Aug 30, 2009

Honor the Heroes Sporting Clays Benefit Shoot

Operation Patriot, Inc. was founded in 2004, after learning of the needs of our aging Veterans living in State Veterans Nursing Homes.

We are a registered Non-Profit Corporation and have 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Please go to our website at to learn about our organization and our goals to help our Veterans.

We are sponsoring the Honor the Heroes Sporting Clay Shoot on September 26, 2009 at Tenoroc Shooting Club in Lakeland, Fl. We will be providing a continental breakfast and catered lunch. There will be a silent auction, door prizes and a 50/50 raffle. The cost is only $80 per shooter or $300 for a four person team. Registration forms can be printed from our website.

As the shoot approaches, we are in need of more shooters. We would greatly appreciate it if you would send this email to all your members, encouraging them to participate.

If you have any questions call (813) 244-8403.

Sharon Richmond
Operation Patriot, Inc.

Aug 12, 2009

Become A Better Hunter

You do not become a better hunter by going hunting. Sounds counterintuitive, but it is true.

Good players in the sporting world confirm this. Tennis players do not become better players by merely playing tennis. They work on individual skills, focusing on weak spots. A player wishing to improve, after identifying her wicked serve and weak backhand through matches, will concentrate on her backhand, slamming them out by the hundreds, probably under the watchful, knowledgeable eyes of a coach, and spend less time working on improving an already good serve.

We have dozens of gun magazines that tell you what equipment to buy, even more hunting magazines that tell you how to bring game in, and calling contests to reinforce some of those skills. But at the actual moment of truth, at the critical juncture that determines what you bring home, the ONLY thing that matters (field marksmanship skill) gets brushed aside.

Outside of HunterShooter events, I challenge you to name one venue that promotes marksmanship skill for hunters. Of 11 million plus annual big game license buyers name, name one shooting venue that regularly attracts even one half percent of them (50,000).

Buckmasters has 300,000 members, NAHC boasts 750,000 and nearly one million NRA members choose American Hunter as their magazine. Ten percent of the smallest is 30,000. The biggest, oldest, most popular shooting venues top out at 50,000 card carrying participants. Any hunting club/magazine that bothered to effectively promote a shooting venue for hunters that inspired 1 out of 10 of its readership to participate would immediately become the next big shooting discipline, and do a great job promoting hunting in the process.

Tiger Woods, demonstrably the best golfer in his era, has a golf coach. Every professional sports team pays a cadre of coaches for their players. But even suggesting that most gun owners and hunters are in need of coaching to improve their skills will often draw howls of protest.

Aug 5, 2009

Predators, Shooting, Hunters

"One does not hunt in order to kill. One hunts in order to have hunted."

Hunting can be enjoyed without a taking an animal. Returning from a hunt empty-handed should not necessarily be considered a failure. As Ortega pointed out, the experience is more important than the result. Wise hunter education instructors will point these facts to their students.

Unfortunately, this leads to the misconception that because the failure to take home a beast isn't a sporting failure that preparation for the hunt, especially field marksmanship skills, isn’t critical. This is an oft-heard excuse for not participating in pre-season skill-building events. "If I get one fine, if not that's OK, too."

This is a wrong, and possibly dangerous, conclusion. It is important to get our priorities straight. Is the goal to take an animal or not? We can and should accept an outcome that doesn't meet our goals and can still appreciate the experience, but we must make our intentions clear first.

Hunter = Predator

If the goal is to take an animal (i.e., you buy a license and take a firearm or bow with you) then you are hunting. The hunter is a predator. However, human hunters have several distinct disadvantages that need to be overcome.

In the wild predators must come in physical contact to have any effect. When this happens, the prey will either succumb rather quickly as the pride/pack finishes the deed, or escape. If the prey animal does manage to escape, it is because it wasn't mortally wounded and will likely survive the encounter. Plus, it is much harder for prey to elude a predator from contact distance compared to one from hundreds of feet away. Days-long lingering deaths, such as caused by escaped animals with jaw or gut shots that weren't tracked and finished, aren't as likely to happen in the wild.

In contrast human hunters must employ powerful tools to overcome our pathetic natural weapons. We can't outrun our prey but we don't have to because our tools can launch projectiles that will.

This advantage also poses some problems. First, the further the distance the more chances for a poor hit. An edge vital hit up close becomes a wounding miss further back. And because we aren't in close proximity, tracking and following up is less sure.

Second, humans have no natural instinct to utilize these tools as predators. The desire and responsibility to learn rests solely on a conscious decision made by the individual.

Consider your pets. Despite being domesticated, the instinct of dogs and cats to “play” builds their skills as predators. The tools employed by humans came along far too late for us to have any instinct in employing or learning to use them. No matter how much false machismo is displayed by too many (typically male) gun owners, their actual proficiency is the direct result of their success or failure in obtaining quality training, conducting proper practice, and attending organized events on a regular, on going basis to test and refresh skills. Period. We don't posses any instinct to gain skills as hunter-shooters (predators) and therefore must consciously participate in activities if we wish to. Develop your instincts and “play” like all good predators.

The power of our tools coupled with this lack of inborn instinct too often creates an unsafe and wasteful situation. If an unprepared individual shows up in the woods fat and sloppy with only the weapons he was born with his chances of wounding game and damaging natural resources are nil. Hand the same "hunter" a rifle and he has the potential to damage, wound, or at least frighten anything in visual range.

If enjoyment and appreciation of nature is the primary object of the exercise, then carry a camera. Getting in position to obtain good photographs of uncooperative wildlife requires knowledge and skills similar to what's needed to set up a successful shot. A seasoned wildlife photographer, who exchanged the camera with a rifle, would likely be a superb hunter, provided he possessed sufficient knowledge and skill at field marksmanship. And with a camera, there is no chance of wounding wildlife or otherwise defiling wild resources.

On the other hand, if the object is to actually participate in nature rather than merely observe, it is your responsibility to become a worthy participant by becoming an efficient predator.

A hunter is a predator. Have enough respect for nature, your prey, and yourself to prepare like one.