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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 93-----------MARCH 2010



March 10, 2010

(I know I'm late, but I did receive notification from my Brother Ed that I've been appointed President of the World Wide Procrastinators Organization.  See, every cloud has a silver lining.)

Rick and I, along with several volunteers, kicked off our first Hunter Education Class at the Elks Lodge on February 23rd.  The first session consisted primarily of paperwork, handing out manuals, and covering the myriad details required to maintain state accreditation of our venue.  The real work started March 3rd when we began covering the 'meat and potatoes' of the curriculum.  For details and pictures of the recent class check the Hunter Education page.

There has been a real plus to starting our own classes from my personal point of view.  Running a successful class and providing students with opportunities for the most firearm knowledge and safe handling techniques possible, requires a number of different types of guns.

In spite of having a safe full of firearms, I found that some niches needed to be filled in order to cover the full range of action types for rifles, shotguns, and handguns to be learned by students.  This required the purchase of a half dozen new guns; all with the full blessing and encouragement of Little Heifer!

Now included in the firearms inventory are a Ruger 10-22, a Savage bolt action .22, a Marlin semi auto .22, a Rossi break action with .22  and 12 gauge barrels, a Smith & Wesson Model 1911 semi auto .45 ACP, and a Smith & Wesson .22 Kit Gun.  All are in hand except the Kit Gun, and it is due to be shipped sometime this month.

I was forced to test fire all the new .22 rifles prior to our student's live fire qualification, to make sure the sights were set to print on the targets at the range.  A short powder burning session behind the shop took care of that chore on Friday morning.  (Ain't it amazin' what sacrifices we hunter education instructors are required to make?)

I haven't shot the 1911 yet, but when it warms up a little more here at the ranch, I'll do so and let you know how it goes.

Smith & Wesson Model 1911 .45 ACP

The 1911 and the Kit Gun were purchased through Smith & Wesson's Hunter Education Instructor's purchase program.  Any certified instructor is eligible for the program and it simply requires mailing an order form, with check or money order, and a signed copy of a Federal Firearms License.  The guns are shipped to the FFL holder, who then initiates the NICS. (National Instant Check System)

Some FFL holders charge a nominal fee for handling this paperwork, but our friends at Wholesale Sports Outfitters in Spokane have done this free of charge in support of Hunter Education activities.  Even if one does pay a small fee for this transaction, the money saved on the purchase price still makes it economically worthwhile.

Several manufacturers of guns, optics, and other outdoor gear have purchase programs for certified instructors that provide substantially reduced prices from even the big discount houses.  Some others that come to mind are Henry Firearms, Savage, Ruger, Leupold, and Burris, to name a few.

We are using Washington State's new 'online enrollment system' for our hunter education classes.  The student simply finds an open class online, and fills in the required information to enroll.  This system eliminates much of the paperwork and written reports required under the old procedure.  In our case, and by choice, nearly all communication between students and instructors, prior to the first day of class, is by email rather than telephone or face to face.

Even though all our 2010 classes are booked full, and the online system reflects that, I still get numerous email inquiries.  Many say something like: "i see u have a class mar 30 what are the days and hours and can i still get in the class im 12 years old and want to go hunting"  (After typing the above line, leaving out punctuation, I realized that I couldn't make myself torture the grammar and spelling as badly as is often done in these emails.)

I suppose this is nothing more than a reflection of the texting craze and these kids understand each other perfectly.  What bothers me is, these kids will be looking for jobs in the next few years and how is this method of written communication going to impress those ancient 40 something's that will be making the hiring decisions?

I'm not going to stop my criticism of written communication skills with the teenage set.  I don't profess to be perfect when it comes to grammar, spelling, or word usage in my writing.  Just peruse the nearly 100 newsletters on this website and I'm sure you can find plenty of errors.  But, my short stint of writing for Outlook Magazine a couple of years ago, and putting these newsletters online, have made me somewhat more sensitive to noticing obvious errors by writers that should know better!

A couple of recent examples include a story about squirrel hunting in a national hunting magazine.  The writer is describing a squirrel call he used as a youngster.  The device had what he called "billows" on the end that created squirrel sounds when tapped or shaken.  Do you think he meant "bellows?"  Do you suppose he even knows what "bellows" might be?

Another was in a newspaper story from the Rapid City Journal about establishing mountain lion quotas for South Dakota's hunting seasons.  In presenting the pros and cons voiced by local pundits, the reporter quoted one source as saying "We should "air"on the side of conservatism."  You think he might have meant "err?"

Hell, everyone makes mistakes, but these writers are being paid for doing what they do.  Seems if 'spell check' thinks it's a word, it stays in, even if it's wrong!

While I'm bitchin' about things, let me pass along something I found when following a link to a subscriber's contribution on my Internet Service Provider's website:

Dear Mr. President:

During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.

While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"!  During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture", a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me".

Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.


Nuff said!

While getting our recent Hunter Education class set up to shoot at Center Target Sports in Post Falls, Idaho, I learned that they will be providing a free clinic each month for the general public.

Owner Ed Santos told me, "March 4th we had a 'purse party,' which featured concealed carry purses, bra holsters, and other methods of carrying concealed weapons for women.  In April we'll feature a 'bullseye/precision shooting clinic."

Future clinics will feature more concealed carry, AR-15's, and metallic ammunition reloading.  I have done a couple of reloading seminars at Center Target in the past, so Ed asked me to consider helping with the clinic on that subject when it comes up.  For more information visit the Center Target website at www.centertargetsports.com

This month's hillbilly wisdom again comes from Ann's Newman Lake Fire Auxiliary cookbook.  Author Unknown:

"To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer."

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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