My Name is Gerry McCann and here is the story of how I took up hunting and shooting sports. I never grew up in a household with firearms however as long as I’ve known my husband he has loved to hunt and has owned firearms. After we were married he encouraged me to shoot and hunt with him. Like many other women my one thought was on the poor animal. However Chuck (my husband) showed me an article on the importance of hunting for conservation complete with pictures of animals suffering because of over population. So I thought what the heck I’d give it a try once – with the thought I’d probably never do it again. We hunted ducks and geese and then went on to hunting white tail deer. That was over 30 years ago and no one was more surprised than I was that I’d enjoy the experience and would continue to hunt. I might add at this point that one of my sisters also hunts and very much enjoys it. One of the perks now is that my son and grandson also hunt with us. I get to spend quality time with all 3 of the important men in my life. We have an awesome time not only hunting and enjoying the sounds and sight of nature but also having end gate picnics while discussing and re-living these same sights and sounds and the eventual success of our hunt for that day. I wouldn’t trade these special times for anything, or the memories we have of our times together! I have another grandson coming up and I look forward to watching him get his first deer as well. We have hunted with other friends, unfortunately none of them women. All of them have been very accepting of having me along. On one occasion I did have to let one group know I wasn’t only there for an extra deer tag or to push bush!! Although I did take my turn too.
I have also started hunting with a muzzle loader in the fall. Nothing quite compares to sitting in a stand or by a tree watching the animals prepare for a long winter. We’ve had animals come in to us that are close enough to touch – what a sight and experience that is. If you sit very quietly they will continue to eat or go about their business. What a thrill.
We have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. All of them have grown up with firearms a part of their lives. They learned to respect them and when they were old enough learned how to use them safely. Although our two daughters and two grand-daughters do not hunt or shoot they don’t feel in the least intimidated or fearfull of guns because of the proper respect they have been taught and the safe handling training their dad (grand-dad) insisted they get.
A couple of years ago my husband started talking about the sport of cowboy action shooting. I went out to the gun club with him the first Sunday he tried it and the rest is history as they say. I was invited to give it a try as well and although I had never shot a pistol before I was assured by the other people there that no one was there to judge my shooting. Since then I have come to enjoy this sport as much or more than my husband. The other members of the club are very helpful. They are always eager to help or lend a firearm to any new comers. Never have I ever felt that they were judging my shooting or me. When they can they have always been encouraging. I’m fortunate that there are a couple of other women who love the sport in our club as well. Part of the enjoyment is the friendships we have formed with the other members of the club. In the winter we meet regularly to stay in touch and some of us go to the indoor range and practice with our handguns for the upcoming outdoor cowboy action season. My husband is very supportive and has purchased and registered to me a couple of firearms! For me when I get something new and shiny it isn’t diamonds but a new firearm! Also son and grandson also participate and come out to shoots so again it has also become a family outing. Another perk is we get to play dress-up, what a lot of fun that is at our age!
Since becoming involved in the sport of Wild West shooting I have applied for and gotten my restricted FAC and have also become a certified SASS range officer. My CAS alias is Granny Oakley. I picked that name because my oldest grandson always called me Granny Oakley when we were hunting and it just seemed appropriate to use it for my alias. I think it is important for women to do those things so they can own their own fire-arms and also so they can be there to encourage other women to shoot and become involved in a sport that can be exciting as well as challenging. Maybe some of the unnecessary fear of firearms and of the unknown would also be alleviated. Most of the men that know I hunt and participate in shooting comment on how they wish their wives would give it a try as well. My husband and I spend many happy hours together sharing a sport we both love – one that we can share with good friends and other family members. We have travelled to shoots in Alberta as well to other shoots in Sask where we have made many new friends. My hope is that more women will come out and participate in this wonderful sport.
I’ve learned that when my husband invites me to try out a new gun or a new sport that involves firearms not to say, “I’ll try it but I won’t like it” and lucky for me he keeps asking and he keeps me supplied with firearms and bullets to put in them!
Ginger Lee Kelley