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JD's First Deer Rifle
JD's First Deer Rifle  

Do you remember your first deer rifle?  If you're like me you probably can remember just about everything about your first rifle.  My first deer rifle was a Remington Semi-Auto .243 that my Dad bought at a local gun shop.  It was a heavy gun and because of that we traded it for a Remington Model 700 .270 the next year.  It was with the .270  that I killed my first deer. 

Choosing a rifle is one of  the most important things you do when preparing a young hunter for their first season.  Confidence in your rifle is very important and with a young hunter it is imperative that you build that confidence by choosing the correct rifle.  We often hear debates about what is the best caliber but to me it more about confidence than caliber.  You can build that confidence by finding a rifle that fits.

I think JD has found the rifle that fits him.  JD bought a Remington Model 700 Youth .308 from Sportsman Inc. located in Newport, SC over the weekend.  I wasn't able to tag along when he bought it but based on what JD told me it sounded like an awesome experience.  The staff at Sportsman Inc. went above and beyond to make sure JD had everything he needed for his first rifle.  On Saturday we packed up and headed to my friend Rick's house to get the scope mounted and sighted in. 

As we arrived at Rick's house and stepped from the car a cool breeze signaled that deer season was just around the corner.  I couldn't have been more excited about watching JD shoot his first rifle.  It didn't take long and Rick had JD's scope which is a Nikon 3x9x50 mounted and ready for the shooting range.  We set up a bench at 25 yards and got everything ready.  We took some time to give JD some safety instructions and get him comfortable with his set up.  Again safety and getting familiar with the rifle goes along with building that confidence that is so important.

We had a minor hiccup before JD made his first shot.  The mount screw for the scope was a hair too long and wasn't allowing the bolt to close.  Rick was on top of it and within minutes he had the screw filed down and the gun ready again.  JD got set up and made his first shot at 25 yards.  I was eager to see the recoil from the rifle because that is definitely something you want to manage when starting a youngster out shooting.  To help with this JD bought Remington's managed recoil ammunition.  On the box it stated that it reduces recoil by 50% and I was sold after watching JD make a few shots.  We shot about three rounds at 25 yards and then backed up to 50 yards.  After making a few more shots we finally backed up to 100 yards.  JD shot about nine rounds down range and with each shot you could see his confidence rise. 

It was a fun day of shooting and I can't thank Rick enough for his help.  We got to teach JD a few things about safety and shooting and we watched JD start to build a bond with his rifle.  He's a pretty darn good shot!  Now it's time to go hunting!

What do you remember about shooting your first rifle?  Check out JD's first shots in the video below.


The Lonesome Dove
JD's first dove. January 15, 2011  

A field of whistling wings turned into a field of chirping crickets after the last snowfall.  I had hoped to get one last dove hunt in before the end of the season, but the snowfall changed my plans just a little.  A snow storm rolled through on January 9th and covered the cut soybean field in about 6 inches of snow and ice.  My plan was to get in one more hunt on January 15th.  I was sure that the snow and ice would melt by then but I was wrong.  Well, with fingers crossed I decided to give it a shot anyways. 

I had taken my cousin JD on his first deer hunt this past year and thought it would be fun to take him on his first dove hunt.  Leading up to the snow storm the field was full of whistling wings.  I joked that there were so many doves that my 4yr. old son Riley could have gotten close to a limit with his toy shotgun.  Seriously.

I knew from scanning the field earlier in the morning that we were going to have a tough go at it because of the recent snow.  The morning was cool and the sun shined bright that morning, but the field was still a soggy mess.  JD and I set out across the field at about 9:30 am.  The ice still covered the field in the shady areas which made our trek a little slippery.  I found a good spot on the shady side of the field behind some broom straw.  We sat down and talked about everything besides the doves that were not flying.  We traded guns and talked about that for a few minutes.  JD was toting his .410 shotgun that has been passed down through the family.  I was carrying my 20-gauge side by side that has also made its rounds.    We talked a little more about the rabbit hunters off in the distance that seemed to be having more success than us.  It?s funny how you can almost visualize a rabbit hunt from listening to the beagles run.  We were both a little envious of their success.  Well after awhile I decided that maybe we could jump a few doves by walking the tree line.  We got close a couple of times but couldn?t quite seal the deal. 

After lunch we found our way outside to play a little football.  Riley, JD, and myself tossed the football around a little while when the whistling wings of several doves flew overhead.  I immediately looked at JD and could tell that he was thinking the same thing I was.  I went back inside and grabbed his .410.  The doves had flown into a set of pines next to my house and I figured we maybe could get a shot.  As we entered the woods the odds were stacked against us.  Thick briars, crunchy ice, and my little sidekick were all on my mind.  Well, I let JD take the lead and Riley and I sat back and were his eyes and ears.  After what seemed an eternity we spotted the doves.  Two of them flew off without giving a shot and now we were down to one lonesome dove.  JD made a couple of slick moves through the thick stuff that would?ve made those cottontails we heard being chased earlier envious and he got into position.  One swift shot and the lonesome dove was down.  JD?s first shot at a dove was a success. 

We were all extremely excited.  We cleaned the dove and I sent it home with JD.  I told him he would probably have to wait till next year for his first dove meal, but it might make a good snack.  It?s funny how sometimes when plans change the best memories are made.  Does anyone have a good story of their first dove or first dove hunt?  Please share.

JD and Riley with JD's first dove.  


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