Fellow Blogger Blindsided by Buy-Out

Everyone needs to head over to From the Draw and read Emily’s story about how her former domain name (Scent Free Lip Gloss) was taken from her unexpectedly – and how you might be able to avoid the same thing happening to you.  Emily has an awesome site, full of hunting and fishing stories, humor, and even art!  I know she will appreciate the visit, and you will enjoy the time you spend with her.

The Importance of Hunter Education

“…if you want to feel what it is like to be human again, you should hunt, even if just once” – Georgia Pellegrini in Girl Hunter.

If you have never hunted before, but think you might want to do so, now is a great time to take a Hunter Education Course.  If you plan on hunting in Texas, and you were born on or after September 2nd, 1971, you are required to take Hunter Ed, unless you want to be accompanied by a “responsible adult” every time you go out.  And this is a good thing.  I’ve seen the difference a Hunter Education course makes in the ethics of new hunters, as well as in their understanding of the State hunting laws.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, a Hunter Ed course “…provides instruction in Texas hunting regulations, wildlife management and identification,  conservation, ethics, firearm and hunting safety and responsibility, and outdoor skills.”  And with the course costing only $15 for 14 hours of instruction, it’s a bargain!

Check with your State parks and wildlife department for a listing of courses in your area – but here’s something else to consider for those who feel they might not be able to “kill Bambi” – go with a hunter and just enjoy being in nature.  I’ve sat in a blind with my youngest son many times, completely silent, waiting and watching for his deer to come into view.

During the wait, I was priviledged to view a hidden world as it took place without interference from humankind.  While experiencing the excitement of someone else’s hunt, I had plenty of time to take beautiful pictures and relax in the peace of a silent wood.

You can read about my son’s first hunting trip by CLICKING HERE.

Enjoying these experiences and wanting to encourage others to get out there and hunt has caused me to take steps to become a Hunter Education Instructor myself, and I hope to be leading a women-only hunt this fall.  So even if you are in the age range that isn’t required to take Hunter Ed, why not do it anyway?  Take advantage of the off season and learn more about hunting in your home state.

For a listing of state hunting regulations, go to the Dane County Conservation League’s site:  Hunting Season Links by State.  They have links to every state, as well as Canada.

Outdoor photography sites

I wanted to pass along a couple of blog sites to you that focus on outdoor photography and have stunning photographs.  I’ve already posted a couple of links to Dianne’s site over at life as I see it, which is phenomenal, but there are a couple of others worth mentioning, as well.

Patrick Latter, at Canadian Hiking Photography  goes places that I wouldn’t even think of going – so I’m able to live vicariously through his adventures.  For every trek, Patrick posts the temperature, weather conditions, directions, and gear used on the trip, along with other info to describe the spectacular photos he captures.  Check out his recent hike of Ha Ling Peak.

Next, Photobotos describes their collaboration by saying, “Come Travel With Us – We promise one amazing photo every day.”  This site allows photographers to send in the pics they have taken from around the world, along with tips, hints, and techniques for achieving similar results.  One of my recent favorites is “Sea of Horses.”

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Dogs and beautiful pictures – what’s not to love?

This has nothing to do with shooting, but it definitely applies to the outdoors.  I happen to love dogs and beautiful photographs, and the photos that Dianne in Nova Scotia takes are just stunning – even those of her precious pups.  The poem that goes with the photos is also very fun and clever.  You can find her post over at Just Because – and while you are there, check out her other photographs.  It’s incredible to me that she sees such beauty on a daily basis, just around her home, that would seem like heaven to me.

Generation HC Member: Leslie Cernik aka Western Rose

“Generation HC,” or the “High Caliber Generation” is what I’ve begun calling young people I’ve come into contact with in the world of shooting sports.  These “kids” are extremely focused, mature, and disciplined – but they have a lot of fun, as well.

The first Gen HC member I reported on was “Allie Cat” Barrett, and you can read that interview here.  Allie is a member of the fast-growing sport of practical pistol shooting (and I hope to talk her into writing a detailed description of her favorite sport for me soon), but we are about to turn 180 degrees and talk with a young woman that is a Project Appleseed rifle instructor – at the ripe old age of 18. 🙂

Leslie Cernik of Idaho, aka Western Rose, is an amazing young woman whose dad taught her to shoot a rifle at an early age, and who actually became a Revolutionary War Veterans Association Instructor and Range Safety Officer at the age of 16.

As Leslie says of her early days, “My Dad started to teach each of us to shoot as soon as we could tell him, from memory, Cooper’s four safety rules.  He started us out with a small .22 pistol.  When we were big enough, Dad would put us behind a Marlin Model 60 .22 rifle with iron sights and the use of a big log as a rest.”

She explains her introduction to the Appleseed organization by saying, “When I was 12 or 13 my Dad asked if I would like to go with him to something called ‘Project Appleseed.’  I had no idea what it was, other than I would be shooting all weekend with my Dad.  That sounded like fun, so off we went.

I learned the Steady Hold Factors of prone, sitting, and standing; I found out the great secret of needing to find your Natural Point Of Aim; I was taught the Six Steps of Firing a Shot; and on top of all that, just when I needed a break, the instructors would tell history.

I have always liked to read, but have never been good at remembering dates, events, names…until that weekend.  I learned SO much [Revolutionary War history] that I wouldn’t have learned any other way.  The instructors were definitely welcoming to me, even though I was, by far, the youngest attendee AND the only girl on the line…not  to mention the only .22 shooter.

At the end of the weekend, I left with a smile, new friends, and the high score of my family (a 198 of 250).  That was my first experience with any kind of organized shooting event and I loved it.”

Leslie said the ratio of men-women-children on an Appleseed line has changed drastically over the years and now entire families are signing up for the events.  And if you are unfamiliar with Project Appleseed, this is an organization that teaches rifle marksmanship and the importance of the American Revolutionary rifleman to the freedoms we enjoy today.  All levels are welcome at these very inexpensive events, from beginner to expert, and those who excel at the course may earn their Rifleman patch.

Leslie is not only an Appleseed instructor, she is also a homeschooling high school senior, as well as a college freshman, a writer, a horsewoman, photographer, blogger, and much more.  Her Appleseed involvement has even moved beyond the shooting line, and into administration of the organization.

I asked Leslie some questions about her shooting and will let her speak for herself:

Q.  What three life lessons have you learned from shooting?

A.  “Shooting has taught me persistence, confidence, and how to relax.  Seriously.  Persistence is on that list because it’s not always easy.  You have to work through the        problems and find a solution.  You can’t give up.  That’s something that easily transfers into everyday life (and school work!).

Confidence is listed because when you go from not doing so well, to achieving a goal, it will boost your confidence to know that you can work through this issue, that persistence will pay off.  Plus, there is nothing like the feeling of confidence when you get down behind a rifle, see a target, and know you can hit it.  You realize you aren’t helpless.

How to relax is another thing that I’ve found particularly helpful.  I used to tense up when I was shooting, so for me, learning to relax in a tense situation is very useful, and not only in shooting.”

Q.  How has shooting played a part in how you relate to your peers?

A.  “Presently, a lot of my peers aren’t super interested in shooting or history.  That has been troubling, but I still definitely enjoy my time with them.  Maybe someday they’ll come along with me to a Project Appleseed event and realize that this is THEIR heritage.  I have found that I definitely don’t ‘fit’ in just one age group.  I thoroughly enjoy learning from those who are older than myself, and then taking what I learn and teaching it to others.”

Q.  What is your favorite firearm?

A.  “My favorite firearm would definitely be a rifle.  I REALLY like the M1 Garand.  That would be my favorite specific rifle, but I do enjoy shooting the M1A, AR, and the .22s, as well.”

Q.  How has your schooling affected your shooting “career,” or vice versa?

A.  “Being homeschooled, I was hardly ever put in a classroom with a bunch of kids my age.  That made me learn to communicate with both adults and kids.  I have found that learning isn’t just in the classroom; it’s all the time.  In shooting, I’m with people who are anywhere from 13 years younger than myself, to 60+ years older.  I have a lot of fun being with folks that are older than myself and learning from them, so it works out well.  Also, it gives me an appreciation for the wisdom of the gray head – ok, you don’t actually have to be going gray to be wise” 🙂

Q.  What is it like to compete (and win) against people older than yourself?

A.  “Competing has always been somewhat hard for me, in that I tense up (good thing I’ve learned to relax!)  Now I enjoy competing with folks of all ages.  I now know that if I lose I’ll be learning more, and I’ll come back to try again and again until I win.  Winning is exhilarating and continues to build my confidence.”

Q.  What would you like to tell new shooters – young people that are just getting interested in shooting?

A.  “I think I would tell new shooters that it is a lifetime of fun.  Shooting is a journey, where people will come alongside you, help you along the way, and before you know it, you’ll be helping others who are newer to shooting than you are.  You will learn more than you can even imagine – and shooting a .22 doesn’t hurt.  Take that first step, come on out, and enjoy it!”

Q.  How do you see yourself involved in shooting 20 years from now?

A.  “In 20 years, I hope that I will still be teaching others how to shoot, and telling others about our mutual heritage.  I also hope that I will have been able to shoot a perfect score on the AQT (Army Qualification Test).  I would like to learn more pistol shooting and maybe shoot in competitions (both rifle and pistol) sometime.”

Of her role as instructor, Leslie said, “Instructing has helped me grow significantly as a person.  The first time I talked in front of a crowd, I was 16 and there were 72 attendees and 6-8 instructors.  I was honestly freaked out about the idea of talking in front of a group.  Talking to a small group of friends was hard enough, but now I was talking to folks that, for the most part, I’ve never met before.

The other instructors, all quite a bit older than myself, really helped me work through being scared and getting up in front of people, despite my fear.  I didn’t have the confidence that I wouldn’t really mess up, but I knew that if I did, the other instructors would pick me up and help me along.

My ‘trail’ hasn’t been the adventure of one person, it’s been the adventure of many.  People from all over this nation have come alongside me, picked me up when I failed, guided me and taught me.  I continue to be taught by them, and many more have become my teachers, friends, and family over the last couple of years.  Each has built on the foundation that my family, specifically my father, gave me.  I have become an extension of my teachers, and I only hope that I can teach others as well as they have taught me.”

Leslie says she thoroughly enjoys shooting, but has also come to love instructing; and with a family of instructors to call her own (Mom, Shawn, instructor and administrator; Dad, Larry, Idaho State Coordinator for Appleseed; 16 year-old sister, Heather, instructor and administrator; and 14 year-old brother, Patrick, instructor), this group is sure to continue to instill a love for shooting, and American History, in all they come into contact with.

Check out Leslie’s blog at The Little Adventures of Western Rose.

Click on the Appleseed Texas facebook page or to find the Appleseed facebook page for your area, click here.

Camera shots

This photo was taken the other day, then two days later, I took the one below of the same basic area on the tree (though not exactly the same angle).  You can see how many new blooms have burst out in just a couple of days (and I’m sorry I just noticed the trash bags – will have to crop later :0)

Amazing!

The next ones were taken from my hammock in the back yard, from late afternoon to dark.

Bird nest in barren tree.

Moon over my hammock

Smoke from the fire

 

Taken on a hunting trip:  Sunset behind the blind

New Life!

“All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.” Helen Hayes

I still haven’t figured out how to put prominent photos on my blog page or even the sidebar, so I’m putting this one in a post.  It’s a photo I took yesterday of a tree in my yard that is just starting to bud.  This picture, and the tree, make me happy, because they tell me it’s Spring – at least it is in my neck of the woods.  And since I love taking pictures of nature, there may be many more coming over the next couple of months.