Not a good start for my shotgunning.

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countrygun's picture
Joined: 12/08/2010

When I saw a thread had mentioned shotguns I was prepared for a new section to be opened up.
I did not grow up in a family that esteemed shotguns. Although firearms were a part of life the shotgun was not in the picture until I bought one.
In my Father's early life, having gown up on a hardscrabble ranch during the depression, the shotgun was deemed to be the gun of "Sporting snobs". The reality was that the ammo was more expensive than a .22, heavier, and the range was limited. Putting meat on the table was not a sporting proposition to them and, in their corner, game laws were viewed as "optional suggestions. Far easier for the excellent riflemen in the family to spot the game birds on the ground or on tree branches and "snipe" them with a .22, than to traipse around flushing and wingshooting. To this day, if I consider such a thing as a "survival battery" the shotgun is far down on the list. I have noticed that, although I do wingshoot upland game, a good percentage of them are spotted on the ground before taking flight and could be dispatched in the manner of my ancestors.
My youthful purchase of the first shotgun on our place was however a lesson of sorts or at least an example of how life used to be.
My father had "escaped the remote farm" as he put it, to relocate closer to a major city to pursue a career opportunity. but he still could not abide living within "city limits so I grew up "In the country, on the outskirts". It was obvious that I had been bitten by the gun bug so it was no surprise when I told Dad I was considering buying a shotgun offered to me by my school locker partner. It was a 16 gage single shot that had proved too punishing for his slight frame and his Father had allowed that he cold sell it to finance a 20 gage. (He was also not interested in guns at all to speak of) . We had agreed that it would cost me $15 of my hard earned money derived from doing chores around the neighborhood. I had told the seller that we would arrange to complete the deal on the following weekend.
On Tuesday, I was running late and pedaled my bike to school in a great hurry to be on time for homeroom/English class, which was fortunately right across the hall from my locker. The teacher was one of the fantastic ones in my rly life. He, like Dad, was a WWII veteran, of slightly conservative nature, and had taught the firearms safety course required for young hunters, taken during the lunch breaks. (Weren't those the days ? ). Imagine my surprise, as the hallway was emptying, when I whipped open the door of the locker to see a brown shopping bag on the floor of the locker with the butt and separated barrel of a shotgun sticking out. A quick peek found that the fore end and a box of shells were in the bottom of the bag. Now, even as rural as I was and even in those times, In my little mind I knew there were some things that common sense said should not be done. I also knew that my locker partner was not exactly an "Intellectual overachiever" . I had the proof in front of me. Just as I hung up my coat, with my mind whirling, there was a tap on my shoulder.
"Country, is that what I think it is?"
It was my Teacher who had come into the hall to close the door.
being a budding smartass and trying to think as quickly as I could,
"No, not really. I bet you think it's a shotgun but it's not. Remember last week, the Principal made the announcement that squirt guns were not allowed? Well I took this butt stock and hollowed out under the recoil pad and hid my squirt gun in there. Who would think of looking for a squirt gun in the butt of a shotgun?"
He was not visibly amused. He pressed on and I told him the story.
"Who is your locker partner?"
I told him.
"I see, well, I was pretty sure you were smarter than that but him......"
There was a tense pause,.
"OK, You take that, get on your bike and take it h0me and get back here before class ends and I will just mark you as "late" and it will be done with?"
So it was done. After class, The teacher buttonholed me about the gun and told me about his first shotgun and patted me on the back with a big grin.
I had raided my piggy bank when I took the gun home and secured the funds to pay for it and end the whole deal.
I was most pleased, several years later, when that teacher was named "Teacher of The Year" for the whole State. They need to find a supply of teachers like that today.