Hunters’ course sparks awareness

Last week, my husband and I spent time in a basement with a guy whose knowledge about guns made me think Rambo needs to brush up—or change his vocation to something like underwear salesman.
We enrolled in a Canadian Firearms Safety Course, and “the guy” I’m talking about was our registered FASC instructor.
The biggest difference between our instructor and Rambo, however, is that our instructor is a heck of a lot more patient. I know this because Rambo would have started firing rounds from his AK-47 instead of tolerating someone like me in his class.
I must admit I’m not the best student. After months of dreamily living in winter wonderland and writing poetically about nature, it was a bit of a stretch to suddenly find myself in a heavily-directed classroom learning ways to shoot at stuff.
The first lesson was about how priming powder injected into an ignition port lights gunpowder which creates an expanse of gas and pops a projectile out of a bore.
My question: “What’s a bore?”
Not a good sign.
Too bad our instructor doesn’t offer a course about the spiritual practice of ikebana flower arranging, which has prime connection points I understand.
But I tough it out. And thankfully, the instruction is repetitive enough that I pass both the practical and written exams. I’m told they are designed for 12-year-olds, and it is shocking, in fact, how easy they were in the end.
And now that it’s over, I’m actually glad I took the course, and I’m looking forward to taking part two–the hunter safety course–which is this week.
I enjoyed listening to our instructor talk about his experiences, and I’m especially appreciating the discipline, focus, and detail required of hunting.
There are reasons why some of the biggest nature-lovers are people involved with the sport. Not only do they spend entire days quietly in tune with forests and fields, but they take part in the cycle of life and death—nature’s most prominent feature.
But as I began writing this week’s column, I was questioning whether I, myself, will ever hunt. It will be good for me, I think, but I don’t think I have the desire, or the instinct.
But then something surprising happened. I looked up from my computer while still in thought, and there walking slowly across the bay of ice were two very docile deer.
What shocked me, however, was my gut response to the scene. Something clicked. I felt what it would be like to take hold of a rifle, aim, and fire.
If I was legal, and there was no one watching or grading my technique, I know I do have what it takes to hunt. Maybe down deep we all do.
And it doesn’t feel like what the Rambo character might feel. It’s deep, quiet, and oddly comforting.

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