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Baby steps with a tenderfoot: a look through the eyes of a beginner into the world of hunting and shooting.

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By Sarah Smith Barnum, NRA Women’s Outlook

Since my entry into the outdoor industry back in 2011, I’ve been attempting to overcome a steep learning curve. I am constantly surrounded by experts of their trade, and having never handled a gun or gone hunting before I started working at and as an assistant web editor, I’ve got a long way to go before anyone will be coming to me for advice.

hunted deer for the first time in the fall of 2011, and turkeys the following spring. Without getting into all the thoughts and feelings that I felt during and after those experiences (because that would be a novel not a blog post), I have never been more happy than in those moments—even the failures were blissful ones. I have to say that I have been blessed with all of the people I’ve worked with and met thus far in my career, because I wouldn’t know anything if it weren’t for them.

I didn’t get to hunt this past fall because I was in the middle of moving to Virginia to work at NRA headquarters, but luckily I’m going on a turkey hunt this May—so stay tuned for that! Hopefully this time around I’ll actually get to fill that turkey tag.

When it comes to guns, the only exposure I’ve had are the few shotguns and rifles I’ve practiced shooting and used on my hunts, and then a Smith & Wesson 9 mm and AR-15 at a self-defense event I attended, hosted by Winchester Ammunition. To say I’m a novice is a very accurate description. I’m less uncomfortable around guns and handling them than I used to be, and will no doubt become more comfortable now that I’m here.

For other beginners, feel free to share your woes with me because I’m probably experiencing the same thing. And if you’ve been hunting and shooting since you were a kid, please, share any tips or stories you’ve got! I am a sponge for knowledge. I’ll soon be sharing my experiences of the pistol introduction course, as I take baby-steps towards buying my first gun and eventually getting a concealed carry permit.


Congrats on your new job Sarah! To visit the NEW NRA site dedicated to women please click here


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