This past Saturday and Sunday I did something that a few years ago I never would have imagined doing. Let me paint a picture with words.
Eight o'clock Saturday morning, Ildi and the others drop Nolan, Asher, and I off at the McGuffy Conservation Club. Before I get too far, let me go back to the night before . . . I tried to Google to find the address of the place, and I even called 411 information, and there was no record of MCC anywhere in the village of Alger, Ohio. So, I "phoned a friend," and found out the place was right across the road from their house! Back to the picture.
So Ildi drops us off while she and the others go to the Amish to pick up our 10 gallon stainless steel jug of milk (it is like living in the 1950's) and then do some shopping. We walk into the "club" which is set up like a 70's lounge full of deer trophies, Stroble and Budweiser lamps, and card tables. It's early, cold, and everyone looks like they just got up and threw the same clothes on that they wore for the week before. Not to mention the rectangle radiator that hangs from the ceiling! The place looked like it had never seen the light of day. Not even once. So we three sit down at some tables they have set up in the back room for our class. The class you ask? What class? We are to embark on the two day, twelve hour session of the HUNTER SAFETY COURSE required before you get a hunting license in Ohio.
The day, and the following day, was filled with information about gun equipment, gun procedures, safety while using a gun, along with thousands of dollars of guns for us to look at. Hunting stories and hunting experiences also came as part of the class. The first day it seemed we were like fish on bikes. Just didn't seemed to fit in with all the others that were taking the class. However, after a few hours of listening to the men talk, Nolan and I started asking questions and interacting with the instructors. Both men were short, stout, home grown hunters that knew their stuff when it came to hunting. After several questions, and the fact that none of the other participants asked questions, it seemed like a personal class with both men mostly teaching Nolan and I. Asher was trying his hardest to follow along with the fast pace, slightly country accent, and the jumping from book information to side stories.
On Sunday, we met and asked the Game Warden some questions and after a small review, took the 100 question test on gun safety. Both Nolan and I scored above 95 % and and Asher got the chance to retake the ones that he had missed. He and several other younger students had one of the instructors read them the questions and help them to understand what they were asking for. In the end, he got 99 % right.
The part that was really fun for me was what we did after taking the test. Ildi was to pick us up at 2:00, and we finished the test by 1:00, so we were going to be waiting there for an hour until she came. Some of the time was taken up by Asher retaking his test, and during that time, Nolan and I talked with one of the instructors. Come to find out, he was the Mayor of the village. When Asher was finished, we listened to stories they told about hunting, about the club, about growing up and living in the area, and a man even took Asher outside to show him how to shoot targets. One of the men gave me his number and said if I ever wanted to shoot a gun, I could call him and he would meet me at the club with one of his guns. Just a great big bunch of locals enjoying what they do and wanting to share their life (and stories :) with others.
Sunday night I picked up a hunting license for all three of us, and I also bought deer tags for the boys. The dear tags gives them permission to shoot the "bag limit" of deer for the year. For those of you who are not familiar with hunting . . .maybe you can sign up for the Hunter Safety Course so you will be in the know with terms like "bag limit." :)