College Courses In Hunting And Gun Handling Promote Safety Recruit New Shooters

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At "school with a difference," Fred Missildine, noted shot-gunner, coaches pupil pointing gun at No. 8 skeet station.

LAST DECEMBER, men and women from eight

J states attended a course in adult education offered by North Carolina State College at Southern Pines. Nothing unusual about that? No, but this was a college course with a difference. The "tools" were not books and pencils; they were guns. For this was a course in hunting and gun handling, taught by hunters and shooters of wide experience and even professional stature. And few teachers ever had more enthusiastic pupils.

This was not the first time that an institution of higher learning has recognized gun sports as part of their adult education program. Years ago, the University of New Mexico included a similar course in its extension curriculum. Wherever tried, these courses have been well attended, enthusiastically received by the people who enrolled in them, and lauded by conservation departments and leaders in safety promotion. If the college nearest you doesn't offer a course in hunting and gun handling, why not promote it? It will work, too, as an intra- or extra-curricular course in any high school.

The North Carolina course included experienced hunters and shooters, as well as complete novices. Oddly enough, this seems to be a pattern. The first New Mexico class included a gunsmith, an experienced competitive rifle shooter, and a former Alaska biggame guide. Experts as well as novices acclaimed the courses. Hunting and the gun skills are subjects about which no man ever "knows it all," and there's always something to be learned from discussion and practice.

A varied group showed up for firearms instruction the day the North Carolina course opened. There were Pearson Wells of Center Cross, Virginia, 75 years of age; Dr. Willard Rainey of Princeton, New Jersey, with his son, Willard Rainey, Jr., of Greensboro, N. C.; Mr. and Mrs. George Candler of Sarasota, Florida, and others from near and far. J. H. Klasen of Rochester, New York, had never hunted before, but he shot a ringneck pheasant on the third day of the school. Other pupils testified to shooting experience ranging from a little to a lot, but all admitted that they learned.

Student Hal Emmons from Detroit cheelcs Model 12 pump in simulated field shot from skeet "high house." North Carolina State College instructor checks gun angle.

Dick Wolters brought family from New York City to take hunting course. With coach Missildine he waits as dogs "Duke" and "Rex" point.

Rex brings in the bird. Big pointer is part of "staff" of River Bend Ranch game farm where shooting students follow theory with practice.

Hal Emmons is justly proud of pheasant. Detroiter had never hunted afield before, was one of four complete novices who took N. C. State hunting course and got adult education diploma plus game.

On the opening day of the school, the students were given lectures on firearms and ammunition. Fred Missildine, member of the professional all-American skeet team for the past 11 years, checked the group out on ammunition. Les Webb of Richmond, Virginia, field man for an arms and ammunition manufacturer, gave a thorough demonstration in types of firearms. Jim Dee, director of the shooting promotion program for the Sportsmen's Service Bureau of New York, worked with the group on safety. But the instructors were wise enough to know that the students wanted action and, as soon as the group had been grounded in safety, they were taken out for their first shotgun shooting.

fn an opening in the pine woods, clay targets were thrown with a handtrap for three hours. Students were taught safety, proper stance, how to mount and train a gun on moving targets.

The second day, the class started actual hunting. Half of the group went quail hunting with local guides, and the others went to River Bend Ranch at Vass, N.C., a pheasant shooting preserve. Fletcher Nicks, manager of River Bend Ranch, divided the pheasant hunters into two groups. Those who had hunting and shooting experience were sent on woods trips. The inexperienced hunters were guided by the author in open fields. River Bend Ranch, like any well-managed shooting preserve, has tough-hunting areas and hunting where the birds flush in open fields.

Of the party of five that I guided that first morning, only one had ever shot a flying bird. The first few pheasants that flushed gave the students a bad case of pheasant fever. There was a lot of shooting—all of it safely done, but bloodless. The big advantage of shooting preserves is that there is always plenty of game, so the students knew they would get more chances and didn't let the misses bother them.

Harold Emmons, Detroit, Michigan, was the first to connect with a pheasant. Our big pointer, Rex, retrieved him beautifully and I don't know who was prouder, Rex or Hal. Hal had hunted deer in Michigan for many years, but this was his first ringneck.

After Hal knocked down the first bird, the others gained confidence. They slowed their shooting. At first, they had been rushing their shots. They saw now that they had enough time. They got their cheeks down on the stocks and started scoring. By the middle of the morning they begain to get too good. Maybe three hunters would cut loose at a big cock pheasant, and all would connect. I couldn't tell who was actually hitting the birds. So we took turns, with only one or two hunters shooting, so I would know who was hitting and who needed correction.

Of the four complete beginners to wing shooting, all killed at least one bird by himself. Some, like Hal Emmons, killed three. We came out of the field at noon with 17 pheasants. Not bad for a group of novices. The clay target shooting the day before had paid off.

The afternoon sessions were devoted to lectures by Dr. Fred Barkalow, head of the zoology department at N.C. State. Although the students had shooting on their minds, Dr. Barkalow's talks on wildlife management got complete attention. Dr. Barkalow discussed deer herd management, predator control, food and cover planting, managing wild turkeys, quail problems, importing exotics, and many other topics of importance to hunters.

During the evenings, movies were shown on waterfowl and exhibition shooting. Despite the fact that the students had put in four or five hours in the field, other long hours at afternoon lectures and other activities, they usually stayed up until midnight discussing hunting and shooting.

On the third day, those who had hunted quail went for pheasants, and the pheasant (Continued on page 46)

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Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

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Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.

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