Saturday, September 6, 2008

What I learned from my hunter education class

I've never been a hunter, but I am an Arkansan. That means one of these days the urge to pick up a gun and shoot at something might strike.

About 10 years ago, I took my hunter education class as I thought it might be fun to buy a 20-gauge shotgun and take up dove and quail hunting. Of course, the hunter education class is mandatory for getting a hunting license in this state.

In a nutshell, here's what I learned -- shooting a human being while you're hunting is bad. I spent a week hearing that message, time and time again. You would be amazed how many variations on that theme there are and how many different scenarios were presented to drive home the point that killing or maiming someone in a hunting accident is a bad idea.

The instructor also spent that week preaching against the evils of deer stands. Yes, he thought they should be banned and anyone that used one is asking for trouble. Why? It turns out his brother climbed up in a tree stand, got stinking drunk, fell out of the tree stand, broke his neck and died.

I can spot a number of irresponsible actions there and I can't see how the tree stand was at fault. It occurs to me, too, that drinking heavily while carrying a rifle should be discouraged.

We also learned that a lot of people get shot while hunting because some folks are idiots when it comes to guns. For example, wearing white while going deer hunting is a terrible idea because there are some fools who don't bother to identify what they're shooting at before they pull the trigger. When one of those idiots (who may be full of beer, to boot) sees a splash of white, he figures "white tail!" and starts firing at what he thinks is a deer.

That's one of the reasons I like the black powder guys so well -- if you've only got one shot, you're going to identify exactly what you're aiming at before you pull that trigger. That makes a lot more sense than just blazing away when you think you maybe sort of spotted a deer. My grandfather taught me that you don't shoot at anything until you're damned sure you know what it is, but apparently there are a lot of people in this state who didn't have a similar influence.

I suspect a lot of people are like a friend of mine in law school. He is a great guy, but one thing he once told me struck me as odd. Now, a lot of people get shot during turkey season and we were watching some news segment the day before that season opened.

"Man, I don't know about that turkey hunting thing," I said. "It looks like a lot of people hide in bushes, make racket with turkey calls and shoot at things that are moving in bushes and sounding like turkeys."

"I used to go turkey hunting," my friend said.

"Really? Weren't you worried about getting shot?"

"No. Not the way we did it," he said. "We'd load up my Mercedes with a couple of cases of beer and drive around on the dirt roads in the woods. If one of us spotted a turkey, we'd lean out the windows and shoot at it."

Sounds dangerous to me. That, by the way, is a typically Arkansas story. That fellow's father was stinking rich but he was an Arkie all the way and so was his kid. So, leaning out of a Mercedes-Benz 300D with a shotgun and blasting away at a turkey seems almost normal in this state.

At any rate, when test time came I got a 100 percent and got a orange camo, Mountain Man Pawn Shop baseball cap as a reward (Mountain Man is a great pawn shop/gun store in Fayetteville, Ark., by the way). The test was all multiple choice and all the questions had to do with the proper ways to not shoot someone or avoid getting shot.

The scary part of that test was that people who couldn't read were given the option of having the questions read to them. Man, if you're an adult who can't read, you need to be sitting in a literacy class instead of a hunter education class. Good grief.

I never went hunting, primarily because I've got a Kroger down the road and I'm too lazy to train bird dogs and slog around in a field shooting at things. I'm glad I've learned the ins and outs of not shooting anyone by mistake, however.

Meanwhile, The Hawg is having trouble with Entrecard!

Well, I'm not really having trouble, but I am wrestling with a nice problem to have. Specifically, I'm getting over 300 hits a day from Entrecard right now and that means my old practice of "reciprocal dropping" is impossible to keep up with these days (you Entrecard users know what I mean). I honestly never thought I'd have this problem, so you Entrecard folks don't get your feelings hurt if you drop a card on my blog and I don't return the favor. I'm still trying to reciprocate the best I can, but it's become impossible to keep up with everyone and I apologize for that.


Anonymous said...

lololol About shooting people kinda reminds me of Cheney shooting that guy a couple months ago hahaha I am sorry I had to bring that up

actually.... I dont believe in shooting animals I am a huge animal lover so I am turned off to hunting and hunters :( I guess I am different :(

~ Christopher ~

Da Old Man said...

Hawg, I agree with you about hunting, only we used to go fishing. My old man used to get up at 3 in the morning, drive 50 miles, and spend the day to try to catch some stupid fish that I didn't even like to eat. Then I went to Shop-Rite and realized i could buy tuna, which I did like, and it was just a can opener away from being lunch.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Christopher -- Well, I'm not against hunting at all. Meat is murder. I love meat. I'm just too lazy to go kill it myself.

So, I'm not a hunter, either. However, my reasons are completely different...

da old man -- Thank goodness for grocery stores, huh?