Wednesday, January 4, 2012

# 165 - East Texas Gun-Fire

As you have probably already suspected, Deputy Dave and I are not hunters. Well, Deputy Dave is a hunter of sorts...but not of wildlife. However, that might be changing. We've been talking about learning to hunt, but not with the gun below. These guns are city guns, suited for another purpose.

A great pocket-sized buddy.
Deputy Dave already knows how to shoot. Me...not so much. Deputy Dave is itching to teach me how to "properly" shoot a gun.

My history with shooting began with my brother and I, as young kids, standing on the diving board to the swimming pool in the backyard of our city home...standing on the far end facing the yard. We stood on our shooting platform and gazed across the yard toward the pyramid of stacked empty soda cans laid on the top fence board, cans ready for us to shoot with a Daisy BB Gun.

Our parents had no idea that we had set up a shooting range in our backyard paradise, we were typical city kids up to no good. Even though it was only a BB gun, we are very fortunate to not have hurt any of the churchgoers in the church parking lot situated directly behind our house, on the other side of the fence --- the direction we were shooting. Of course, we'd wait until there were no people passing by before we'd emerge from the pool to shoot a few more sweet of us to be attentive like that.

We were the hellions who lived next to the church and who had parents who so carelessly gave BB Guns to their kids without supervision. I look back and wonder...What exactly did our parents think we would be doing with a BB Gun in city limits?

My brother and I, in a sweet moment of
not wanting to kill one another but we're getting close to the BB Gun Age.

However, for those of you who are worried for our souls, we're both Christians --- my brother a youth minister --- and we recognize kids like we'd been, kids who didn't think too much about their actions. Well, perhaps we DID care about our actions...after all...we never did shoot anyone in the parking lot behind the fence because we actually did practice SOME amount of safety. We were pillars in our community I tell you.

My brother and I standing next to each other,
he's about 17 and I'm about 21 years old.
And he's about to join the Marines and be leaving for the Middle East.

Since then, I've grown up, somewhat. My point is...I could handle a BB Gun with precision, I could call out which soda can I would be shooting in the pyramid and take it out. Those were the days. Since then, things have changed.

On the other end of the spectrum, as for Deputy Dave's own shooting abilities, you would not want to be in his range. Prior to big city work as a Deputy Sheriff, he served in the military and became an expert marksman on certain weaponry. Regardless, he's never been a hunter of wildlife.
Of course, he passed on this natural ability to his youngest daughter, Stefie. She can shoot a bullet hole through a paper target bull's eye and then shoot a second bullet hole through the first one. She did this the very first time she shot a 9mm, starting in her teenage years.

Me, I take the shooting stance that my husband calls "spray and pray." It's messy and not very on target, but it often gets the job done. Unfortunately, my oldest, Heather, employs this same kind of shooting ability...if she is ever forced to "protect" people in her household, we're all ready to duck low so that she has a better chance at shooting the bad guy and missing all of us good guys.

So, with a family split evenly with on-target shooters and the other half as those who spray and pray, we are quite a team and can clear an area quite efficiently. However, we know that hunting will be interesting. Deputy Dave will surely hunt like a military machine, using a minimum of bullets while I am unloading the clip, hopefully after learning to shoot a "big gun" with open eyes.

Yes, I've got a long way to go.

The firing pit on our property.

Until the day when we learn to hunt ourselves, I hope we can keep the "foreign" hunters off of our property. It's a hard job to conquer when you have acreage in the country with fuzzy boundaries that will be made more clear once we've moved out there full-time. It will be better for everyone after we put up our fences and are living out there in our cabin.

As for country living, I learned as small child while visiting our weekender places in the woods near our acreage that if you don't like the sound of gun-fire, then do NOT go to East Texas. This part of the map will guarantee that you will hear a mixture of birds chirping, followed by sporadic gun-fire, and then a short spell of silence.

However, I must say that gun accidents out there are a rarity compared to city dwellers because people in the country actually know how to handle a gun. The feel of a gun in their hand is the same as the steering wheel of your car in yours --- both can be a deadly weapon if not handled properly, but each can provide a strong sense of independence when taken care of responsibly.

In Texas, especially East Texas, everybody and their brother owns at least one gun and they use them. Hunting is a favorite past-time in East Texas. You can even obtain hunting permits for The Big Thicket Preserve...yes...a government operated entity allows hunting on its premises in Texas.

Learning to hunt will also require me to broaden my food preferences. Since I do not currently eat venison, this will be a massive challenge for me to overcome. It will be another hurdle for me to conquer once I'm living in the country because we have lots of deer on our property. I am a city girl; I don't eat venison, but I do eat Sushi.

As for hunting, it's good that we can officially hunt across the street in The Big Thicket during seasonal allowances and this will keep our hunting costs to a minimum. But, there is no doubt, I will have to find a way to get past my Bambi issues with deer meat.

I'm determined to overcome my deer meat aversion. Maybe I will eventually get to the point to being able to eat a ground venison taco and almost convince myself that it is I'm told.

Regardless, as for gun-fire in East Texas, once the shotgun sounds begin to ricochet around us because of the echoes that occur in the woods, I lovingly say to Deputy Dave while dressed in my country finest, without make-up and with my wild, curly hair all over the place, "We've had so many ups and a few downs, but I hope you always remember that you have been THE love of my life."

And he gives me this lopsided confused expression while saying, "What's wrong with you? I'm just here to refill the tractor with gas."

I don't think he even hears the gunshots, heck, he goes to work every day with a gun on his hip. But for me, hearing guns firing around me has a tendency to make me feel a bit nostalgic.

If you decide to visit the heart of East Texas forest any time soon, be aware that you will hear multiple gun shots going off, especially on a holiday weekend. Every Bubba in town has visitors come over for some 4-wheeling, BBQing, and a shoot-out. And once we got back home to our house surrounded by city life we were missing the tranquil sounds of country living, but we also found it odd that the absence of gun-fire was not very comforting.

Around here, in the city, if people heard their neighbors firing off their weapons on a regular basis, there might be a few less burglaries and such because warnings of occupancy are made very clear on a good sunny day with a gun shot or two. That said, I do NOT think it's a good idea to start shooting our guns in the suburbs. It's just a Wild-West thought to ponder. 

Even the most dense criminal can get the message of a gun firing off around the corner. Yes, it would be a great idea to love THAT neighbor.

I guess the bottom line about people hunting on our land, or rather, the thing about people trespassing on our land, is that in East Texas...people will avoid your property IF there is evidence of your habitation. However, IF the property appears vacated, then it is a free-for-all, with no ill harm intended.
And there you go...that's the unwritten rule of East Texas...stay away and you will be dismissed. Hang around and you will be remembered.


Karen said...

Hi Lana, gosh you look so cute in your hat with all that glorious curly hair! You have some big deer tracks there, too. The 'wild' taste of venison can sometimes be calmed down a bit with the addition of pork, if you so desire. Living here in deer country, its a common practice.

Gun fire makes me nervous, even though out here we've been known to shoot at 3AM and nobody cares. Still, stray lead does worry me. The case of the little Amish girl in Ohio who was killed by a guy cleaning his gun two miles away was so sad. What were the chances of a stray bullet hitting her so far away?

During deer hunting, I wear my blaze orange and hope for the best. Our house has been hit already by overzealous idjits. Whenever a hunting party shows up to 'drive' the woods, we go down in the basement and work on stained glass. Better safe than sorry, lol.

I used to be a fairly good shot with a .22 rifle, but now I'm pathetic. Must be old age; I just can't hold the gun still--it's all over the place. I can only imagine how bad I'd be with a handgun, oh, boy...

You sure have some gorgeous property there, what a beautiful place for your dream home!

Mike said...

Country living and gun fire go hand-in-hand. It just wouldn't be the same without it.

I often ask the whoa-man what's wrong with her, too. ;)

Isn't it strange how the size difference changes from the oldest to the youngest? Re: comparing your bro and you pics.

LindaG said...

Deer season is 4 months long in Louisiana. We hear lots of gun fire, too and our property is not in the woods.

I know how to shoot a gun, but I'm not very good at it either.
Especially now that I'm 30 years older and my eyesight isn't so good.
Hubby got me an FN 5.7, which is a lighter weight pistol. You could hunt with it.

He prefers a Kimber 10 mm.

I want to practice more, but it is embarrassing to go to the firing range and not be able to hit the target because I can't see it well with my bifocals!

I think I would be in the 'spray and pray' category, too. I've told my hubby he is more than welcome to use my pistol for hunting.
I definitely know how you feel, gun wise, Lana.

I have even hunted with my hubby in Alaska and have a scar on my nose to show that I am probably better off not using a shotgun. ;-)

Deer jerky is not much different from beef jerky. The thing to remember with deer is that it is super lean, so depending on how you fix it, you need to add a little fat when you cook it. Google it and I'm sure you'll find lots of interesting reading. :)

Also, if you don't already, read Hickery Holler Farm. Canned Quilter posts lots of great homestead information. She and O Wise One share lots of good information. She has done posts on how to for venison jerky, canning venison, venison sausage, venison dog biscuits and more! :)

You and Deputy Dave have a wonderful piece of property you'll be self sufficient before you know it. :-)

Rae said...

Is that a s&w airweight .38 up there at the top pic? Hard to see when I read blogs on my phone. If it is, I'm jealous. I WANT one. :) Told LJ I'd go get my concealed as soon as he buys me one... With laser grips, of course. Gotta have the laser grips.

Out where we are, gunshots are a common sound. Unfortunately, we often hear a high powered rifle shot at dusk... Which means some jerk is poaching. No one target shooting shoots once. At dusk.

As far as venison is concerned... Nummy num num! Deer are pests. Tasty tasty pests. :)

Lana at said...

Karen --- Thanks for the sweet comment about all of my curly hair that is sometimes a pain! I must admit though, since I quit fighting my curly hair, I have a LOT more tme on my hands and a lot less frustration! As for your tips with cooking venison, I was VERY interested in the adding pork info. You and Linda made it all make sense by helping me understand that the mixture is important because deer is very lean and the pork makes it more tasty. Maybe we can learn to make a great mixture. And yes, you and I both get nervous about "stray lead." The Amish girl being shot and killed two miles away from the rogue bullet is devastating. Such stories make you wonder how life can be so strange and eerie with such weird happenings as that little bullet making its way for two miles to bring death to a little girl. It is difficult to process. As for the deer hunting season around our property, maybe Deputy Dave and I need to hunker down and work on our stained glass projects as well --- surrounded by lots of reinforced steel since we won't have a basement. And our property...I feel as if it is beautiful, but I also know it'll take a long time to get it tame.

Mike --- I think we'll be keeping a lot of those trees on our property. LOTS of trees.

Linda --- Sounds like you have some hunting experience and know your way around a few guns. A true Southern woman! You should write about your nose scar and shooting for one of your blog entries...I'd like to hear that story, it sounds like a scar that was well earned. I'm uneasy around guns...funny for the wife of a police officer to say that, but I would definitely be able to handle one, if needed. I don't have great eyesight, especially because of night blindness, but I think that we would be able to overcome any eyesight issues with our desire to protect ourselves and our family. I will also check out the Hickory Holler Farm, it sounds like they have great information. And, I do hope to get moved to our land very soon. I'm so ready to put our house on the market...tomorrow!!

Rae --- that gun is indeed a 38 special. It was actually a present to our daughter for her 21st birthday, but she also carries a 9mm, which she prefers. I do think poachers are using our land. And your comment about deer being tasty pests had me laughing out loud. I guess I'll have to get accustomed to preparing that particular pest!