All posts by Joe Workosky

Center of the Nation Mule Deer

For the Best Family Friendly Mule Deer and Antelope hunting, go to the Howell’s “Center of the Nation” ranch in N.E. Wyoming.

Last week, I flew West for my first ever Big Game Adventure. Along the drive from the Rapid City SD Airport we stopped to see Mount Rushmore.

At this time of year there were no crowds, no lines and the weather was spectacular.

Our guides, Guy and Shanna Howell welcomed us to their ranch and immediately made us feel right at home. The drive to their ranch was breathtaking.

These two weathered dead pine trees framed the front yard view near the Howell’s Main Gate.

This is the wide territory that the Mule Deer and Antelope live in. Guy tells all his hunters to practice shooting at 200 yards or more. Get comfortable at that distance; getting closer is not easy to do.

On day two of my hunt, my Guide, Guy and I were able to sneak within 200 yards of this Big Buck. Guy used his rangefinder as we set up for the shot. In the meantime the deer moved a bit closer to us.

My Riton Scope was on 9 power, my 7mm08 barked and my Mule Deer dropped right on the spot. I was so thrilled. My first Mule Deer was an awesome animal.

Guy said it was about 300 pounds live weight. I used Hornady Custom Lite ammo, with a 120 grain bullet. It’s a low recoil load. I weigh about 95 pounds and these bullets help me shoot my 7mm08 Weatherby Camilla accurately without flinching. 

My grandpa was along for photos and video production. Guy took this photo of us and you can see how massive this buck’s neck was. I could hardly hold his head in position for photos. The bullet did not exit. The hollow point fully expanded inside the buck, for an instant kill. Guy estimates that the buck was about 160 yards away.

I took this photo just before we spotted my Mule Deer Buck. What a pretty sunrise over a vast terrain. The ranch has 1,000’s of acres where many Deer and Antelope roam. I saw several really big Mule Deer bucks during this hunt. They all seemed to quickly slip away before we could get into my 250 yard comfort zone.

I was just so impressed with this hunt. My Guide “Guy Howell” and his wife, Shanna were perfect Hosts. I’ll Never forget this Hunt!  I’ll have lots more to say and show you about this Wild Wyoming Adventure, so stay tuned for an up-coming video of my Deer and Antelope Hunt at:


My Mini Riton Video

My Riton Optics Manager, Tony Tarantino, asked all the Riton Pro Staff members to make a short video about how we got involved in the Shooting Sports.

I got started early with shooting and hunting by going on Spring Gobbler Hunts with my Grandpa when I was 8 years old. Please check out my Riton Mini-Video by clicking on Link below.

Thanks for watching this edition of  “Ruby’s Riton Review”.

Akron University Zippy Open

Our Jerome Rifle Team had a competition in Ohio last weekend. It was held at Akron University and the match is known as the “Annual Zippy Open”.

I’ve only practiced with this air rifle twice before this event, so that made me a bit nervous. I’ve been shooting my Feinwerkbau 2800 a few weeks now. It’s the 22 Caliber and I’m very comfortable shooting my FWB.

The Akron Zips had their Rifle Team members shooting with us during the match. They are extremely good shots. That put more pressure on us High School kids.

The ZIP’s mascot is a Kangaroo? Why, I don’t know? Our Team; Abby, Nicole, Elissa and I were registered to shoot both the small bore “22” caliber and the Air rifle “177” caliber. The Akron Rifle Coach gave us an overview of how the competition is conducted. He also explained the computerize target scoring system. Parents, coaches, and other onlookers could sit in any classroom or hallway that had a flat screen TV.

They could see each shot as it’s fired, where it hit and the shot value. Then it shows a running total score. It was a little intimidating at first, but I liked it. I want a computer target system like this for our Indoor Range. We got a few photos of each of us, shooting at the perfect moment that we shot Tens.

Nicole and I were going a bit slow during the Standing Position.

I liked seeing my shots on the Computer Screen. This is better than looking through the spotting scopes.

Abby and Nicole in the Air Rifle Competition Range. It’s the Zippy Open! There were other Team shooters from York and Harrisburg, PA. and Virginia, Michigan and Ohio.

After we were done shooting, Elissa, Nicole and I were waiting for the Akron University Campus Tour.

The Akron College Shooters are on scholarships and two of them took us on a tour of the University Campus after our shooting was complete. The AU Campus and buildings were impressive. It was a very interesting tour.

Walking all around the big Campus was good exercise after our long shooting match. We then went to have lunch at “Chick-fil-A” located inside the Student Union Building.

We all were happy that we entered this College Competition and it was good to be in a new and hi-tech facility. This helped us adapt to a totally different range, rules and level of competition. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Ruby and Hunter with Riton & Howa

I’ve been practicing with my Howa Mini Action 223 rifle with my Riton scope and I’ve been shooting some nice groups at 100 and 200 yards. My friend , Hunter, and I shot about a box of ammo at 50 and 100 yards at the Jerome Sportsmen’s Club back in June.

My Grandpa went to the range with us to videotape us shooting from the bench. Of course he had to take a few shots with this rifle, too. He likes the heavy barrel for long range accuracy and thinks the Riton Scope is great for Ground Hogs!

We did some fine-tuning on the Riton scope, because we were using a box of new 223 ammo. Hunter has never fired this rifle or used a Riton Scope before. However, Hunter is a good Deer Hunter and she hunts with her Dad, right near her cabin-home. She shot this nice Whitetail Doe last year with her 308 caliber, single shot rifle.

Take a look at my video that Hunter and I did while we were shooting at the range. Just click on the link below.




Riton, Howa and Hogs, Great Combo

Groundhog hunting is very interesting with my Riton 3-12×40 scope and my Howa “Mini Action” 223. It’s excellent practice and helps test my hunting, shooting, range finding and reloading skills. The Riton-Howa combination has proven to be super accurate at 100 and 200 yards. All my targets show groups of a half inch, or less, if I’m doing my best trigger control.

We often see ground hogs from our treestands while bow hunting for deer. On several occasions we’ve seen ground hogs climbing trees, too. I love to watch them with my RITON 10×42 Binoculars.

Scanning the edges of spring and summer fields will produce sightings of all sorts of wildlife, besides the wary woodchuck. Bucks in velvet, fawns, turkeys and turtles, so we always pay attention.

My Pups has been shooting groundhogs since he was 12 years old. He thought they were “Big Game” back then. He wrote an article for “Bowhunter” magazine years ago entitled, “Go Sky High for Hogs”. He explained about hunting these earth-movers from treestands with his recurve bow. The story featured him and my Uncle Ace on the cover. They were low-tech hunters.

Hogs are a nuisance when they’re close to home, too. One industrious pair of hogs dug a huge cavern beneath our neighbor’s long, stone driveway. On Harry’s return home one night the driveway collapsed as his vehicle sped by. Going 25 mph, the front-tire of his new Caddy dropped into the crater. The wheel and axle were completely torn off. Harry permitted hog hunting in his front yard from that day on. I’ll keep watch on this field, they’re sure to be feeding soon.


Full Bore Buck Hunt 2018

Ohio is my favorite place for hunting Whitetail Deer. This is my third year for hunting during the Ohio Youth Weekend, where kids under the age of 16 can hunt a Buck or a Doe with their parent, guardian or mentor.

I was so happy that my new friend, Savanah Freer from New York state was successful on her first ever Whitetail Deer Hunt. We were hunting with a few other young hunters at Full Bore Outfitters with our guide, Matt Lamp. She shot her Big Buck with a 50-caliber muzzleloader.

I couldn’t wait to return to Ohio for this year’s hunt with Matt Lamp and the guides of Full Bore Outfitters. Matt assured me that this year a few Big Boys were hanging out around my stand and he wasn’t kidding. This heavy duty Buck came in after darkness fell.

More than a few bucks were caught on Matt’s trail camera during the daylight hours, too. He had the photos to prove it . I was hoping to see one of these monsters while I was holding my Ruger 44 Magnum rifle.

Last year I left my 9 point buck in Ohio with Casey Watterson, an award winning Taxidermist. So I was anxious to return to Ohio to retrieve my 2017 Buck at his Lone Leaf Taxidermy Studio. It was a long wait for me, exactly one year, just to see my trophy buck again. Please take a look at my 2018 Ohio video below:


RITON for Predator Hunting

Here in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern PA, we’ve been having sub-zero temperatures, high winds and snowy conditions.

The Allegheny Mountains near my home have thousands of acres for coyotes and foxes to roam. However, few hunters hike these icy ridge tops in severe weather conditions like this. It was minus 20 degrees this morning.

I have my rifle ready to go, it’s a .223 Smith & Wesson AR and I have my Riton RT-S Mod-5 Gen-2 scope mounted on it. The 6-24×50 scope is, “Riton @200 yards”. So I’m ready for a nice coyote or fox to show up in my crosshair.

For hunting on stand, I pack a small 3-legged stool so I can sit motionless while calling. I use a lightweight tripod for a solid shooting platform for taking shots at 100-yards or more.

We’ve been seeing a few foxes and coyotes in the mountains near my hunting area and their tracks are easy to see in the snow.

We’ve had foxes cross the edge of this big corn field during the daytime. The mice and moles are really thick in this area and that food supply draws in the predators.

We’re using my new FoxPro electronic Caller and it’s made right here in PA. The Patriot model is compact, lightweight and very sturdy. The sounds loaded into the unit are really nice and they contain a good selection, plus you can add up to 300 more sounds.

The controller has a lighted keypad and with these large buttons, it’s easy to use even when wearing gloves.

We’ve done some calling along the oak ridges and in some brushy river bottoms. And so far, our daylight predator calling has not been productive for us.

But, I have high hopes we will do better and I’ll finally get to do some shooting when we start calling and hunting after sundown.

This type of hunting calls for a powerful light to spot our quarry. We picked a “Night Snipe” light with a red LED and a rechargeable Lithium battery. Experts claim its focusing beam can spot animals at more than 400 yards. It attaches easily to the scope and I can’t wait to try it out.

We hope to have a video of a successful night-time coyote or fox hunt as soon as the weather cooperates. Minus -30 below zero is a little too cold for me. My trigger finger just doesn’t work properly until temperatures reach the 40 degree range.

Riton 6-24×50 IR Scope joins Smith & Wesson

We recently had a few coyotes and red foxes appear on our trail cameras so now is a great time to plan a late season predator hunt. 

This red fox ran by my trail camera at 8:30 am.

Then I got 2 photos of this coyote near the same spot at night.

This camera shoots color in daylight but only B&W photos at night. Too bad this coyote wasn’t centered in the camera better.

To start off our “Winter Night Time Hunts”, I mounted my RT-S Mod-5 Gen-2 scope on our new Smith & Wesson AR-15.

We mounted the scope with Riton medium high 30mm rings, but it was too low to operate the charging bar easily. So, we bought two extra pic spacers to get the scope higher above the pic rail. That solved the problem.

At 100 yards we got a few 4 shot groups from 1 inch to 1 ½ inches with factory cal. 223 ammo. I think that’s pretty good for an AR rifle.

I carried the rifle around our property just to get used to holding it. It’s really a different feel when aiming this AR compared with my bolt-action type rifles.

This special scope has a very fine cross hair grid for windage and elevation indicators. The very center of the cross hair can be illuminated with a red light by turning the battery turret on. This feature will be a big help in getting on target during a night-time predator hunt.

The scope has the Push/Pull Locking Zero Reset Turrets and it’s made of Aircraft Grade Aluminum. Plus, it’s 100% Waterproof, Fog proof and Shockproof. The ¼” MOA Fingertip Windage and Elevation turrets are great for getting back to zero when your changing bullet weights or shooting at extreme long range.

OK coyotes and foxes, “Look out, I’m ready to hunt!”

Vayda’s Video Crossbow Doe

Hunting deer with a Muzzleloader, or a Crossbow, takes a lot of patience, practice, scouting and some good luck, too. I hunted for a doe all through the week long Muzzleloader season and I never got a good, clear shot. Vayda had much better luck. See her Big Doe  photo below!

On Vayda’s first ever Crossbow Hunt, she bagged this nice doe with one arrow. Because it took me 3 years to shoot my first deer, Vayda is never going to let me forget that she hunted for about 15 minutes before her deer was down. Watch our video below for all the details.

Riton goes to W.VA to see Ultra Light Arms

Last Spring, my Grand Father returned his old Ultra Light Arms (ULA) 7mm08 to a gunsmith in West Virginia for adjustments. Mel Forbes, Master Gunsmith, designed and hand-crafted this remarkable rifle and the man and weapon became famous in the process. His idea of building an ultra lightweight rifle for hunters who hunt out West became very popular.

However, many eastern hunters found the handy rifle great for hunting whitetail deer and his rifle really took off. My Grandpa (left in Photo) bought this rifle in 1986 and it’s been on pack-in , fly-in and tough hunts in PA, Canada, Alaska and out West. Mel on right side.

Since we are going to Wyoming next Fall for Mule Deer and Antelope my Pup’s thought I’d need a larger caliber than my Savage 243. So, he’s handing this rifle down to me. I’m so thrilled to have this custom rifle and the Family History that goes with it.

This ULA rifle was used by my Gram (Mary Ann) back when she was a deer hunter. One year she missed a big buck when her bullet hit a sapling right in front of the deer. Too Bad!

The ULA also was used by my Aunt Jenny when she was in High School for both Buck and Doe Seasons. My Mom used the ULA rifle , too. They both learned how to shoot this deer rifle when they were 12 years old.

Pups shot this young PA Buck on the last day of deer season while hunting from his special “Rock” at the top of a mountain in Bedford County. That’s waiting till the last minute!

This 33 year old rifle had a scratch and a ding on the bolt handle and the stock was all chipped up. On one trip, a Caribou hind-quarter was rubbing on the rifle barrel during a long backpacking trip. The hot bloody meat wore the bluing off a portion of the barrel and that looked bad and a bit rusty.

The light ULA was really nice to carry while hunting on this DIY fly-in Caribou trip to the Ungava Peninsula. Also, because when you fly in to hunt, the Pilots are concerned about the overall weight of your hunting gear.

Mel’s staff took notes on our request for paint, bluing and the new   stock measurements. Mel agreed to cut the stock to a shorter Length of Pull to fit me better. Then his staff would re-finish the bolt, re-blue the entire barrel, fix all the damaged areas of the stock and repaint the camo stripes. I liked the idea of have the same original camo pattern from 1986. Just like when my Grand Dad hunted with it. Today Mel’s company is called New Ultra Light Arms, (NULA).

When Mel called to say the rifle was ready to be picked up in early October, I was thrilled to go to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia to meet Mr. Forbes, see his gun shop and get my new-old rifle.

I went in the W.VA. Visitor Center and was amazed to learn that 10 to 12 thousand years ago, the Saber Toothed Tiger roamed these rugged mountains. That’s a real hunter.

My Cousin, Acey Workosky, is a graduate of West Virginia University. Hey Ace, Remember this place? The campus is huge and Mel’s NULA rifle shop is just a few miles away.

Mel was really nice to me and was really interested in my Riton Binoculars . I told him I was a Riton Pro Staff member and he said that was cool, But added, when he’s at the “Shot Show” this winter he won’t see me there because I’m not 21 years old. 

Mel also checked out my Riton 6×24 Riton Scope, I told him we’re putting that scope on a 223 cal. Auto Loading Rifle for my Coyote and Fox Hunting. He was funny about using that scope at  24 power.

Mel told me to shoot straight and advised me to re-load 120 grain bullets for the 7mm08. He told me this mild recoil load will reach out for those long range shots and still have enough power to knock down a big Mule Deer Buck. The Antelope will be no problem to kill with a 7mm bullet going about 3,000 feet per second.

These custom made Kevlar stocks are each hand made by a Special Formula by the NULA Stock Technician. The stocks are not just the plastic/rubber type used on many factory rifles  made today. These stocks are super strong and super straight. And very light weight.

I watched the one of the technicians prepare one of Mel’s special Kevlar stocks for it’s final paint job, this lady is a real artist. She painted my ULA stock. See my Brand New-Old rifle below.

So, here’s my finished Ultra Light Arms Rifle from Mel Forbes. Now, I just need another RITON scope for this 7mm08. So, those big Mule Deer and Antelope better Watch Out in Wyoming! I can hardly wait for next Fall to come! Thanks Mel, Great job!