktails subreddit on While some areas of Reddit can be a social media wasteland, the cocktail section is pretty decent with interesting recipes and nice pictures.

One thing I’ve started noticing is that some people post their recipes in metric measurements. The last time I had to think in metric volume measurements was high school chemistry with Sister Rita and that was a long time ago. Rather than trying to use a conversion tool, I decided to find a metric jigger or, at least, one with both metric and “normal” markings.

I have been using an Oxo stainless steel jigger for years and love it. Checking on Amazon, I found that Oxo makes the OXO Good Grips Mini Angled Measuring Cup which goes up to 2 ounces or approximately 60 ml. For $6.99 I don’t think either you or I could go wrong with it. (Sorry for the poor picture.)

I have been using the Oxo angled jigger (or mini measuring cup) for the last few years and like it. I don’t think it matters whether it is stainless or Tritan BPA-free plastic.

If you like to experiment with cocktails on the weekend, I highly recommend this jigger.