Play time

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All work and no play makes a homeowner grumpy.

I love to shoot and own a Remington 870 slide-action shotgun and in this mountain area there are plenty of places to pick off a few rounds.

Lucky for me, my son and his daughter as well as Paul’s longtime friends like to shoot and boy, do they have an arsenal!

We have found a few local shooting spots including Buffalo Creek and Harris Park Shooting Range. The Buffalo Creek location was closed due to the annual Christmas tree hunt that’s held each there each year so we drove another few miles to Harris Park.

The range is set up nicely with both short and long-range areas. There are shooting stands and benches and most of the trees around there are pretty torn up. Most people follow the rules: Cease fire calls, not shooting across your area to hit other people’s targets, not just picking up another person’s weapon, a minimum of profanity (lots of kids around) and a few other subtle rules.

I went with my son and his daughter and two of my son’s long-time friends (think grade-school buddies) and what a selection of firearms: We shot shotguns, handguns, rifles and 22-caliber pop-guns as my father called them. My granddaughter likes to shoot but is more content to watch a movie on my iPod, threading the earbuds under her pink Winchester ear protectors. She said she’s the only girl in her class that knows how to shoot but she doesn’t yet realize that is something special and she should be proud of it.

We had a great day enjoying the incredible scenery and the fun of trying to hit a target with a gun. We were out there all day until the sun went down and it got cold.

An expensive hobby is shooting. Guns aren’t cheap and there’s a large segment of Colorado’s population that won’t go near a gun since there’s been so much violence brought on by nutjobs with guns. This is different, though, and most people out there are just trying to better their aim for hunting season or trying to learn how to hit a target or skeet dead center. It’s harder than it looks!

I have a bit of a astigmatism is my left eye which requires me to compensate when I shoot. When I have a target in my sight I have to lower my aim by about 8 inches in order to be accurate. It’s a pain and glasses don’t make a difference. It’s something I’ll keep working on.

One place we didn’t get a chance to visit is the Buffalo Creek Shooting Club located at the old Camp Fickes near Bailey. If I remember my dad’s stories correctly, I trained there before shipping out to England during WWII.

I did a story on the camp as an “audition” for the HTT and they seemed to like it – they hired me. Here’s the link to the story on the HTT website: High Timber Times – Buffalo Creek-Camp Fickes but you’ll need a subscription to see it.

Here’s the link if you’re not interested in having a subscription to the paper and would rather read it on my blog: I Saw That! Camp Fickes

I hope to go back there to shoot this coming summer, guns at the ready.

My dad would be proud or maybe frustrated at my lack of shooting skill and growing up there were always guns laying around … on the kitchen table or on his workbench.

I have pictures of my dad as a very young man holding a rifle so it was something he grew up with, too. It never would have occurred to me to handle any of his guns, they were black, greasy and heavy and they held no appeal to me. He always kept guns in one place and ammo in another, a large handmade cabinet complete with an early 1960s Playboy pin-up hung on the inner door. A part-time King County Deputy Sheriff in Seattle, he loved his job and looked so incredibly handsome in his uniform, complete with sidearm.

I remember he did let me play with gunpowder. He’d let me pour out a line of gunpowder along the garage floor and at the end of that line, a big pile. I would get to light the powder and watch it burn down to the pile which would go off with a big bang. It didn’t help my mother’s nerves any.

I’m looking forward to going out again to target shoot. I don’t plan on killing any animals or doing any hunting but I love trying to master something. After all, I haven’t mastered home improvement … yet.

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