I grew up in a urban area and if it weren't for a maternal grandfather would have never enjoyed the introduction to hunting including several red setters and a English Springer. My first deer hunting experience was less then ideal. My father grew up in the rural South, spoke of his hunting experiences growing up, but, never hunted and owned only one firearm a German 8mm Mauser. After he died a few years ago we kinda understood this WW 2 vet and his thinking after discovering a diary and various ribbons/medals in a small box. I told my dad I wanted to borrow the old bbl pitted 8mm bolt action Mauser to go deer hunting. Local Gun Store had a few shells, bought them and headed for the UP of Michigan where I eventually found a good women who ran a trap line, shot a rifle and drove a jeep. Invited to her house to go deer hunting with her family. My future father-in-law eyed the beat up old Mauser and suggested I at least shoot it before going in the woods. Fired it once and we went to a deer stand the next morning. There about an hour when I saw a deer walk out to the apple pile and start to eat . It had a small (very small forkhorn) I fired one shot and it went down. I ran up to the deer and tried to shoot him again, shooting as I ran around in circles and missing him each time. Finaly last shot hit the deer in the head. My future mother-in-law heard the ruckus and came out to my stand. She said we have to gut the deer. Did I have a knife, showed her a small folding jackknife, she took the knife and gutted the deer. Together we dragged it out of the woods, maybe about a 1/8 of a mile from the house. We hung it in a tree. My future father-in-law and future brother-in-law came back from their deer camp deerless. Showed them the deer the greenhorn had shot with the German Mauser,both shook their head and went back to the house. I have that forkhorn horns mounted and they are above my door in the cabin we own not far from where I shot him. I donot have the Mauser gave it back to my Dad and from there don't know where it went. It possibly may have killed a few soldiers and a deer. There were more then a few deer killed with a gun and bow many years after. My deer hunting mentor would become my father-in-law and my grandfather my bird hunting mentor.. My dog retriever training mentor by high school teacher. You just never know where these roads will take you.
My dad was a gunsmith and he made a little kid size single shot .22 for my brother and I to learn to shoot with. I started shooting it when I was 4. I would get so mad at the guys at the rifle range when they would take my rifle and hold it in one hand like a pistol and shoot it My favorite gun memory was Christmas when I was 13. My parents always gave us one large present and several smaller things. I hadn't received any larger gift so I thought maybe something was wrong. Then my dad pulled out a box from under the couch. It was a custom .30-06 that he made for me. He modified the action to left handed for me since I am a south paw. He had worked on it late at night and very early in the morning since his shop was in our basement and he didn't want me to see it when he was working on it. He was going to do a custom checkering job on it when I got a little older but unfortunately he didn't live that long I did a lot of hunting with that rifle, bagging antelope, whitetail, mule deer, elk, and moose. I still have both these guns, and several more.