This weekend, Paul introduced Hannah and I to target shooting with a 22 rifle. Although we live on 49 acres in the Maine woods, we haven’t had a rifle until recently. The repeated stalking of our chickens and ducks by the resident fox loosened my resolve on a gun free home.

Last week, the eerie wailing of coyotes woke Paul and I out of a sound sleep, hearts racing. They were as close as we’d ever heard them – just beyond the stand of trees out back separating the house from the wood lot. Who knows how many they were? Dozens in my wild imagination.

The next day, Paul had that rifle out of the box, put together, and tested. A former U.S. Marine (with the tattoos to prove it), Paul has extensive experience with guns, but until we moved to the country hadn’t felt the need to have one.

My father, a career Army officer, taught me how to shoot when I was about Hannah’s age, but that was a lot of years ago now. Paul set up a target out back. He walked us through the safety rules and the house rules regarding use of the rifle. Under his watchful eye Hannah shot two clips (six shots each) at 50′ and hit the target nine out of twelve times.

Hannah target shooting

I shot two clips, trying to figure out the best way to sight the target. Do I keep both eyes open? Do I squint at the sight with one eye closed? Do I wear my glasses or not? The results of my first attempt in thirty something years wasn’t too bad.

Susan's target shooting results

I’m not sure I could shoot fast enough or accurately enough to go for a moving fox with a chicken in his mouth. Or even have the nerve to do so. But I was pretty psyched with the strategy and skill involved in shooting at a target.

Then he told me the paper targets we used at 50′ were really designed for shooting at 50 yards. Burst my bubble entirely.