Why Choose Muzzleloading?
Jim Shockey, Laramy Miller, Steve West, O'neill Williams and Chad Schearer are just a few of the names you hear when talking to people about muzzleloading. There are many reasons why muzzle loading is rapidly becoming a popular sport. With less regulations, longer seasons, and more exciting hunting challenges, muzzle loading offers us more time to get out and enjoy what we love to do.
No State Registration
A FFL (Federal Firearms License) is not required to carry or purchase a Muzzleloader. This is because muzzleloaders are considered “primitive weapons.” Therefore, they do not fall under the same regulations that center fire rifles and ammunition do. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Certain muzzleloader rifles such as the Thompson Center Encore and the CVA Apex have interchangeable barrel systems that allow the user to change from a muzzleloader barrel to a standard centerfire barrel. These interchangeable barrels classify the Encore and Apex as “firearms” to federal and state authorities.***
Same-day Purchasing / Minimal Background Checking
Most states allow muzzleloaders to be bought the same day with no background check or registration. Just like the good ‘ole days!
Extended Hunting Seasons
Most states offer separate or special black powder hunting seasons. Many of these special muzzleloader-only seasons take place in the middle of the rut or during pre-rut. (see our State Regulations page for specific state hunting seasons)
Most muzzle loading enthusiasts are simply people taking advantage of what the law grants them. With special seasons and new high-tech muzzle loading weapons, smart hunters are using muzzleloaders. They find less people in the forest competing for the same game, thus the odds are skewed in their favor. It’s simple math really: less competition in prime rutting seasons makes for great hunting.
The Challenge: Make your shot count
Mel Gibson’s character in the movie, The Patriot, tells his boys Nathan and Samuel, “Aim small, miss small.” This well-known concept has been handed down to hunters through generations. As many ‘regular gun’ hunters mature, they come to a point where the excitement of the hunt diminishes somewhat. They might still love the outdoors and filling their freezers with meat every year, but they’ve lost some of the challenge of hunting. Many discover muzzleloaders and fall in love with hunting all over again. Muzzleloaders now have the advantages of modern technology with inline designs, high-tech sabots and powerbelt bullets. Yet, there’s still the challenge of only having one shot. That combined with special state hunting seasons, makes for a new twist on an old love. You have literally one shot, so you have to get closer to the animals and use more strategy, skill, and cunning to pull off a kill. It really restores the love and challenge of the sport.
More Time Away From It All
In my home state (and most), our muzzleloader season is a special season: an extra season that I can apply for along with an Archery or Centerfire tag. This means a possible extra week or two every year spent in God’s untamed creation. I enjoy each and every second that I am out in the great outdoors, whether it is hanging out with good friends around the campfire, or making my way down a ridgeline just as the sun crests over the mountains. This is my paradise, and thanks to muzzleloaders, I can truly enjoy it more each year.
What It’s All About
For me, this is what hunting is all about: a challenging hunt and spending more time with friends and family in the nature I love. Whether you are showing your son or daughter how to hunt for the first time, or sharing an exciting stalk with a hunting partner of over 30 years, the memories made in the great outdoors are the ones you’ll treasure the most. We wish you all happy muzzleloading!
***Note: Some jurisdictions including; Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Washington DC do require registration of muzzleloaders.