Many will shake their heads, either in disbelief that I’m truing into a gun owner or the fact that I support the 2nd Amendment. I’m not standing on a soapbox trying to persuade you to love guns, but I will instead share my journey of becoming a gun owner.
Owning a gun does not mean running out to protect properties like the Rooftop Koreans or walking around in Walmart with a piece attached to my side. Owning a gun comes with immense responsibilities.
Many moons ago, when I was a wee lad, my father bought a pellet gun. It was my first introduction to a “real” gun, and I must’ve fired 1000 pellets into the family back-garden shed walls and punched a few holes in my parent’s porch roof cover. The latter was a lapse of judgment on my part, obviously, and a huge frustration to my parents.
In Denmark, you rarely run into guns when socializing with friends or family. Yes, some relatives were part of the national reserve and might have an old WWII looking riffle in the basement they used for drills. I don’t remember having any relatives that actually hunted.
Danish people can forget about owning a gun unless they participated in some target shooting or other sporting activity. At least that was my perception when growing up in Denmark. In all honesty, there’s no real need actually to own a gun in Denmark. We are a fairly calm nation, with the national bird being a swan.
H.C. Andersen, Tuborg, bicycles, windmills, Carlsberg, Lego, bacon, pastry, Viggo Mortensen, and of course, the little mermaid. The Vikings ruled once, but their skills are no longer needed.
Our stay in Ireland was also relatively without incidents. The Irish are super friendly, except for gang-related killings and the IRA dropping off some C4 explosives at the local port. Compared to Denmark, there are a few more suspicious characters, but again, most are OK – it’s all in the bark, nothing in the bite!
Both countries offer very little in regards to hunting. Yes, you can hunt pheasants, ducks, rabbits, and perhaps some larger deer-related animals. However, hunting is not a widespread sport.
During my teenage years, I had the incredible opportunity of spending a year in the US, in the great state of Washington. No, not DC! The beautiful state on the West coast. Amazing landscapes, nature walks, farming, and plenty of hunters.
Remember, I came from a little picturesque country, Denmark, as a 17-year-old kid. The most ferocious animals are the seagulls attacking your french fries, a 5 ft poisonous snake that makes you a little unwell if bitten, house cats, and the damn vicious porcupine. It was safe to play outside all year. Nothing tried to kill you as you went into the woods.
Welcome to America
When I arrived in the US, my host family handed me a 10/22 Ruger rifle, smiled, and told me to have fun in the fields with the boys from my new class. A few of the guys brought me along to some jobs for the local farmer, getting rid of rodents and large swarms of crows.
I also had two interesting hunting experiences. One as a participant, following a seasoned outdoorsman and veteran, as he bow-hunted. This dude was smelling deer poo, touching branches, crawling through the brush, giving me some angry signs if I stepped on a small twig. He took down a deer with one arrow.
I’m fairly certain I met the real Rambo!
The other hunting trip was with a friend and his dad. Again, I was handed a rifle, jumped in the back of the old F150 pick-up truck while he ripped through the forest on lumber-roads. After an hour and heavily beaten up by the floor of the F150, he hit the brakes and told us, kids, to jump off. We spent the next 3-4 hours going through the forest, looking for deer.
I am proud to say that I got a deer, although I happily handed over the father’s field dressing. He cooked the deer, and it was amazing.
At that time, in the late 80s, I had little (or in reality no) understanding of the actual hunting process and could not tell you if either of these individuals had obtained hunting tags. I know we shot a deer, prepared it, and grilled it a little meat the following day. It was an incredible experience.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-2/
The process of becoming a gun-owner
Earlier this year, 2020, I decided to pursue a pistol permit. It was initially not because I had a desire or need to own a handgun, but because I thought I needed a pistol permit to start hunting. I assumed that to buy a hunting rifle that I would need to get certified.
I was wrong about that assumption but had started a journey that would draw me into the gun-owner web. Not in a negative way. On the contrary.
The decision to learn how to hunt started when I was recovering from my heart failure. I started to watch MeatEater on Netflix, and Steven Rinella drew me into his world of hunting, tracking, and cooking. I am fascinated with the possibility of hunting for meat.
Becoming a hunter is an easy process. Getting on your first hunt, practice with your rifle, knowing where to go, understanding the tag restrictions, and finding a hunting mentor is not easy. Challenges that I will try to share in follow-up posts.
You need to know someone or somewhere to find information, and finding a hunter is not easy. Not many people drive around with stickers saying “I’m a Hunter!” or start conversations with “well, you know, I’m a hunter!“. It would be best if you did a lot of research.
My desire to learn how to hunt was purely from a personal perspective. Learning to hunt for meat, or hunt to fill the freezer, is an essential skill. Imagine being able to roast a lovely meal with the meat you have hunted. Isn’t that cool?
My adventures continues soon.