Monday, December 29, 2014

Hunters Ed and Forums

Since I bought my Nova I've been pretty busy. Christmas and my off-season job kept me off the computer, but recently I had time to take an online hunters education course. The quizzes are generally easy but what you learn, as someone who knows nothing about hunting, is extremely valuable. Yes there's a lot in there I didn't need to learn. I don't plan on using muzzleloaders anytime soon. But for things like learning how not to kill yourself or your friends and being sure that your friends feel safe that you're not going to shoot them I highly recommend it. 

Just to clarify I wasn't planning on carrying my gun with the safety off and the muzzle pointed at the guy walking in front of me, but I was happy to learn comfortable ways to do that so I'm not the idiot who needs someone to teach him while heading to the hunt. 

If there was one thing the course made clear its that the primary safety rules are as follows: never let your gun point at anything that you don't want holes in and if you're doing anything with your gun that isn't shooting it or carrying it unload it first. That includes handing it over a fence, climbing a tree, transporting, and handing it to your friends who also know nothing about guns to show how manly you are. 

I've also spent some time reading duck hunting forums. I've talked before about how hard it is to figure out what gun people are talking about, but if it's hard to learn from the guys trying to sell you guns then the guys on duck hunting forums might as well be communicating via duck calls. So far I've managed to figure out two things from forums. The first is that the people on those forums like to hunt ducks, the second is my wallet is in for some pain. 

The first one wasn't that hard to figure out, the second one I had no idea about. So far I own several things I need that I considered a good start. These things are a shotgun, some ear protection, and clothes I won't freeze in. Now after a little research here's what I learned I still need: decoys, gloves that will keep my hands warm while I'm not shooting, gloves that will keep my hands warm while I am shooting, sunglasses, about a month of training on my duck call I got for Christmas, a floating case for going out on a boat, a hard case for transporting, a sleeve for carrying other times, a cleaning kit, someone to teach me to clean my gun (I'm fairly confident I can avoid my gun killing me but have no confidence I can take my gun apart without killing it), and a well trained dog. I'm guessing that last one is more optional but I'm also guessing I'm missing some stuff on that list so we'll call it even.