Princess Learns to Shoot

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!

Princess Shooting 5

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.

Princess Shooting 4

Hearing protection on, safety rules followed, Papa stepped back and let her aim and shoot.

Princess Shooting 1She did great!  She knocked over several of the pins she was aiming at.  (We have old bowling pins and paper targets).

Princess Shooting 2

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.

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  1. Ruth Hall says

    Great to see them sharing a “boy” experience – we keep telling our 5 year old that she can do anything……. Even when wearing a tutu & fairy wings :)

    • says

      That’s just it Ruth–she wanted to do this, so why not let her try it! She can be a girly girl AND hunt if she wants to :) Or not–she may decide that it isn’t for her, or she may just enjoy it occasionally. We will let her figure that part out once she’s been given the (safe) opportunity.

  2. says

    You already know that we are in agreement on this issue. Larry taught both of the girls to shoot when they were young [Lauren was rated “Sharpshooter” in the Army, and Ellyn was rated whatever the AF equivalent of that is], and now he is teaching the grandkids. Important skills, ones that help them respect the idea of guns as tools. Good job Princess!

  3. says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Can I say LOVE enough??? I’m so excited for her! I’m so glad she is very safety conscious, and as long as she keeps those rules in action every time she goes out, she will do just fine! I can’t wait to see her first hunting pic!!!

  4. Amanda says

    Great post! I remember all of us shooting with dad… something that was fun even though we never went hunting. I feel like this is one of those “I can do anything (with research, training and practice)” moments! So excited to spend time with you this summer. I have a very girly activity planned with my awesome niece!

  5. says

    Cool! I have this dream one day where I’m going to practice archery while on a horse (like the Mongols). Don’t even know why I have this dream – it just seems so cool.

  6. says

    Love it – I did not grow up around guns, but I now live in Idaho, and it’s a very big thing here. I shot last year for the 1st time and we are teaching our 6 year old to respect guns…she’ll learn to shoot when she’s a little older. Love that you posted this!

  7. Amyrlin says

    Fantastic!!! My son got a BB gun when he was 11, just before he turned 12. He loves to shoot at targets, the only thing is the new house he gets a lot of ricochet from the cement block fencing. He takes it out to his grandparents home who live in a rural area a bit up in Northern AZ, he can really cut loose then. I think your perspective and approach on guns is sensible and appropriate.

  8. says

    I have been around guns all my life (and by that, I mean I remember going deer hunting with my grandparents when I was THREE years old ROFL).

    Although I currently don’t have any guns in the house–with a bi-polar, borderline personality roommate I just don’t feel that it’s smart to have ANY weapons — I was taught as a child, adolescent, and adult how to safely load and fire shoot everything from a 22 rifle to a Ruger 6 shot handgun. I was also taught about gun safety, ear protection, and all the other rules of responsible shooting.

    I remember shooting that 22 with my cousins (mostly boys) and getting bullseyes’ every time while they either missed the target altogether or didn’t get bullseyes. Poor little whiners were upset that the girl could shoot better than they could :)

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