Gun World - - Upfront -

We all have our story about how we be­came in­ter­ested in guns and the out­doors. Most of those sto­ries in­volve some­one, usu­ally fam­ily or a friend, who was “the one” who got us in­ter­ested.

I grew up in a farm­ing com­mu­nity in Wis­con­sin, and hunt­ing was a big part of ev­ery­one’s life. Even in el­e­men­tary school, the buzz on a Mon­day morn­ing in­volved some­one shoot­ing his dad’s guns or hunt­ing some kind of an­i­mal.

I took an in­ter­est in hunt­ing early, but I didn’t grow up in a hunt­ing house­hold. My step-dad owned two guns, and he took me shoot­ing a few times, but it wasn’t re­ally “a thing.” As far as hunt­ing, he was all for it; he sup­ported me do­ing it, but it wasn’t some­thing he did.

Some­where around 4th grade, I started us­ing my li­brary time to read gun mag­a­zines cover to cover (yes, our school li­brary had gun mag­a­zines in the rack— this was the glo­ri­ous ’80s in small-town Amer­ica!). I spent a lot of time teach­ing my­self about hunt­ing and guns. I de­voured just about every hunt­ing mag­a­zine I could get my hands on.

The one per­son who drove my in­ter­est in hunt­ing … my Un­cle Dave. He was the ul­ti­mate archer and bow hunter. We lived a cou­ple of hours apart, but back then, the whole fam­ily man­aged to get to­gether at least once a month. And when we did, talk be­tween Un­cle Dave and me would soon turn to hunt­ing.

Of­ten, this was while we dipped our fish­ing line in the river, try­ing to hook a fat cat­fish. But talk of hunt­ing could hap­pen any­time, any­where. When the fam­ily get­to­gether got bor­ing, he’d qui­etly tell me to grab my coat, and I’d fol­low him as we slipped out the back door and headed for the woods.

He’d show me his lo­cal hunt­ing spots, and he knew every deer rub, scrape and bed­ding spot in the area.

Even though we never hunted to­gether or even shot to­gether, just that time spent with some­one I re­ally looked up to, talk­ing and scout­ing—it did a lot to grow my hunger for hunt­ing.

Hunt­ing led to an in­ter­est in archery and guns. My love of guns re­ally grew in high school as my in­sa­tiable ap­petite for books led me down the path of gun lit­er­a­ture and dime-story shoot-’em-up ad­ven­ture books such as both the Mack Bolan and Able Team se­ries.

That led to an in­ter­est in ev­ery­thing mil­i­tary. So, af­ter high school, I joined the Marines, which, of course, did noth­ing to cure me of my im­pend­ing ob­ses­sion with guns.

Now, I do what I do—writ­ing about guns. Liv­ing the gun lifestyle.

My ad­vice to you: Be a kid’s “the one.” Take him or her shoot­ing. Take them into the woods. Get them in­ter­ested in hunt­ing and in guns. You won’t re­gret it, and you can’t imag­ine the good that could come out of it.

Thanks, Un­cle Dave, for be­ing my “the one.” GW

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