I lined up the front sight so it nestled into the rear sight notch, made sure my shooting position was sound, then settled the front sight on my target. This time it was a 1/2” piece of scrap pipe about 50yds away. I squeezed the trigger and was rewarded with a “tink” as my .177 caliber pellet impacted the pipe.
I Cocked the gun and repeated the process with the same results, over and over.
My dad and our neighbor watched from up by the house as I spent much of my time in the back of the property shooting at anything I could, anything I thought I wouldn’t get in trouble for.
My neighbor called back to me, “Hey Kevin, come over here for a minute.” I put the BB gun on safe, put it down, and ran up to see what he wanted
“I have a business proposition for you. I have a chipmunk problem at my house, I’ll pay you .05 for each chipmunk tail you bring me.” HECK YA! As a typical kid in the late 70s, early 80s, that meant more money for my candy fund!
I quickly went to work, sitting out by the woodpiles with my BB gun, just waiting for a chipmunk to come out. Usually didn’t take long of me being still and quiet before they would resume their activities and reveal themselves.
I had my share of misses, but they got to be fewer and fewer in number. So did the chipmunks. Our neighbor was happy, since the chipmunks had been chewing on his house, making nests in snowmobile engines, and whatever damage a chipmunk could do to a property. And I racked up extra money while having fun.
Chipmunk’s proved to be challenging, attentive, quick, never far from a hole to run into if they caught my movements. I had to be careful, either very still, waiting for the right opportunity, or find a good hiding spot where they couldn’t see me. I had to make my shots count.
One day the next summer, the neighbor to the other side of our property, also our local 4H club leader, who had noticed my activities, came over and asked my dad how I was doing with my BB gun. My dad told him about me shooting the ½” pipe at 50yds and my elimination of chipmunks in the area. Our neighbor then asked my dad if I would be interested in shooting in a 4 H competition. When my dad asked me, I was excited but kind of nervous at the same time. What would a contest would require of me?
We found out what targets would be used, the ranges we would have to shoot at, and then learned the positions we would have to shoot from. I began practicing in earnest.
The day of the county level contest came, my dad and I traveled to the fairgrounds. There weren’t very many competitors, and the contest didn’t take long. I ended up winning that county championship, one of my very 1st trophy’s (which I still have).
Winning the county contest made me eligible to enter the state competition. Now it was getting serious!
I practiced all summer long. Then contest time came again.
We had to drive almost 2 hours to the state capital. We woke up early so we had plenty of time to get there in time for check in.
The time came to get ready to shoot.
I looked at my fellow competitors, talk about intimidating! The set ups some of these other kids made me feel less confident in my own chances of doing well. High end guns with adjustable peep sights, fancy slings, eye patches, shooting mats, etc. All I had was my Crossman bb gun, no sling, no mat
I buckled down, though, and focused on what I needed to do.
Line up front sight with rear, put front sight on the target and squeeze the trigger.
At the end we got to check our targets. When I checked mine, I saw some of my fellow competitors’ targets. It was going to be close.
In the end I took 4th place in the entire state! While not winning, I was still pumped that I did that well against all the other kids with their fancy equipment. Back then. I would never had imagined the equipment that would be available to today’s shooters that could improve on their shooting abilities, like the ATN laser ballistic rangefinders and the Smart HD series of optics.
As you can tell from this story, my passion for shooting started at a young age. It has not stopped since. The only things to change have been the targets, type of shooting and the gear used.
While I have shot 3 gun, long range, IDPA, IPSC and others, I always come back to hunting. My gear has included iron sighted rifles, shotguns and pistols, bows, crossbows and firearms with optics.
My current choice of optics for hunting has shifted from those old iron sights to ATN.
From the day/night scope 4k Pro, to the THOR 4 Thermal scope, the advanced optics of ATN have me covered for all hunting conditions, plus I have the option of recording the shots for my own technical review, remembering the hunt, and sharing with friends and family, to share my passion, and hopefully pass it along to the next generation.
In future articles we will discuss various hunts and how ATN products have helped me up my game in big game hunting, predator hunting and shooting in general.