Sometimes I find myself praying,” Lord please wrap your arms around my shoulders, and place your hand over my mouth”. I know that He has His arms around my shoulders, but I fear that He quite often removes His hand from my mouth. As any of you who have ever visited Riverview know, we are absolute fanatics about gun safety here. We shot our first safety video here in 1976, and are now on our sixth iteration. I wrote our first guide training manual in 1974, and we give each group an individual safety briefing at breakfast on the first morning. We also require all of our guests to shoot some clay targets so that we can observe their gun handling skills prior to going out in the field.
That is kind of a brief introduction to state the fact that I “fear” a shotgun, and I’m using the word “fear” as the Bible does in the sense of extreme respect and awe. When I was 17 years old, I had the misfortune of witnessing my Dad’s best friend drop a loaded shotgun on the ground, and the gun fired into his stomach. I was the first one to get to him, and there was absolutely nothing that I could do to save him. My toughest job here is to convince my experienced hunters that a shotgun is just as deadly today as the first day they ever were taught how to shoot. Most novice hunters are scared of the gun as we all should be.
In closing, let me share a funny story to illustrate my point. I was so blessed for many years to be able to hunt with both my father and son at the same time. One day as we were walking off the field from a dove hunt, Cader IV eased over to me and commented, ” Dad, Pop, which is what he called my father, doesn’t carry his shotgun like you say we should”. Both Cader IV and I had our guns broken down and empty. I glanced over at my Dad, and he was carrying a loaded shotgun in the classic “suit case carry” style. I told Cader IV, ” You are absolutely correct; so you tell him”.