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Back in the Day | The Shooting Bench

Christmas is over, and the kinfolks have all gone back home but we still have another week before we have to go back to school! What do we do with all that time in the middle of the winter? Well, I’ll tell you what we did back in the day…

Back in the day, before X-box, cell phones, electronic tablets and earbuds, we went outside. Regardless of weather, sometimes whether we liked it or not, we went outside. After the animals were fed and after breakfast (in that order), we usually went huntin’. Rabbits, ducks, geese and sometimes varmints, like coyotes, foxes, bobcats. If we were lucky, we might stumble upon a beaver.

Back in the day, one didn’t need licenses for most of these critters and the few that you did were available over-the-counter and they were cheap. Back in the day, huntin’ was a way of life. We always ate what we killed unless it was some varmint. I didn’t know anyone that didn’t hunt. I didn’t know anyone’s mama that minded fixing what we killed for dinner, providing we cleaned it properly and got it all ready. 

Back in the day, getting a gun was so much easier. No forms, no background checks. You just told the guy behind the counter, “I’ll take that one!”, handed him some cash and went on your way. There were practically zero mass shootings and the term “anti-gun” was pretty much a foreign term to us. Most kids I knew got their first real gun when they were about 9 or 10 years old. Some of the city kids didn’t get theirs ‘til they were 12, maybe even 16 years old. The rest of us really didn’t understand that. I got my first rifle for my 9th birthday. That was almost 60 years ago and I still have it today! 

After we had proven ourselves, usually within that same year, most of us were allowed to go out by ourselves, unsupervised, and see if we could bring back some furry or feathered groceries. 

We’ve lost many of the freedoms we enjoyed back in the day, mostly due to politics, but partly due to a dramatic shift in society. It’s really quite heartbreaking to see how these kids today are missing out on SO much! Yes, they can do things with electronic devices that we would have never figured out, but I’m talking about life skills. I know men today that are in their 30’s that can’t do a great many of things that we took for granted way back when. You know what?  I think we’ll discuss that a little more in depth here on The Shooting Bench real soon!

Op-ed by Cope Reynolds.

Picture of Cope Reynolds in 1969, near Farmington, NM.

Reynolds is a professional firearms, survival and preparedness instructor, he is also running for Apache County Sheriff in 2024 . You can read his bio here www.swsablog.com

Email editor@mountaindailystar.com if you want to submit an op-ed or letter to the editor.

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