What If We Weren't Bird Hunters?

A new NSSF/Harris poll reveals that about half of the people we know would try shooting if we'd just invite them to tag along. Maybe that should've made me think of a few friends I'd like to take shooting, but mostly it reminded me how lucky I am that my Dad took me shooting and later pheasant hunting. But what if that hadn't occurred? My friends, let me pose a rather frightening question: What if we weren't bird hunters?

My life would be different in a few ways that the average mother-in-law might consider improvements. For one, I'd probably have invested more money in real estate than flocked decoys, Italian shotguns and acrylic duck calls. It's plausible I'd show up to weddings dressed to the nines rather than wearing a tie with mallards on it and a suit covered in dog hair. And I would even be a safer motorist, since I'd no longer become mesmerized by geese overhead and forget to drive.

Of course, as I write this, there wouldn't be a springer spaniel curled up at my feet who's given me more joy through hunting, field trialing and just being my friend than I could ever hope to repay him for. There wouldn't be a favorite shotgun tucked in my safe that I'm known to pull out and shoulder one last time before bed. And a couple of my very best friends would still just be good friends because we would never have hunted ducks together. (Do you ever really know someone until the two of you share coffee in a 6 a.m. duck blind?)

Point is, if we didn't hunt, life would be different. Would we find other passions? Perhaps, but I bet many of us would still feel lost somehow, adrift without even knowing why. So, let's all take heart in the NSSF's poll. We can help people find a piece of themselves they didn't realize was missing. Let's invite them shooting.

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