Monday, August 10, 2009

Conversation with Vinny continues: Mentoring shooting sports

The email conversation with Vinny (not the lawyer) continues. He wrote back to give his gun/hunting background and explain his need for good advice on the topic.
I'll give you a little history about myself. I grew up in a single parent home in a suburban community. I was always intrigued by the outdoors and shooting sports.

I was lucky though to have a family friend who introduced me to hunting, guns, and let me tag along whenever he went. Hunting and shooting is hard to get into, not having the funds and not having a lot of people to guide you along. Not to mention growing up in a suburban community doesn't help. I'm an elementary school teacher so I work with 99% women, so there's no gun talk in the workplace. So basically I rely on reading to get as much info as I can.

Two years ago my hunting mentor passed suddenly, which was just devastating. Not only did I loose my best friend, I lost the right to hunt on the property he took me to. I never thought I could hunt again, but then I thought long and hard about what my friend would have said. He was a rough, tough, raspy voice guy. With a voice like Clint Eastwood he would have said" Vinny, get your _ _ _ in those woulds and get a good one for me".

I went out alone the following year, but wasn't mentally prepared for my first trip out. On my first morning, I walked passed Billy's stand and saw his bow rope hanging from the tree, swaying in the wind ever so peacefully. Billy never got to see me take my first deer. He always put me first, but things just never worked out. Just about a year from our last hunt, and six months after his passing, I got my first deer. I've found a few little spots that are ok to hunt, but nothing is special. I don't have access to much land, so I figured I'd get more into target shooting.

Billy was the guy I brought all my hunting and gun questions to, but obviously now I'm stuck trying to figure everything out. I hope you don't mind the long dragged out story, but you 'll better understand my passion for guns and the outdoors and my yearning to learn more. I'm currently looking into getting certified through the NRA to teach courses. I'm also looking into trying to get young suburban and city kids involved in the outdoors. There is so many good lessons to be learned from the sport of shooting. I understand your probably a busy guy, so I hope my questions don't infringe upon your time.
And here's my response to Vinny's latest:
Never too busy to talk guns, it's my favorite topic. I was privileged to grow up in the country, hunting and fishing with my dad and two brothers, plus other relatives and friends. I'm glad you had a mentor who introduced you to hunting and shooting sports. Follow through on your NRA instructor plans. Or as the Good Book says, Go forth and do likewise. Just as Billy mentored you, now it's your turn to mentor others. Here's the NRA page to get started on it.

You can find courses to take in your area, including instructor courses, as well as answer any other questions you might have about the NRA training and education programs.
Now, if you're a shooter/hunter, go forth and do likewise. Introduce some new people to shooting sports and show them the right way and the safe way to enjoy firearms. Young or old, we're never too old to learn. I'm really looking forward to my first NRA Basic Pistol Class, which is set for this coming Saturday. At my daughter's suggestion, this first one is an all-female class.

From what I know of those who have signed up, mostly it's women with limited experience who want to learn how to safely and effective shoot handguns. And I plan to train them as best I can to do just that.

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