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Monday, March 18, 2013

Guns and Gun Control

 Family Tradition of Hunters

 Having recently completed my Bucket List Item # 6 regarding guns and target practice; I can’t get away from the thought that our country is very much divided over the issue of guns and the damage they can do in the wrong hands.  Don’t look to this posting to resolve the issue or even contribute to either side of the issue.  I just felt that I might owe an explanation to any follower of this posting, why Item # 6 of my Bucket List was even included.

I’ll start by explaining what two reasons I have used during my lifetime to drift away from what is otherwise a family tradition of hunters.  Growing up around the farm from about the age of 11, it was very common to have shotguns, hunting rifles, and even revolvers for target practice. My step-father, step-brothers and friends and neighbors all were heavily involved in hunting.  Ever since I was old enough to get my hunting license, I was enrolled in a safety training course for dealing with fire arms.

Living on a large farm, without a neighbor’s house for miles around, was the ideal setting for target practice as desired. I quickly graduated from quail hunting to pheasant hunting, and eventually the big one; deer hunting. As with everything else I ever bought in my small town, I was taken to Western Auto where I chose a reasonably prices hunting rifle.  I really wanted to use my brother’s 30-30 Winchester lever action rifle, but it wasn’t to be.  My brother explained that the 30-30 was only accurate at distances closer than appropriate for deer hunting.  He further explained that, no matter how good I was, (and I wasn’t even initiated yet) the deer would be able to sense someone approaching, and would take off.  The decision for selecting my rifle was left up to me with guidance available if I felt I needed it.  Between the Western Auto’s owner, and one of the salesmen, I was talked into a 303 British Rifle.

At the age of 15 when I bought my first hunting license, I was automatically entered in a drawing for a doe (female deer) hunting permit.  I was the only one in the family that received a special permit (Tag). The ritual was fun, we loaded two trucks with enough supplies to last for 5 days, including; food, water, tents, fuel, ammo, weapons, and beer for the adults, etc.  I’ll shorten the story to say that out of 5 people on the hunting trip, I was the only one that brought back a deer.

The act of having succeeded bothered me so much that I never again went hunting or killed another innocent animal.  I had turmoil within me because on the one hand I was being treated special amongst the men in the family (kind of like coming of age).  While at the same time I was conflicted by what I had done.  I never told anyone how badly I was bothered, but every time hunting season came around, I would get all excited (for show), and then I would manage to get sick just before departure time.  Funny thing is that nobody noticed that I never went hunting again.

The other reason I drifted away from guns, is that when I married my wonderful wife (1977), she told me that if we were going to raise a family, she didn’t want any guns around the house.  I loved her so much, and respected her request to the point that I signed on the dotted line (imaginary).

As I am catching up with Father Time I feel the need to be able to protect my home and family, so I felt it appropriate to at least become familiar with a weapon for self-protection.  As it turned out you don’t forget what you learned well, even that many years ago.  The best is yet to come….

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