My Three Sons
of the size of my sons’ chests. Finding ones that fit and were hunter orange was impossible. We tried plastic blaze-orange vests, but these would tear off in minutes. Our solution was to purchase some nice oil cloth coats, hang them from a tree in the backyard and spray paint them orange. It seemed a shame to do this to nice new coats, but it worked.
Sharing a shotgun on a weekend hunt was a big downer for the boys, so my biggest expense in outfitting the three young hunters was guns, both shotguns and rifles.
I decided that all of my sons would need good shotguns, which was, of course, a pretty expensive decision. My wife, Jen, viewed this level of family expenditure, on top of the boots and everything else, with doubt and suspicion. But, I assured her it was for “her babies.”
Actually, this was the best part of gearing up three young hunters. After all, what hunter doesn’t like to go shopping for more guns?
The first gun for my oldest son was easy. I bought a $5 raffle ticket at a fundraising banquet and won a nice 20-gauge double-barrel shotgun. Unfortunately, I was never able to duplicate this very cost-effective method of acquiring shotguns, and I had to turn to the family checkbook for further purchases.
I was quail hunting with a friend on the J.N. Turkey Kearn Conservation Area in Johnson County and having a wonderful time. My friend, on the other hand, couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn all day. Late in the afternoon, the final covey erupted in front of my hunting buddy. He fired three times, missing each time. In frustration, he threw his gun down in the snow and yelled out, “This gun is for sale.”
I was able to negotiate a very favorable purchase price, and my youngest son had his first gun. I was sure my son could work out all those misses with some practice.
I spent almost 20 years buying boots, hunting clothing, guns, ammo and hunting licenses for my sons. They are grown now and have moved away, but the outfitting continues. I bought my oldest son a nice, expensive pair of hunting boots last Christmas, and we usually send our sons a gift certificate to one of the major outdoor hunting equipment suppliers on their birthdays.
I don’t know how much it has cost me over the years, but it was worth it. Hunting is still a tradition for us, and the memories of our hunting trips are priceless.