No, I'm not talking about Gov. Sarah Palin.
When my husband and I were married, I knew he was a hunter. He loved hunting before he loved me. Our older son tells that when I went into labor with him, his father dropped me off at the hospital and then went hunting. That did not happen.
My husband still enjoys hunting and just being in the woods to see and enjoy the wildlife. Once I retired I thought about going with him. Then I decided if I go with him (no icy, cold early mornings, please), I would want to carry a gun.
This past week I took -- and passed -- the hunter safety course sponsored by the TWRA, the International Hunter Education Assn., and the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Yes, this is the same hunter safety course that every youth must pass in order to be able to hunt. So just log it up that I'm in my second childhood. I asked the instructor the age of his oldest student, and he said he once had a man in his 90's take the class. He had me beat.
A month or so ago the course was given here in Shelbyville. It involved 5 nights of 3-hour classes. I think we were out of town 2 of those nights, so I didn't try that time. Then a couple of weeks ago I read in the Times-Gazette that the course was available on-line. After completing the course at my speed, I would go to a Monday night class, see a short film, and take a test. There was one much younger lady there. The rest were children, naturally. I passed my test, but I found out that it's much easier to have classroom instruction than to take the class on-line. Before I left that night the instructor let me have one of their class books. My husband looked through it and told me that I should have had it to study before I took my test. I agreed.
Even though I had passed the written test, there was another test left. I had to go for a "live shoot" Saturday morning. The problem was that I didn't know how to shoot a gun. About 53 years ago I shot a shotgun -- once. That's it. After my uncle died several years ago, I bought his rifle. I didn't know anything about a rifle, so I never touched it. Now I was faced with shooting a gun as part of a test. My husband took me out Thursday morning and let me shoot both his 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun and my 22 rifle. Then Saturday morning we met the TWRA officers at the designated place, and I stepped up to shoot. They handed me a 20-gauge semi-automatic shotgun and a shell. When I was ready they released a clay target and I shot -- left and high. We repeated, and I shot high. The third time I have no idea where it went. It didn't matter. I had properly loaded and safely shot. That completed my test.
So now I have a certificate, card, and badge -- just like all the kids have. I also know a great deal more about safely handling shotguns and rifles, wildlife conservation, and hunting responsibility. I doubt I'll ever carry a NRA card, but I just may go into the woods with a gun. After all, I already have a lifetime sportsman license.