As a youngster I wanted a BB gun and a pony so badly I could have turned inside out. I never got either one.
My dad said an air gun was a dangerous toy that encouraged wild boys to ignore the basics of gun safety, marksmanship and respect for wildlife. He believed that any youth interested in arms and hunting should be taught properly with the real McCoy.
So, I did it his way, first with probably the hardest-kicking 12-gauge single-shot ever sold by Montgomery Ward and later with the most inaccurate single-shot .22 in the state. But I stuck with his line of thinking and managed to graduate with all my body parts and a healthy respect for anything that went "bang."
All this was recalled recently when a reader inquired about air gun safety.
If you want to see the potential of a target-quality air rifle, drop by the Stoney Creek Fishing and Hunting Club some Wednesday evening when the Winter Air Gun League shoots. The club is at 9090 Fort Smallwood Road, and you can obtain details about them and other club activities by calling (410) 255-2119.
For years I have shot air rifles and pistols in my garage and basement during the winter months. If you would like to do the same, I strongly urge you to contact the National Rifle Association at (800) 336-7402 for a free copy of its "Shooting for Safety" brochure. This is a superb guide to BB and pellet gun safety and contains directions on how to set up a home range and build a homemade BB or pellet trap.
DNR biologist honored
Edith Thompson, an urban wildlife biologist for the Department of Natural Resource's Wildlife Division, has received the National Institute for Urban Wildlife's "Distinguished Conservation Citation."
Thompson received the award for her conservation achievements as DNR urban wildlife project leader.
Among her accomplishments were the creation and successful implemention of a backyard wildlife habitat certification program called Wild Acres, the development of an urban wildlife demonstration trail at the DNR's Gwynnbrook facility, the initiation of a series of workshops for the development community and natural resources professionals called Natural Design in Development and the start of a wildlife viewing program for Maryland.
Safety courses scheduled
A boating safety course is scheduled to begin Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Annapolis High School. Call Ray Emrick at (410) 757-0856 for details and sign-up. If you cannot make this one, the next class will begin April 19, and if you call Anita Murray at (410) 757-4848, she can give you details.
Call Ed Brombnle at (410) 761-2089 to learn about the hunter safety course scheduled to start Feb. 15 at Fort Meade.