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hunters went for the bobs, The quail hunting was at best only fair because of a long drought, but all the students got some shooting. Later, a deer hunt produced no deer for the bag, but hunters did see plenty of doe, on which there was no open season. For most of them, it was their first deer hunt.
The deer hunt was followed by an evening coon hunt. This was more of a social gathering than anything else, but the class enjoyed it. Most of them stayed out until midnight, listening to the hounds run.
The students really went for the skeet shooting under the expert guidance of Jim Dee, Fred Missildine, and Les Webb. They wanted to shoot, and the clay birds gave them plenty of targets. With professionals to help them, the students quickly caught on to the fast-moving "pigeons." There were no impressive scores, but some of the beginners broke 12 and 15 out of 25, which is plenty good for novices.
A banquet was held for the students and instructors on the final night of the course. It was strictly informal, as was the entire course. Prizes were given to the top skeet shooters in each squad, and the students were given certificates showing they had completed the prescribed course.
The course will be held again next December. They expect that the attendance will about double. If it does, then the hunting short course will be an annual offering. Package cost for the course was $175.00. This included everything except personal expenses, hunting licenses, and ammunition. Starnes expects the costs next winter to be about the same.
What did the course prove? First of all, it proved that there are people anxious to learn more about hunting and shooting. One-third of these pupils signed on at shooting preserves as soon as the course ended, eager for more hunting. It proved that these people will go great distances to get good instruction. It showed that the students were willing to devote 12 to 16 hours a day to learning more about wildlife and hunting.
Since this was the first course held, no one knew exactly what to expect. All of the students were enthusiastic about it. Some will be back next December to repeat it. Here, as elsewhere, the course proved that the public will go for a hunting short course, and undoubtedly other universities will soon be offering similar opportunities. The course introduced clay target shooting and four types of hunting to a new group, thereby adding to the ranks of gun sportsmen. It gave the students a thorough grounding in firearms handling, thereby promoting safety. And most of the students went away with a better understanding of wildlife management than the average hunter grasps in a lifetime.
The students went home with a desire to do more clay target shooting and hunting. They now have confidence in themselves and know they will improve. And one of the most important things is that they all had a good time. And isn't that what shooting is supposed to be?
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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.