​Hunter Safety 101

Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on July 29, 2022 # Lifestyle

Geoff and sonNot having grown up around hunting or guns in general, I don’t love them in the first place. However, without getting too political, I was happy when my husband Geoff was finally able to get into a hunter safety course with our twelve-year-old son Carver. When our daughter is old enough to take the course with Geoff, I’m sure he will take it again with her. Responsible gun ownership and safety measures are essential today--no matter our gender status, ability, race, socioeconomic background, political party etc.-- now more than ever due to the crazy mass shooting kind of world we are living in. Unfortunately, this is the reality of our world, and, sadly, the ones our children are growing up in and around.

Despite the fact that our family does not currently hunt, it was incredibly important to both of us that our children be trained to respect guns and understand the gravity of their power. To say Geoff and Carver loved their hunter safety experience would be an understatement. This two-day, 16-hour course captivated their interest-- even the book learning portion-- even indoors-- even on the first real weekend of summer when both my boys would prefer to be outside. There was even a written test, which they both passed after having helped one another study.

GeoffNow, I can’t picture Geoff hunting off in the woods by himself. I can’t really picture our son doing that either; in fact, our daughter will likely be the better shot given her recent sniper status during a vacation Nerf war. However, I can see them figuring out how to bow hunt or rifle hunt, bringing home a turkey or a deer, and eating whatever life ended. In fact, when our son was little, he would only eat fish that he himself had caught. Needless to say, for a long time, there was the biggest Scup EVER in our freezer that he ate for months, or at least that is what we told him. Then, there was that time he promised to bring his ski instructor a fish sandwich after having missed a day of skiing to go ice fishing. When we didn’t have quite enough fish for the family plus his ski coach, I baked off a frozen haddock filet from the grocery store and filled the ski coach in later so he could praise the lad for an amazing catch.

He is 12 now and still loves to fish, especially with his dad. We eat most of what they catch, but I do not love cleaning the fish when they come home. They do all the cleaning, but it is extra challenging from Geoff’s wheelchair, so everyone needs to be hosed down afterward, including the driveway. Then I lay in bed at night, waiting to hear bear claws on the porch, trying to figure out where that delicious fish smell is wafting into the forest from.

Where we live, bears, moose, and deer are plentiful. I have many students at the local high school who, many times, will hunt before the school day begins-- always at the appropriate season, of course, because they have learned from their families and hunter safety courses how to be responsible and do it right. We see bears on our ski slopes in the summer, sometimes in our yards at night. Moose and deer like to keep nighttime driving as interesting as possible. So that on the night before the last day of school, when Geoff suggested we sleep out in the treehouse with the kids, I rolled my eyes at the effort needed to make this summer dream come true. Whether we are tenting or sleeping on the floor of the treehouse on our own property, there is still geared to be gathered, used, cleaned up and put away. Three weeks later, the sleeping bags are still on our living room floor. But Geoff will smile and remind me of the summer memory made. We only get so many summer days and nights with our kids while they are these perfect ages, and, admittedly, he is right.

“Dad, should we bring the rifle out to the treehouse just in case there is a bear? Mom, it’s fine. I’ve passed my hunter safety course, and so has Dad,” using his best future 19-year-old cockiness.

“No,” I tell him, “We would rather take our chances with the bears,” and Geoff does not disagree. Happy Summer to all of you living in those places where seasons matter.

Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 12 and 11 respectively. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.

To learn more about hunting with a disability, check out the Reeve Foundation’s factsheet.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.