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Join the Dacotah Territory Muzzle Loaders:
To join, you can pay our annual dues of $10.00/single, $15.00/family. The dues are due in June, not pro-rated (sorry if you join in January), and will get you access to the club meetings, newsletter, Patched Round Ball (PRB) range (for monthly shoots, but also open for individual club member use), local event notification, involvement with the club's own Rendezvous', and a wealth of knowledge and information about black powder, hunting, and rendezvousing. Your first visit to either a club meeting or a club shoot can be as a guest. Use this opportunity to judge if you need another set of crazy family members! (Doesn't everyone have the wierd Uncle Ed or wacky Aunt Tilly?) If so, return to the next meeting/shoot and pay your annual dues.
You have a few different opportunities to join the club.
Club meetings are the first Monday of every month. The club meets at the Millstone Restaurant in Aberdeen, SD at 7:30pm (meetings have a tendency to start later if the "chatter" is going well!) We use a "very" loose form of Robert's Rules of Order. Okay, so we really don't use Robert's Rules. But we do discuss issues (you can navigate to our Last Month's Minutes section to see). While at the meeting, you'll learn about upcoming events, shoots, and rendezvous'. You can also ask questions and save yourself years of trial and error.
Club shoots provide another method of joining. Shoots are held the third (3rd) Sunday of EACH MONTH at 1:00pm. Shoots are at the private club range (you'll have to contact us for the exact location, sorry), where we have 25 to 100 yard PRB (that's Patched Round Ball) targets, an archery target, Hawk&Knife blocks, firepit, and a clubhouse with two wood burning stoves to stay warm in the winter months. It costs $3.00 per shoot (we often have more than 1 shoot during the day). There is a graduated pay-back, depending on the number of shooters. This range is available to club members at any time, but please NO SHOTGUNS OR HIGH POWERED RIFLES. Shotguns tear up the buffalo board targets that have to be replaced with club money. High Powered Rifles, while not as destructive, have no target durable enough to completely stop the bullet and we have no earthen backstop. There's public access hunting within 3/4 of a mile down-range, thus this can be a safety issue. The shoots are PRB (Patched Round Ball) and open sights only. While you are welcome to use the range individually for an "inline" muzzleloader, they are not acceptable during the club competitions.
The last opportunity to join is at one of our two rendezvous'. Sweetwater Rendezvous, held at Sweetwater Lake near Conde, SD the weekend after Labor Day each September. Sweetwater Rendezvous has: a camp fee of $20.00, a $10.00 daily shooters fee if you are not camping, shoots Friday and Saturday, archery, hawk&knife, and a club-sponsored breakfast Saturday morning. The Rendezvous has had between 10-30 camps per year over it's almost 30-year history. In 2006, we moved to a new, more secluded site on the lake where 21 camps enjoyed September SD weather. We're looking forward to growing next year as news of the new site spreads. Drifting Goose Rendezvous is our other rendezvous, held at the club range over Memorial Day weekend. 2012 will be our 5th annual event. Camp starts Friday and ends Monday, with two full days of shoots, archery, hawk&knife, card-playing in the cabin, and many other activities.
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Get started in black powder shooting around Aberdeen, SD:
First, buy a rifle/pistol (no kiddin' right!?!) You can buy over the internet through places like Track of the Wolf, Cabela's, Northern Rifleman, etc. - many websites can be found in our Links page. You can also buy "locally" through SoDak Sport and Bait in Aberdeen, Cabela's in Mitchell, or Scheels in Sioux Falls, to name a few places. SoDak also carried the patches, percussion caps (if you choose percussion over flintlock), jags, powder and other miscellanious items regularly to keep you well supplied. Traditional muzzleloaders (side hammers, under hammers, flintlocks, etc) are used for pre-1840 black powder shoots and rendezvous'. If your only desire is to another hunting tag, "inlines" are becomming very popular. The only correct pistols are muzzle-loaded or the Paterson Pre-1840. If you aren't sure what that is, you can see a faithful reproduction at the Uberti website (www.uberti.com/firearms/paterson). Black Powder is far more than shooting or licensing. It is about tradition, history, comraderie, friendship, and relaxation - a social event.
Second, join the club! Dacotah Territory Muzzle Loaders has been an established club in Aberdeen since 1979. If you're at the right age, you might have seen us in centennials across the northeastern part of SD 25 years ago (we've been to many!)
Third, experience Rendezvous. Ft. Sisseton, while not what it used to be, is still considered the "kick-off" event in SD (first weekend of June). Kindred, ND has an event early in the year, as do several other areas in ND and MN. The High Plains Regional Rendezvous rotates through ND, SD, MN, NE, and KS yearly in late June. 4-Moons Rising Rendezvous is held over the 4th of July week each year near Gary, SD. There have been numerous Lewis & Clark events throughout the recent summers in SD. The Muzzleloaders of the Black Hills hold an annual event each Labor Day in the Black Hills. Then of course is our own little darlin', Sweetwater.
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This is a tough issue. It depends heavily on your financial resources and time.
Clothes - You can find patterns in your local Wal-Mart for calico shirts. Examples of true pre-1840 fabrics are: 1- and 2-color calicos, 1 color + white stripes, linen, osnaburg, muslin, canvas, wool, and wide corduroy. The Scottish used check patterns with varying amounts of color. Walnut dye is also correct, as is almost any berry dye. Pants/breeches patterns are harder to come by, especially depending on the persona you are trying to achieve. Some standards are button-fly front, drop-front, and gusseted back. They can be knee-breeches or full-length. If you can't find a pants pattern and/or don't have the time, you can buy white painter's canvas pants and remove the back pockets. While this isn't 100%, it is certainly acceptable for start-up. Hats also depend on the persona, with voyageurs caps (toques), clerk's hats, tri-corns, animal fur (usually full animal, head to tail), and felt blanks are all acceptable. Shoes are more specific. Mocassins (no rubber soles if at all possible) are the most common, but 18th century gentleman's shoes (big buckles), 2-piece boots (not your standard cowboy boots), and wood clogs are other examples. Coats are even more limited, usually to leather (not today's modern coats) or wool (being capotes, Makinaw coats, etc). If you can't find patterns, don't have money constraints, or don't have the time, there are many traders (both online and at Rendezvous') who make and sell all of these types of clothing.
Cookware - Cast iron, copper, pewter, brass, pottery. That pretty much covers it. The cheap blue enamel from Wal-Mart's camping section will also get you by as you get started. Nothing cooks better over open flame than cast iron. Grizwold and Wagner are two great names, but most people will opt for cheaper names such as Lodge, Wentzel, etc. Copper, pewter, and brass are harder to come by and usually more expensive. Cooking Utensils are usually iron/forged. Eating utensils are also more difficult. Bone, wood, or enamel are good. Most forks would have 2 or 3 tines and nothing would be stainless. Silver would have been available, but pricey.
Lodging - White canvas. That being said, there are wall tents, baker's, tipi's, officer's tents, pyramids, leantee's (leanpee's) diamond fly's, and other tentage one can buy. If you're VERY ambitious, you can make a lodge out of actual hides, but it takes a lot of time, money, and desire. Tipi's are "neat", but they are expensive, difficult to set up, require a lot of heavy poles, and really don't have a lot of room. Pyramids are generally the cheapest and easiest to get started with. Most rendezvous' also allow for modern or "tin tipi" areas. Those areas are generally a small distance apart from the primitive camp and usually can't be seen from primitive camp. Still, most people who enjoy the outdoors already have a tent or camper that they could use until the rendezvous bug "digs" in deep.
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Get mold off canvas:
Use 1/4 cup bleach in a 2 gallon bucket of warm water. Let stand 5-10 minutes on canvas and keep area wet. Clean again with clean water and let dry completely. Will work on poles also.
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