FAMILY VALUES It got me thinking, too, that maybe I have sometimes taken airgunning too seriously myself. In my pursuit of quarry, and the perfect hunt, I have often neglected just to enjoy it, to shoot for the sheer fun of it. I haven’t done any form of plinking or fun-gunning in well over 15 years, and watching the kids enjoy it so much took me back to when I was younger. I’d sit and shoot hundreds of pellets through a cheap spring gun, with open sights, not concerned about grouping sizes, or ranges – just happy if I heard the pellet rattle a tin can, watching as it danced around in the dirt, with little concern to how accurate I was being. A WHOLE NEW WORLD! I smiled as I watched their joy and enthusiasm, and it was infectious. I didn’t even realise how much I had enjoyed it until it was all over, and I was home again, sitting down to write this. I found myself looking at low-powered plinkers, rapid-fire CO2 guns and imagining just how much fun we could have with those! I started out plinking, like most of us do, but my drive to become a successful hunter had actually got in the way of my love for airgunning sometimes. To me, the rifle had become simply a tool with which I hunt, instead of a source of pleasure and fun in itself, and it took me going back to the very beginning, to realise that there was so much that airgunning has to offer, that I haven’t even tried yet - and that has got to change! REAFFIRMING do any sort of fun-gunning, but that time spent in the garden was as enjoyable as any hunting session I have ever had, and not only did it help to strengthen some bonds, but it might well have brought some fresh blood into the sport, the next generation of airgunner, something the sport needs if it is to continue as we all grow older. Jack got up and moved to the side as Connor lay down on the gun bag I had set out to provide a little bit of cushioning for them. He listened as I once again reaffirmed that this wasn’t a toy, and that he had to listen and do as I said, nodding his head to show me that he understood. I supported most of the weight of the rifle as he got into a firing position and looked through the scope, and despite the rifle being almost the size of him, he managed to get a view through the scope and still reach the trigger. Once he was ready, I told him to pull the trigger, and the rifle coughed into life as it dry-fired a blast of air from the muzzle. To my surprise, without lifting his head, he reached for the sidelever and pulled it back, he had obviously been paying attention to what Jack was doing whilst he’d been shooting. I FUN-GUNNING We each took turns blatting bits of paper and bottle tops, and chatted away as we did so. The time flew by, and I realised just how special a moment this was, and how lucky we all were to be able to do it. Here we were; two fathers, two sons, two brothers, one family, united by airgunning, and having a great time, and I don’t mean just the kids, David and I were, too. I’m sure that it isn’t lost of any of us how rare the situation is – I’m best friends with my ex-wife, and great friends with her partner; he’s stepfather to two of my kids, I’m ‘crazy fun Uncle Phil’ to two of his, and as a family, we all shared our enjoyment and bonded over some backyard plinking. FUN-GUNNING I’ll admit, as a die-hard hunter, I rarely, if ever 25 www.airgunshooting.co.uk AIRGUN WORLD
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