Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Toby Bridges Working Against Traditional Muzzleloaders

Much has been made lately of Toby Bridges and The North American Muzzleloading Hunting Association (NAMHA) and their stand to REQUIRE scope sights and ban traditional muzzleloaders in muzzleloading seasons. Trying to find out the truth of the matter my on-line research has come up with the following.

Apparently, Pedersoli puts stock in the reports despite Mr. Bridges denial:
"In the past we allowed Mr. Bridges to test our traditional ML rifles as well as our in-line ML rifles and he had our cooperation and limited sponsorship. Due to the new path Mr. Bridges has taken , in which traditional muzzle loading rifles would no longer have their current exclusive hunting period and in which in-line rifles would hunt at the same time as the traditional rifles, we have withdrawn our former support and sponsorship of Toby Bridges.

The Davide Pedersoli company has advised Mr. Toby Bridges to remove our company name from any list of sponsors who support his lobbying efforts because even though we manufacture in-line muzzle loading rifles, we strongly support the use of traditional types of flintlock and percussion lock rifles during hunting periods assigned to muzzle loading rifles.

We always believed that the hunting with muzzleloading guns, both traditional and modern black powder in-line rifles, could co-exist, even if two different muzzleloading hunting seasons would be more required. Certainly we never thought they could get into conflict with each other.
We regret Toby Bridge's decision which surprised us, considering that in the past he took important positions, which we could share, but absolutely not his last one.

The use of traditional muzzleloading rifles for hunting has all the historical, political and rational reasons to continue and to expand and cannot be forced to die, as Toby Bridges warns and predicts (and is trying to make happen) nor can be the enthusiasm and will of people who are dedicated to this traditional sector be disregarded. On the contrary, the traditional muzzle loading guns contributed surely much more than the modern in-line muzzleloading guns have to the muzzle loading hunting being accepted in our states. Rather than trying to promote the in-line rifles and push aside the exclusive hunting season for traditional percussion or flintlock rifles we should all be working to strengthen the separation of hunting seasons for archers, traditional muzzle loading rifles, the powerful in-line rifles and of course the modern cartridge rifles.

The in-line rifles are closer to the modern high power cartridge rifles and we hope that all government officials involved with making or changing hunting rules will recognize the big difference in power and range which in-line rifles (which use conical bullets) have over the traditional antique or replica rifles which use round ball bullets. Both archery hunters and traditional muzzle loading rifle hunters accept the great challenge and limitation of their hunting weapons, the need to stalk the game and get very close in order to make a clean killing shot. For the in-line rifle and modern cartridge rifle hunters a much different challenge is presented and the mixing of traditional and in-line rifles in the field at the same time would be unacceptable to the vast majority of traditional muzzle loading rifle users.

I read the letter Toby Bridges published in his web site in which he explained he has been misunderstood. I acknowledge his effort, however this letter gives me the opportunity to contradict Toby about the in-line rifles being the natural modern evolution of the muzzleloading guns.

The real modern aspect was when many years ago some of the American states opened the hunting season to the muzzleloading guns. This was a modernity sign! What happened later with the introduction of the in-line rifles and the continuous improvements to reach high performances, such as the use of pelletized substitute powder, waterproof ignition systems or sabot bullets, etc. made the modern muzzloading guns get closer to the modern cartridge gun performance. I am convinced that most of the hunters using in-line rifles are only taking advantage of this enhanced performance in a dedicated muzzleloading hunting season. I am also convinced that if the muzzleloading hunting season becomes an "open hunting season", several of the users of the in-line rifles will drop their rifles to hunt only with the modern ones.
I have to say that I am fond of the hunt in all its aspects, I am a hunter with modern guns, with cartridge guns, with muzzleloading traditional guns and with in-line rifles.

Davide Pedersoli is not against the modern in-line rifle hunting, which we consider as an alternative and different activity from the one with traditional guns . Without doubt, hunting with traditional guns must be protected and sustained in the spirit of the rules approved in many of the American states because it gives the American sportsman a hunting challenge and emotional satisfaction which no other type of gun can give."

Pierangelo Pedersoli, President

Davide Pedersoli & C.
Via Artigiani 57
I-25063 Gardone Valtrompia (Brescia) Italy
ph.030 8915000 fax 030 8911019

There are several topics on several forums:

Historical Trekking
Goex Powder Forum
The Hunting Net
The High Road
Traditional Muzzleloaders Forum

And an article or two:

Crusading for muzzleloaders with scopes
Let's just eliminate Primitive Firearms Seasons altogether Part 1
Let's just eliminate Primitive Firearms Seasons altogether Part 2
Let's just eliminate Primitive Firearms Seasons altogether Part 3

The North American Muzzleloading Hunting Association has filed a civil
rights complaint alleging discrimination against the fish and game
departments of fifteen states that do not permit the use of "sight
correcting magnification" (riflescopes) during their special
muzzleloader hunting seasons.

According to the complaint, big game hunters in the United States are
becoming older as a group. With that maturation, NAMHA holds, there is a
natural deterioration of vision. Due to that accepted fact, it should be
only reasonable that older hunters be provided the equipment to see more

In fifteen jurisdictions across the United States, however,
muzzleloading hunters are prohibited from using optical sights, despite
the fact that center-fire rifles, handguns and slug-loaded shotguns
permit optical sights. This, NAMHA holds, is discrimination against
muzzleloading hunters - discrimination that is due to age and sight
deterioration- items covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act

In a July 16 letter of complaint to Secretary of the Interior Dirk
Kempthorne NAMHA founder Toby Bridges pointed out, "If modern firearms
hunters in these states are given the right to hunt with a magnifying
telescopic rifle sight (scope), then the muzzleloading hunter has the
right to use the same sighting aid during a season established for
muzzle-loaded guns. For these states to deny that right is a clear cut
case of discrimination - due to age, due to sight disability and due to

The July 27th reply from the Department of the Interior says: "We have
accepted your complaint for investigation under the authority of section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Section 504 prohibits
discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities
receiving Federal financial assistance. Title II of the ADA prohibits
discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities
conducted by public entities whether or not they receive Federal
financial assistance. Each of the 15 Wildlife Agencies is subject to the
nondiscrimination requirements of both of these Federal laws. Under
separate cover, we have asked the FWS (Fish & Wildlife Service) to
investigate your complaint."

Since filing the complaint, the NAMHA says it has been contacted by
several of the named departments. Their reasoning for the no-scope
regulations are characterized by NAMHA as "the same old rhetoric and
reasoning that has been shot down and proven wrong in other states, "
from a potential over-harvest of game to the temptation to take longer
shots. In response, the Association says that precise shot placement is
key to a quick, clean and humane harvest, not a ban on optics.

Further, the NAMHA says game departments "haven't a clue" as to how much
game is lost to poor shot placement due to their open sights only

The game agencies listed in the complaint are the Alaska Department of
Fish and Game; California Department of Fish and Game; Colorado Division
of Wildlife; Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Idaho Department
of Fish and Game; Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks; Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources; Nebraska Game and Parks Commission;
Nevada Department of Wildlife; North Dakota Department of Game and Fish;
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; South Dakota Department of Game,
Fish and Parks; Utah Division of Wildlife Resources; Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife; and the Wisconsin Department of Natural

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