No, really, Phillip: Don't read it. Go away.
Is he gone now? Whew. OK. Now I can say it:
I shot like crap today.
The reason Phillip - a.k.a. Mr. Hog Blog - can't read this is I'm going pig hunting with him and the guys from Hunting with Jim next weekend. Yes, I'm doing my first-ever hog hunt - my first ever big-game hunt - with the the proprietors of not just one, but two hunting blogs. And all these guys carry video cameras.
I must be insane.
We just settled on the date this week, so I thought to myself, Holy cow! I'd better get to the shooting range and practice!
I've shot Boyfriend's .270 a few times and done pretty well with it, so I figured I just needed a little cramming between now and next Friday.
Honestly, I should've been practicing a lot more this spring. I actually penciled in, oh, at least four or five hog hunts since duck season ended. But life's been busy, and I've turned around and canceled them every time, and with them, I've postponed practice.
I did go to the range once during Spring Break with some former students, under the worst conditions: I hadn't eaten all day and I was shaky and somehow chugging a Dr. Pepper and cramming a Snickers bar down my throat didn't help things. Nonetheless, I did pretty well. I needed to adjust the sights, but I had a nice, tight grouping in the black on the target. And I came away with this nice photo, because the guy on the right - Andrew - is a photographer and doesn't mind putting his camera that close to flying casings.
Today was much better. I was relaxed. I ate before I went to the range. I'm happy - no more grading for three months! I was ready to polish my shooting so I could look extra impressive for Phillip, Crazy Jim and his videographer, John.
I decided to shoot a box of cartridges in three rounds: seven, seven and six. I put my nice Shoot-N-C patch on the target so I could see that burst of yellow where the bullet punches through, then returned to my station and fired off the first seven shots at a leisurely pace. Nice and relaxed.
The only problem was I wasn't seeing any yellow. What the hell?
So when the ceasefire began, I walked out to survey the damage. I snapped a picture with my cell phone and called Boyfriend. Honey! I said. I'm shooting like the bad guys in an action movie! I'm hitting everything but the target!
For the most part, I was shooting consistently high, but I didn't know how to adjust the sights - not my gun! - so he recommended aiming lower for the time being.
I went back to my station, got a Diet Coke out of the machine and prepared to blast some imaginary pigs. I was the only chick at the range this afternoon, and I really needed to not "shoot like a girl."
I loaded a cartridge, aimed low but on center, and pulled the trigger.
Yes! Yellow, at last. Die, pig! Insert cartridge and repeat six times...
I covered the holes with black stickers and walked back to my station, tormented by visions of bad shots, bullets flying over pigs' heads so ineffectually that the pigs wouldn't even bother to run away, and all of it captured on video and webcast to the world.
What was I doing wrong?
I knew I was holding the gun steady, but I had the feeling I was flinching as I was pulling the trigger, because this gun kicks like Jackie Chan. For Round Three, I would have to try very hard to pretend that I wasn't about to get punched with 130 grains of woo ha!
As I was walking back, I saw a dad come in with his young daughter, mabye 10 or 12 years old, and set up near my station.
Ordinarily, my first thought would be, Wow, that's great! Today, though, I thought, Good thing I'm done, because I'd hate to humiliate myself in front of a little girl. As I got closer to them, I rolled up my target to hide my shamefully random bouquet of bullet holes.
If I shoot pigs like this, it's gonna look like a sloppy mob hit.
Good thing school's out, because I'll be going back a few times before Phillip and I hit the road for Pig Country. If only my students knew the pathetic fact that professors cram too. Let's just hope that I rally as well as they always seem to do.
© Holly A. Heyser 2008