Badger Busting Buddies


Most of us are guilty of it, yet it continues on a daily basis. Time slips by like a boulder gaining speed rolling down a ravine. When it gets too bad, a phone call is in order, to reconnect with our buddies.

Dick Thompson, a handgunner hunting legend and expert badger basher.

Sixgun Amigos

For me, the tenacious badger conjures up thoughts of some good sixgun buddies. The first of these good friends is Dick Thompson. I met Dick through the World Wide Web when going through a rather tough time.

It was the middle of August ’09, and mom was dying of cancer. I was still a motor cop and working the county fair detail. After closing the fair down, I’d head home on my Harley. Gliding home gave me a chance to cool off and enjoy the tranquility of my midnight ride home, all the while thinking of mom.

Still wired and wide-awake, I’d fire up the computer and peruse the Internet gun forums. The more I scrolled and read, the more I noticed stories from this fella out in Idaho posting pictures of himself with things he’d killed with his sixgun.

Badgers, rock chucks, ground squirrels, rabbits, it didn’t matter. Further digging showed this same guy with elk, moose, deer, mountain lion, all taken with his sixgun.

It was a great way to unwind, and distract me from the harsh realities.

Mom died the last day of August.

Here’s a happy “Doc” Barranti with his Idaho badger.

Taking A Chance

About a week later, Dick invited me to Idaho to go on a handgun hunt for elk. I graciously accepted his offer and it turned into one of the greatest decisions I ever made! I experienced my first handgun kill on this trip, taking a cow elk with my Ruger Bisley Hunter in .45 Colt — loaded of course, with a Lyman 454424 Keith SWC bullet.

Dick tells me to call this guy that lives right by me, four hours away, by the name of Barranti, from Pittsburgh. By now, it’s January, and Doc Barranti’s mom is dying. Being in the same sad shoes a few months earlier, we have an instant connection, besides sixguns, and hit it off.

Back To Badgers

Nicknamed “Natures Backhoe” for his ability to dig and submarine itself beneath the ground in pursuit of its favorite fodder, ground squirrels, these tenacious carnivores are aggressive, mean, nasty and always in a foul mood. They are North America’s version of the Tasmanian devil!

They can carve your calves in a jiffy and work to points north in a flash, using claws to climb and powerful jaws, complete with abundant orthodontia. No wonder your adrenalin get’s pumping pursuing this formable foe.

Dick Thompson has been known to chase these masked-devils in high grain, seeing only the wake they make as he gives chase. Dick has killed a truckload of badgers, most with a sixgun!

The three amigos, Doc, Dick and Tank!

Doc’s Badger

Back in the summer of 2010, I visited Dick with my daughter, Samantha. “Doc” Barranti was also there. However, his last day was my first day of the visit. We were driving around an old homestead, hunting a badger for “Doc.” He’s carrying the “Mary” gun, named after his mom, a 4″ Smith 29-2, stoked with .44 special loads consisting of some Lyman 429421 HP slugs, cast by Dick, pushed by 7.5 grains of Unique — a “Skeeterific” load for badgers.

Crossing an old culvert, something caught my eye. I yell, “badger!” Dick hit the brakes and I bailed out, taking the backside of the galvanized culvert pipe. “Doc” takes the close end.

A snarling, growling badger is furious he’s been outmaneuvered, and it’s now stuck in the culvert pipe, with both ends blocked by a sixgunner with bad intentions on his very existence.

“Doc” cautiously sliced the pie of the pipe opening, and, seeing the badger’s nose sticking out, testing the air, let’s fly with a round. POW! The first shot punches through the pipe, striking the badger in the head. A quick second shot finishes the job, and ol’ “Doc” runs up to the badger, grabbing a handful of fur to pull his prized trophy out!

Dick and I look at each other and laugh, saying we would have poked the badger with a stick first to double check if it was, in fact, a dead badger.

Dick knows, trust me. He once retrieved a “dead badger” that made its way back to its hole, pulling it out by the nose with a pair of Leatherman pliers, only to have the masked demon resurrect itself, and start snarling at him. Anyway, “Doc” got his badger, and it’s a beautiful mount today.

Here’s Doc’s beautiful mount with Tank’s Badger Buster rig.

A Badger Buster Rig

Doc was so happy for getting his badger; he surprised me with a special rig a few years later for my new Ruger Single-Seven in .327 Federal. An ornery looking badger is carved on it, making it the perfect “Badger Buster” rig.

Do It!

With the advent of cell phones and texting, we do the best we can with calls, exchanging photos and short notes to each other. Nothing beats an actual visit though! Go see your friends before it’s too late.

I’m going to have to book a flight soon to catch up and visit my Idaho buddies. I might just go poking around deserted homesteads in pursuit of a formidable opponent, the tenacious badger — with my Barranti Badger Buster rig!

Who knows, maybe ol’ Doc will join me for a rendezvous of sorts. I hope he makes it!

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