Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells...

...Towanda shoots a gun...

Well, I have shot guns before. You don't grow up an Arkansan and with a grandfather like mine and not learn to shoot. But it's been a long time, maybe college when I shot targets with my brothers or went up to see them at scout camp.

They were going to take me duck hunting but until today the weather was just awful. Duck hunting requires leaving in the middle of the night, driving somewhere, wading through mud in the dark, setting out the decoys, and waiting for the sun to rise. On a good day it is cold and damp, but the last few days have been cold and just gully-washing raining; last night it actually iced up a bit. So no duck hunting. I would not have hunted anyway, as the license is expensive and I didn't want to hunt without a license and get caught when I have other, um, legal processes in the works. Oh, and also, I didn't want to kill anything. But I did want to spend the time with my brothers doing something they enjoy and which is a several-generation family tradition.

So, to make up for it, my brothers took me skeet shooting this afternoon. The day was gorgeous, a bit chilly but a clear blue sky and lovely sun. We went out to the range where there was a circuit of ten stations, with two skeet throwers at each station, 5 shots per thrower. Total of 100 shots by the end.

SBro is a hunter safety educator and gave me some tips on what to do. I don't think I'd ever shot a shotgun before, and he gave me "trainer" shells -- lightweight ones that won't cause the gun to recoil too much -- and showed me how to nestle the butt of the gun into my shoulder to cushion the recoil.

(Nobody tell my physical therapist...the recoil often banged right into the most tender parts of my injured shoulder...I have a big sore spot there!)

I shot 22 out of 100 clays, an average of .220, just above the Mendoza line (by comparision, SBro shot 65). I am proudest that at one station I beat SBro, the expert. We had a good time. It was a beautiful day, I got to share some time with my brothers, and I didn't have to kill anything.

Here are some photos TBro took...the orange dots are the clay skeets. (Click the photo for a bigger version in which the clays are more visible.)

Nice sight line.

Me in the blue cap. SBro watching my clay turn to dust.

Another good shot.