A boy and his gun

Hunting season is coming. You know how I know? I haven’t had a conversation with my hubby that hasn’t turned into guns, ammo, gear, deer, etc. for almost a month. My dining room has been taken over. One large blue bin full of dirt scented camo clothes, one green bin full of blaze orange, three guns in cases on the table, a fanny pack, an ammo bag, hmmmm what else can I see from here, ah yes, and the pile of old back tags. It’s coming. And this year will be another first in the house.

This year my boy child is twelve. Old enough to hunt. And while he’s been using guns for years, this will be the boy’s first hunting experience. Hopefully it will go better than the girl’s did.

The girl is an amazing child. She’s funny and insightful and intelligent. She’s been shooting since she was seven, reached the rank of sharpshooter at ten, been a junior member of the NRA for so long I don’t remember which year we actually registered her, and above all, been Daddy’s Girl since day one.  Hunting is his thing, and she wanted everything to do with it because it meant spending time with her father.

She practiced all summer the year she turned twelve and was able to hunt. They did target practice in the woods, at the range, at the cabin… everywhere. We shopped for just the right blaze orange clothing. She took Hunter’s Safety and passed with flying colors. She was psyched. She wanted this.

Conversely, her father was no better. You’d think he’d been waiting twelve years for that opening morning. He studied the woods like never before. He scouted and tracked. He carefully placed cotton balls of scent and teased the bucks into believing that a doe sat on the other side of the rifle. He told strangers on the street that his daughter was going hunting with him. He was giddy. Giddy I tell you.

The morning came. Hunting on my parent’s land, we were all there for the 4am wake up call. Mom and Dad and I drank coffee, Todd paced, and Manda worried about her hair and make-up. Really. Because in all the preparation, we’d somehow forgotten to mention the scent thing.  She re-showered with the special dirt-scented soap and shampoo, and came back a clean, albeit woodsy smelling, person.  They got their gear on. They filled a thermos. They grabbed their guns and literally floated out the door.

Dad turned on the news. Mom and I talked in the kitchen. We waited. We listened.


Our heads snapped to attention. “Was that…?”

“No, wrong direction.”

We sipped more coffee.  We waited.

And hour later, and several more gunshots that weren’t quite in the right direction, Todd came through the back door—much to our surprise.  Manda was behind him.  He looked disappointed. She looked sheepish.

“What happened.”

“I took a teenage girl to the woods,” was all he offered as he sat his gun down and wandered off to the bathroom.

Seems Manda was bored. And chatty.

In all the practice they’d done, they had never gone to the woods and sat, quietly, for hours. I’m not sure Manda has ever been quiet longer than five minutes in her life [Hush! Yes, I’m fully aware of where she gets that from].

She didn’t like it. It gave her time to think. She enjoyed shooting. She was delighted that she was such a good shot and her father was proud of her. But in the reality of pre-dawn light, she sat in that treestand and realized she had no desire to shoot Bambi, Thumper or any other Disney character.

All the preparation, all the excitement, and all for naught. She still shoots. She’s still damn good [sharpshooter, bar 6 now]. His eyes still glaze over in disappointment when you bring it up. You can bring a teenage girl to the woods, but you cannot make her kill.

I hope this year goes differently. The boy is all revved up and ready to kill—he wants Bambi, he’ll plink Thumper just to say he did.  Disney be damned.

But I think maybe I’ll suggest some sitting still quiet time for the boy child before Todd gets that giddy float going again this year… Just to be safe.

0 Responses to A boy and his gun

  • I have a little hand painted sign in my living room that says, “When I die, bury me in the woods so my husband will hunt for me.” ;)

    Phil’s son from his previous marriage was just as chatty as your daughter. He didn’t take to the woods well. I fear our son, Zane, will have issues since we can’t fish and eat what we catch through his sobs. But he’s just now turning 9, so maybe when the testosterone fully kicks in, he’ll make it.

    And archery season is in full swing here. We have to plan Zane’s birthday party around the boys going out to hunt.

  • dezm says:

    lol. That’s a great story. I’m sure it’ll go bettah for your hubbie this time around.

    When in Wisc. and Minn. I’ve never seen so many deers hanging of the backs and fronts of cars and trucks in my life.

  • Violary says:

    Is there a way to locate someone locally to try this?

  • Kelli says:

    to try what? i’m only going to be local for 87 more days… you may want to try my EX-hubby on face book…

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