We went to the shooting range today* - a nice break from four days' worth of farm chores. I shot The Daddy's 270 and decided I really do want a hunting rifle of my own. That thing is monstrous! Crazy to think I have deer and elk tags of my own this year. Here's hopin' I get my chance... with Two Little Girls to raise, my hunting opportunities are limited. (And there's the part about Sit Still and Be Quiet that drives me up the wall.)
Littlest One can officially cock and shoot her BB gun without help, can operate the safety, and can recite and apply basic gun safety rules. She looks so darn tiny holding that gun, but she handles it nicely. She finally figured out how to line up the pin and actually aim, and shot a soda can successfully. Loved the smile it put on her face!
The Oldest shot a .22 for the first time today. She was a little nervous after my comments about the recoil of the 270, but once she gave it a go she decided she liked it. I imagine it won't be long before she's got her Hunter's Safety card and can try her hand at small game.
And The Daddy got a little extra bonus:
Littlest One came to me and said, "Mommy, I saw a really big snake over there!" I asked her what it looked like and she said, "It was all curled up. I don't think it was a garter snake. It was a lot bigger." Upon inspection, it was indeed a rattlesnake, just off the side of the path. Yikes. Daddy obliterated it with his shotgun, and we saved the rattle as a souvenir.
Rattlesnakes are a part of life in the high desert, where we live. It's not the first one we've seen, though thankfully there haven't been too many. With Two Little Girls that love to catch garter snakes, we have to make sure they really do know the difference. I'm glad Littlest One, though she wasn't sure exactly what it was, realized it wasn't a "safe" snake and kept her distance. We reviewed the "Don't Touch A Snake Unless Someone Is With You" rule, and let her look at and hold the rattle so she'd know what one looked like. There aren't any other poisonous snakes around here, so as long as she learns to look at the tail and recognize a rattle, she'll be fine. It was a good lesson for them both - you never know where one might be hiding, and they are very easily camouflaged. Made them both realize they always need to keep an eye out, wherever they might be playing.
*I realize owning and using guns is a touchy subject. You're welcome to disagree with us. The way I see it is this: I'd rather have my girls know how to safely and properly use a gun than to have no idea and be scared of them. We keep our guns and ammo locked in separate safes and exercise extreme caution when shooting them. And honestly, up here, I think it's best we all be good with a gun - with bears, mountain lions, and other dangerous animals, I want to be able to protect my family and my animals if the need arises. Putting food on the table, of course, is an added bonus. So hate if you will, but I'm pretty sure gun ownership is right for this family.