By -Teresa B, FL Member
ADVENTURES WITH A NEWBIE
Flashbacks of high school filled my head as I was packing for my first ever ADC Event. It was Memorial weekend 2022. A holiday known for cooking meat over a flame. This year, I was harvesting the meat with a group of ladies. My first girl’s trip…ever.
As I was packing, I wondered if they would be understanding that I am new to this independent hunting gig even though I am 50 years young. I wondered if I would sound stupid and those experienced hunting ladies would make fun of me. I chuckled and thought what if there were cliques like high school? Would I even fit in? I checked my gear list, checked my weapons, and thought good grief which one should I use? The fear crept up my spine as I pondered my choices. I am pretty good with my new 350 Legend. I feel good about that one. I had spent the weekend before making sure I could navigate my scope and hit the target. I felt I could take down the biggest boar alive. I grabbed my husband’s 12 gauge and buck shot for backup.
From the moment I arrived at Lightsey’s Ranch, my nervousness began subsiding. I was greeted by a fellow ADC sister named Beth. She was bubbly and welcoming. Along came three more ladies fresh from their afternoon gator harvest with huge smiles. Everyone immediately began chatting, laughing and telling their stories. Stories and advice that spilled across three wonderful days.
During our hunt, we laughed at our nervousness, encouraged when we missed, empathized when our expectations were crushed and cheered at our successes. This was not high school. This was American Daughters of Conservation. True to their mission.
Something I took away from this event above anything else was the importance of target practice. I realized that I needed much much more. In my nervous excitement of experiencing a style of hunting I never had before, I made a poorly placed shot. My heart sunk when I saw my harvest running away crying because I injured him. I nagged the guide to hurry up and find him because I did not want that pig to suffer. It really upset me. Then again, when I tried to humanely dispatch the animal, I kept missing with my handgun causing even more suffering.
This hunt stuck with me for many reasons, but the main one would be the importance of that carefully placed shot. All the things you read, hear and try to practice when starting your firearm journey. Breathe. Aim. Squeeze. Breathe. Aim. Squeeze. My husband has whispered that in my ear so many times that I can actually hear his voice. Not that day. Everything I thought I had accomplished did not happen that day.
As we approach fall hunting season 2022, think about the shots. Did you practice? Do you know your weapon? Do you know how to operate the safety? If you see the “S” it means Stop? Red is dead? Do you know how to check your chamber? Did you check your chamber? What do you do if the weapon jams? Do you know how to read your rounds so you do not put the wrong ones in your firearm? All important items among many. The last thing we want to do is chase an animal that is wounded or cause a harmful injury to the animal you cannot recover.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Just like with anything else, it gives you the accuracy you need.
Good luck this year!