I’m going to start this post out by saying something bluntly. We are gun people. We have rifles. We have shotguns. We have handguns. My husband and I are both concealed carry permit holders in the state of New York, and yes, sometimes we carry concealed. I grew up in a house with guns, as did my husband. We were both in the military where we were required to shoot several times a year, and we were both deployed to Bosnia where we carried a gun constantly for 10 months. We see guns as tools, not toys–although target shooting and hunting can be fun. Our children have been raised to respect them and treat them safely.
If you do not like guns, hate them or think they are evil–well, you are entitled to your opinion, just as I am mine. You are welcome to respectfully express that opinion or to ask questions–but this blog is MY home and I will not put up with any personal attacks or rudeness.
Ok, now that’s out of the way.
Princess has been saying for a while that she wanted to take the hunter’s safety course and go hunting with Papa this coming year. Several of our family friends have sons who are a year or two older than her, so she’s heard all about it from them. This was NOT something that we pushed her into in any way shape or form. Yes–she’s a very girly girl and love to dress up, do art and dance–but she also wants to learn to shoot. So ok then!
For her 12th birthday two months ago Yankee Bill surprised her with a shotgun. It’s a Mossberg Bantam, and although it’s a “youth” gun it is of good quality and she could use it her entire life~we are petite people so I doubt the stock would ever wind up being too short. We called around to the local sporting goods stores and found one that was having their hunting safety course, which she and Yankee Bill attended together for 2 evenings and an entire Saturday. She came out hunter’s safety certified–which means we can now go and get her a youth hunting license which will allow her to hunt turkey and small game in the presence of an adult licensed hunter.
The weekend after her certification course we took the kids up to the land (our friends unimproved property) and did some shooting. First she and Yankee Bill played around with the bow and arrow set that Santa had left for the kids to share. We are going to have to have Nana, who was a state champion archer back in her school days, give her a few pointers. Neither Yankee Bill or I have used a bow in years and years!
Then it was time for her to shoot. She was a bit nervous about the kick from a shotgun (they had only used air rifles in her course) but Papa talked her through it and used a really light load. We reemphasized all of the safety rules and then Bill made her state all the steps she had to go through to prepare to shoot before she did them.
Hearing protection on, safety rules followed, Papa stepped back and let her aim and shoot.
She had a good time and felt more confident in her skills. Papa was very proud of how safety conscious she was and how well she shot. I was glad that she had a special experience with her Dad that she didn’t have to share with her younger brother. The shotgun was brought home, cleaned and locked back up in the gun safe (which is a super cool biometric one that will only open with Yankee Bill or my fingerprint).
And that’s how Princess learned to shoot.