Shotgun Sports Can Be a Superior Way To Teach Ethics

Father Son Hunting
Shotgun Sports Can Be a Superior Way To Teach Ethics

Pikesville, MD –-(  A few years ago I experienced a moment that is now seared into my memory.

The moment began inconspicuously. I and some of my Rocky Mountain Vintagers pals were ambling from station to station at Jerry William’s superb Quail Run Sporting Clays Club in Kiowa, Colorado.

At a station with two lazy straight-away targets, a dad was teaching his daughter to handle a shotgun. She was slender, about twelve, and the pump shotgun her dad maneuvered to her shoulder seemed ponderous. I value dads teaching their children how to shoot so I slowed down to observe and listen to his words. “Keep your head down; lean forward, weight on the front foot, watch for target over here….” The dad pointed to a thicket of bramble to their left.

Suddenly the young lady spun to her right, pointing the barrel toward her father and the walking path of the shooting course. As his left hand adroitly pushed the barrel toward the target area, the dad calmly said, “Honey, pay attention. Someone could get hurt.”

Observing that interaction affirmed, yet again, how shotgun sports offer unique opportunities to teach shooting safety and also teach broader lessons about ethics that reach beyond the shooting sports.

Almost all the clay target shooting I’ve done has been with only one other person, most often one of my children, or in small groups, mostly in a squad of two or three.

A dominant characteristic of those small groups is trust, and, with my family, there is the added characteristic of love. Those small groups —you can call them audiences— create an intimate and trusting environment that can be superior to other formats for teaching the complex ideas and analyses inherent in proper shooting, specifically, and in living a proper life.

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