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By RICHARD TATE
Correspondent 

The Sportsman's Corner

Firearm Safety Error

 

Not long ago, I had just finished mowing my lawn for what seemed to be the millionth time this summer when I noticed my neighbor, Dr. Archie O. Logist, professor of phenomenology at the nearby Ganister Technical Institute, striding toward me. I knew this couldn't be good: He doesn't often come over to visit unless something's up.

"Hi, Arch. How are you doing?"

"I'm all right, Rich. Things are going well at the institute.

"However," he continued, "my colleagues and I were discussing your columns recently. Although we agreed that most of them were written fairly well, we all found that one of your columns demonstrated an egregious error in your hunting behavior."

"Geez, what was that?" I asked him. "I don't think I wrote about anything foolish that I might have done."

"Well, you did. Do you recall your column back in May where you wrote that you chose not to shoot a young gobbler off his roost?"

"Yes. I wrote that column to show that I made what I thought was a sportsmanlike decision in the face of temptation. I thought I did what was the right thing to do as a sportsman."

"Yes, your decision was appropriate," Archie agreed. "But, do you remember the poor gun-handling choice you made during that episode?"

I was clueless. "Nope. I never disengaged the safety of the shotgun that morning."

"But, Rich, you pointed the shotgun at the turkey in the tree and then whispered 'bang.' As a hunter and supposedly a responsible firearm owner, you know you should never point a firearm at something you are not going to shoot. That's a dangerous practice. You had no plan to shoot that gobbler, did you?"

"No, Arch, I was not going to shoot that turkey out of the tree. I wrote that it's unsporting and probably illegal to do that."

"Well then, I repeat: You should never have pointed the gun at the bird. I realize that you were fortunate that the gun didn't go off, but what if it had? You'd have had an unwanted kill on your hands. Also, pointing the gun at something you were not going to shoot sets a bad example for your readers, especially young hunters who might have read the column. I'll bet any firearm instructor or hunter safety instructor who read that column cringed when you mentioned pointing the shotgun at the turkey. That was a terrible gun-handling error."

I was properly chastened by my neighbor. It was a thoughtless error, one I have vowed not to repeat.

 

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