Made in America

In the Fall of the year 40 years ago I was sitting on a log with my father when a big fox squirrel hopped up on the end of the log. I whacked him with my Mom’s model 37 Winchester. A few years later I was prowling the woods on my own with a real gun – a rifle – looking for squirrels.

Last Saturday Bat and I were hunting at our camp in Hampshire County, WV. The same property I have been hunting all my life. We were walking down an old haul road when Bat whispered, “Dad, wait a minute.”

I stopped and he began slipping into the woods, over the ridge. I watched as he crept along, rifle at port arms, eyes trained on the forest floor. I could not help but smile as I watched a boy, bathed in autumn splendor, becoming a man. Bat stopped and raised the rifle and only then did I see the fox squirrel on the side of the tree. The .22 Magnum cracked and the squirrel hit the ground. I knew Bat was smiling too.

Bat has taken squirrel, wild hogs and deer in the past but I have always been right at his side, guiding him. Not this time.

As we walked back to camp, past the spot where we spread my Mom’s ashes a few years back, it occurred to me that I’d had a hand in making a hunter. Actually, I didn’t do much making; hunting is a genetic part of us all. I only provided opportunity.

Of course my son is much more than just a hunter but here in all the color of fall, that’s the thing that rings true. A hunter made right here in America, in the hills of West Virginia where it is still expected to teach a kid to shoot and hunt and where they don’t have to be a certain age to learn to do it. Where – in the words of COL Cooper – a boy should know how “To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth.”

Someday, if he is living right, Bat will get to experience what I did last Saturday.



About gunwriter

Born and raised in the West Virginia hills, Richard literally grew up in the woods. He has chased coon hounds until daylight, waited out whitetails perched high in an oak, canoed the New River and hunted from the Montana Mountains to the Green Hills of Africa. During service in the Army and later as a municipal police officer and Special Agent with the railroad police, Richard obtained numerous certifications in small arms instruction. He has trained military personnel, law enforcement officers and civilians in the application of firearms for defensive, competitive and recreational use. Richard won the West Virginia Governor’s Twenty Award for law enforcement, the West Virginia National Guard State Pistol Competition and earned his Distinguished Medal with pistol. Badge turned in, Richard is now a contributing editor for several magazines. He was the compiling author of the book, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter and conceptualized and contributed to Selecting and Ordering a Custom Hunting Rifle. Richard also contributed a chapter to the John Velke book, The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Richard has patents on a riflescope reticle and a revolutionary bullet testing media. A hillbilly at heart, Richard lives on Shadowland - his shooting range in West Virginia - with the most understanding wife in the world, their three kids and a very protective ridgeback hound.
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2 Responses to Made in America

  1. Hilljack says:


  2. Michael B. Saari says:

    Just keep praying government will not create victimless felonies to remove his gun rights!

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