Friday, December 21, 2012

He Never Read Ruark

Or he'd have known better:

GAINESVILLE — A man hunting coyotes near Gainesville is being treated at the hospital after a shooting accident.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report says 61-year-old Norberto Mondilio Quinones-Caseres was airlifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville on Tuesday. He told wildlife officials he was climbing over a fence when his gun discharged and a bullet hit him in the abdomen.

I'll take the liberty and guess that the man, with his Hispanic name (and probably heritage) has never read Robert Ruark's classic book The Old Man and the Boy, or he'd have known not to climb a fence with a gun in his hand:

The Old Man put on his hat and whistled for Frank and Sandy. We walked out back of the house where the tame covey was. It was a nice November day, with the sun warm and the breeze not too stiff, and still some gold and red left in the leaves. We came to a fence, a low barbed-wire fence, and I climbed it, holding the gun high up with one hand and gripping the fence post with the other. I was halfway over when the barbed wire sort of caught in the crotch of my pants and the Old Man hollered.

"Whoa!" the Old Man said. "Now, ain't you a silly sight, stuck on a bob-wire fence with a gun waving around in the breeze and one foot in the air and the other foot on a piece of limber wire?"

"I guess I am, at that," I said.

"I"m going to be pretty naggy at you for a while," the Old Man said. "When you do it wrong, I'm going to call you. I know you haven't loaded the gun yet, and that no matter what happens nobody is going to get shot because you decide to climb a fence with a gun in your hand. But if you make a habit out of it, some day you'll climb one with the loads in the gun and your foot'll slip and the trigger'll catch in the bob-wire and the gun'll go off and shoot you or me or somebody else, and then it'll be too late to be sorry.

"There's a lot of fences around woods and fields," he said. "You'll be crossing fences for the rest of your life. You might as well start now to do it right. When you climb a fence, you lay the gun on the ground, under the fence, with the safety on, ten foot away from where you intend to cross the fence. You got the muzzle sticking in the opposite direction from where you're going. After you've crossed the fence you go back and pick up the gun, and look at it to see if the safety is still on. You make a habit of this, too. It don't cost nothing to look once in a while and see if the safety is on."

It's a damned shame that the book is semi-forgotten now, as is Ruark. A lot of good lessons on gun safety and wilderness skills in Ruark's books.

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