Gifting a rifle

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Picking the appropriate rifle for a first-time hunter is even more complicated than gifting a shotgun. A rifle will be used to hunt big game, such as deer and elk.

Certainly, there are some select individuals who can master the art of big game hunting at a young age. Last year 9-year-old Jamie Fisher shot her first deer, a nice 3- by 4-point buck.

This accomplishment was possible because of serious mentoring by parents and grandparents. Jamie completed hunter education the year before and she wanted to hunt the same year. However, mom and dad thought it best to wait one more year.

There can be unforeseen hazards with being young and short. Jamie’s dad spotted a legal deer while they were hunting.

“There’s a nice deer,” her dad said.

“Where, I don’t see a deer,” was her reply.

Dad finally figured out the problem. Jamie was too short to see over the sagebrush in front of her. She stepped to the side of the sagebrush and had a clear shot.

The word is Jamie not only bagged her second deer this year, but also her first cow elk. If a photo of both successful hunts were to find my computer, they would end up in the CBH.

Another problem with beginning a hunting career is the amount of game to see and harvest. Jamie is extremely lucky to harvest two deer in two years, plus one elk. Some youth hunters hunt deer for years without seeing a legal deer, which generally must have antlers with 3-points on one side.

A bird hunter with a shotgun, on the other hand, might get several chances to shoot a turkey or a duck or a goose in one day.

The next consideration in choosing a rifle is putting the right size firearm with the person who will shoot it. My rifle of choice is the .30-06 Winchester handed down from my dad. A 9-year-old would not enjoy shooting it because of the large amount of recoil. A .243, with a much-reduced recoil will be appropriate for smaller youth.

My third hunting rifle is a semi-automatic .270. The semi-automatic part of the rifle absorbs much of the recoil as the rifle ejects the spent round and places another into the action, ready to be fired.

The family will know which rifle would be appropriate for the beginning hunter. The choice will differ if the youth is 9-years-old or 15.

Big game hunting is a major step in the life of a beginning hunter. A rifle which is pleasant to shoot at the range and during the hunt needs to be considered.

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