Sighting In/ Yute Hunt
Home Up The Black Hole Literary Review Wm. E. Allendorf, Prop.

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In a better world kids would come with slider bars and radio buttons.  When things get rough, you should be able to got to F)ile P)roperties and start jiggling the settings until things come out right.   Kids don't have those kind of adjustments-- at least none that easy.  I guess that's why there's dads.

#2 Son, Moose has been a lover of firearms from the start.  He's also a recoil hound.  He was shooting 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum before he shot 22 LR.  Whatever got him going, I would love to have cloned and replicated into #3 son, Angus.  It's not that Angus does not like firearms.  He loves them.  It's just that he had a bit of a bum experience with a 30-30 a long while back, and it got him to thinking too much.

We had a bunch of rifles and pistols and such out a summer or two ago, and Angus was having fun with the rest of the family plinking on the family's 100 yard range.  Youth prevailed and he forgot to anchor the butt of the rifle firmly in his shoulder.  He didn't mention it at the time.  I don't think he though much of it, but a couple of days later he came and showed us the bruise.  That bruise got him to thinking.  He must have brooded on it a lot, because the next time we all went shooting together, he could not pull the trigger on anything more than a 22 LR.  Last Summer, he missed youth deer season, because he just could bring himself to bring the rifle off safe and touch one off.

We let it ride over the winter without mention.  It was now Spring.  Turkey Season was coming.  It was time to check the sights on the turkey guns.  Moose got his 12 Ga Mossy in order. I put a few through mine.  Then it became Angus' turn.

First he wanted to try squirrel loads.  I brought him squirrel loads.  Then he wanted time to think.  I could see where this was going.  I palmed the round.  The next half hour was spent sitting in the grass with little Angus shaking, crying, and doing everything he could to bring his 20 Ga bolt-action Mossberg up to his cheek, thumb the safety and get on with his life, but it just would not happen.

"Son," I said, " You're either going to have to unload that shotgun and hand it to me, or you're going to have to pull the trigger. We'll sit here for as long as it takes for you to make that decision, but you're going to have to make that decision. It's the last weekend before you hunt, and I am not going to take you if you cannot operate the shotgun properly."

He kept bringing it up, holding it and freezing. His hand could not operate the safety and pull the trigger. The barrel quivererd out of control. He'd cry out of frustration. There was no progress for over a half-hour. 

"I have put the shamanic force on you." I said. " I guarantee you will feel no recoil.  If you do, we'll go up to the house and I'll order you a new set of bagpipes. "  That was what he wanted more than anything in the world at that point-- a set of electronic bagpipes.  "There is absolutely no way you can lose." That did not work either.

Finally, he asked if he could stand and try an offhand shot off into the woods.  I told him that was probably a good idea.  He stood for the longest time, pondering the situation.  I put my hand on his back to comfort him.  He made his decision at last and the safety went off. He threw the gun up and . . .


I told you.  I'd palmed the round.  He had been doing all this over an empty chamber.  I told him that he'd feel nothing and I meant it.  Once he realized he'd been all worked up over an empty gun, the rest was fairly simple.  We went through the squirrel loads. We went through the better part of a box of stiff turkey loads. By the end, he was eager to keep shooting.

Youth Hunt weekend came and went with a lot of good action, but nothing to show for it.  Angus called up a flock and we managed to turn a gobbler away from his hens, but when the hens left, he left too. 

Moose on the other hand had about as normal a year as ever.  Sighting in was fine, we went out one day together. It's his last year as a yute.  Next year he will be calling them on his own.  We ended up in the same spot we'd hunted over many years. We had three gobblers going   , but a few energetic hens kept drawing them off.

When we got in from the hunt, Moose walked past me in the dining room, and all of a sudden my mind  did one of those big flops.  One instant I'd had a kid. A moment later. Blam!  There was a man in front of me.  The change was all in my head, but I swear Moose could hear the gears grinding from across the room.  Wow!

Now all of a sudden I'm not taking a child hunting anymore.  A part of me wants to R)estore from B)ackup and at least have one more time of the little goober falling asleep on me in the blind. Nope, he's drinking coffee now and he stays alert and he was hearing the gobblers better than me.  I know it was just some fluid behind one my ear drums, and it's fine now, but there he was pointing out the gobs and I found myself following him and wishing he would slow down a bit. 

Where is that slider bar that lets you slow down your life a little? There's no mention of it in H)elp.


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