thanks for the quick reply smokey!
you ask a good question with the "why treat it at all". the manual I have says it should be treated every three months, so, it's more of a future-need type question.
I am such a nOOb though, that I don't know if/when/why/where it would ever need treatment at all. I mean, at my continued use rate (range every other weekend, and probably 2 hunting trips a year), there may come a time when it would need some more love.
so I guess I can modify the question to: how do you know when you need to re-treat with something, be it linseed, neatsfoot, or motor oil?