Jamie Hayes goes hunting for more than a NASCAR Camping World East Series win. He is planning to hunt big Kansas bucks this fall with his father James Hayes. Hunting is a long-time family tradition in the Hayes family. Growing up on 133 acres, Jamie’s father planned on having a life-long hunting companion when he bought his son a lifetime hunting license. Jamie and his dad have chased rabbits, squirrels, ducks, doves, and deer since childhood. When asked what his favorite type of hunting is, Jamie quite adamantly responded, “Without a doubt, I had rather hunt whitetail deer than any other animal.”
With the hectic schedule that this second year Ken Schrader Racing team member must meet, Jamie’s days devoted to hunting are fewer than he would like. Despite the race schedule, he plans an annual hunting trip with his outdoor mentor, his father. This year’s trip will be with archery professional Johnny Heath to the hunting land of whitetail legends, Kansas. Johnny informed Jamie that there are lots of open lands with few trees appropriate for treestands, so possessing long range shooting skills would definitely be an asset.
During the first weekend of March the town of Raleigh, North Carolina serves as the host city for Dixie Deer Classic for the 28th consecutive year. This year, Chad Thousand capitalized on the fact that his cousin, Bobby Hart was in town. Bobby is a 1,000 yard world champion and former World Record holder at that distance. This fourth generation custom rifle builder and co-owner of R.W. Hart Inc., is passionate about teaching long range rifle shooting skills. Chad Thousand of the Fail-Safe Group arranged for Bob Hart to teach a long range shooting clinic at the farm of NASCAR legend and team owner Richard Childress. Richard, a very accomplished hunter and a huge fan of Bobby’s guns has used Hart Rifles for years. Richard opened up his museum, race shop, and personal shooting range to The Fail-Safe Group’s guests.
Jamie and other attendees listened intently as Bob discussed how he installs, and zeros in scopes for supreme accuracy. Bob also shared his secrets concerning the use of a click chart to be able to adjust the turrets of a long range scope where you can aim dead on at any yardage. Bob then demonstrated his shooting skills on a steel antelope target at 400 yards then commenced to explode milk jugs filled with water at 425 and 440 yards.
The demo was just enough to wet Jamie’s appetite. He was the first of the participants to get to fire the Hart rifles. After every shot, Bob adjusted the windage to compensate for the strong left to right gusting winds. Shortly, a smile erupted on Jamie’s face when he exploded the first milk jug. One-by-one each person in attendance took their turn at one of the two bench positions.
Two of the parents had brought their sons along for the day’s activities: Jayden Whaley (8) and Toby (12). Jayden had never even been around guns, but after listening to Bobby’s instructions and following them exactly, his first shot exploded a milk jug at 400 yards. Toby, who often accompanies his dad Jim, was quick to also hit the target. The kids made us proud and encouraged that they will also carry on the hunting heritage.
I am a much better participant than watcher, so feeling my Cheerios, I selected the smallest plastic bottle, a soft drink bottle with a long neck, to be my target. I squeezed off the shot. My spotter exclaimed, “Just one inch to the right,” as the 30 Hart round blew up dust on the hillside. Bob told me to shoot at a milk jug instead of the tiny bottle. After being chastised for my target selection, I did as he asked. My second shot found the mark and the jug imploded. Yes, I let out a little shout of jubilation. When the waiting lines diminished I asked for a second turn. This time I selected a jug and aimed the Terminator, a custom .30 caliber Hart rifle with a heavy barrel and adjustable length stock.
“Fire in the hole,” I announced just before centering the crosshair on the jug. While gripping the forearm of the stock with my left hand, I pulled the rifle toward my right shoulder and simultaneously pushed that shoulder toward the butt of the gun. With a gentle squeeze and a follow-through that allowed the rifle to remain aimed at the target, I watched the bullet impact and explode the jug. The splashing water was visible to the naked eye of all onlookers. I again squealed and smacked high-fives with my buddies. I am a proud pupil of the Hart Long Range Rifle School. Although I am not quite ready for the 1,000 yard world championships, with some more tutorials and practice, I will be ready. Watch out boys I am going to get ya!
As for Jamie, he is bragging to friend and fellow racer Terry Labonte about the Hart rifles. He is anxious for Bobby Hart to return to North Carolina and conduct another shooting clinic. He is already planning to have Bobby build rifles for both he and his father. I am sure that Jamie will take his newly acquired shooting knowledge back home to share with his dad. I’m sure also that James will continue to practice his meticulous reloading skills and learn what he can from Jamie’s long range experiences as the two prepare for the Kansas whitetail deer of a lifetime. Boys, I would sure hate to be a trophy Kansas whitetail buck this year. With the Hayes father and son team armed with Hart Rifles and their new knowledge of long range shooting, that buck will be in bad trouble.
Good luck Jamie. We wish you well both on the track and in the woods. Just call me when you are ready to tackle the turkey woods with my boyfriend, Dan DeWitt, and me. We will do our best to help you experience the thrill of a strutting gobbler and maybe, just maybe, I will share that adventure with all of you.
Jamie wishes to thank Bob Hart for the opportunity to attend the clinic. “With me knowing that I am going on this Kansas trip, your shooting clinic let me know that I can shoot long range. It helped me build up my confidence that I can reach out past 200 yards and stand a great chance of harvesting a deer. With dad and me expanding our hunting out west, this new knowledge will definitely help,” commented Jamie. “Thanks Bob, Chad, Jim, and Richard. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
If you too want to learn the principals of long range shooting and hunting, check out the website of Bobby Hart at: www.rwhart.com.