Roger Barbee:  Robert’s lesson on hunting

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2022

One of my favorite hunting stories is told by my friend Robert and it happened when he took his grandson for the first time on a yearly family visit to rural Kansas.

Robert took his oldest grandson to introduce him to his Kansas relatives. As imagined, much talk took place over bountiful meals and the young teenager was enjoying himself. Robert and some other males of the Kansas family had hunted prairie dogs in past summers to reduce any infection of the rodents, which was a nuisance for the farming family. Robert, a skilled hunter, was asked to help thin one of the coteries , and his grandson wanted to go on the hunt. Robert helped his grandson find a good location from which to see and shoot the rodents, and he took the rifle Robert handed him, but when Robert gave him a single bullet, the boy looked at it with surprise and asked was that all. Robert told him, “We’re shooting, not spraying. Now hunt!”

Following the massacre in Robb Elementary School, I have read the words of two elected officials defending the ownership of the AR-15 assault rifle. A senator from Louisiana justifies having such a rifle in his state because it is needed to shoot wild hogs. Now I know that a wild hog is a ferocious animal and even deadly, and I did a simple Google search for the best weapon to use to kill feral hogs. No list included the AR-15. As if that were not enough, a congressman from Colorado justified the ownership of AR-15s in his state because they were needed to kill raccoons that were killing local chickens. Once again, in a simple Google search for the best weapon to kill those pesky raccoons, no mention was made of an AR-15.

My searches showed some hunters who profess their preference for the AR-15 for a multitude of  reasons. However, the fact that the gun is designed and made to kill humans should outweigh anyone’s preference, especially when any hunter has a buffet of other choices for the killing.

My friend Robert’s lesson in giving his grandson one bullet was a powerful one telling his grandson that hunting was based on shooting; explaining the difference between shooting and spraying is one from which all hunters could benefit. Learn to shoot, then hunt and not butcher it on the hoof.

Roger Barbee lives in Mooresville. Contact him at