Hunting Literacy By: Kiana Clark

There is way more to hunting than just going out and killing an animal. Hunting is literacy because you must know what you are doing when you go on a hunt. The first thing that comes to mind when you think "literacy" is the ability to read and write. Literacy is so much more than that. Being literate means that a person has knowledge about something no matter what it is. In this case, hunting is literacy because you must know how to use a gun, how to plan a hunt and know about certain habitats which ties into wildlife management as well.

Hunting is considered land based knowledge because you are out on public or private land. You have to know about the area such as terrain and habitat so you will be prepared and know what to expect for when you go out on a hunt. One way that hunting is land based is because animals live on the land in which people hunt. If there are problems on that property such as over population, then they will provide more tags for that specific animal to hunt. Another solution to control the land is farmers will allow people to hunt on their property so this will not be a problem. This ties into wildlife management because they have to keep the population under control to sustain a safe and healthy habitat for animals.

Some people think that it is good to see the number of animals increased, but it is not always a good thing. If a population becomes too immense, there can be issues on farmers property. Animals can cause damage to land such as eating crops and vegetation which can destroy them and rutting up ground, crops, brush, and soil.

Beavers can be a nuisance because if they become over populated in one area, they can dam up creeks and cause flooding to land.

Before anyone goes hunting, they must choose the proper rifle. The five rifles that people use are: Bolt action, Lever action, Break action, Semi automatic, and Pump action. You should know how to load and unload whichever gun you decide to use. Sometimes you hear about people going out hunting with a new gun or a different gun than they normally use and they don't know much about it. Then when it comes time to shoot, they don't know how to work the gun and they fumble around with it while their animal is getting away. This is one reason why any hunter or gun handler should get to know their gun.

Semi automatic, Break action, Lever action, Bolt action, Pump action (Top to bottom)

There are four gun rules that every hunter and gun handler should know. 1. Always keep your finger off the trigger and outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to fire. 2. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. 3. Always assume that a gun is loaded. 4. Know what lies beyond your target. People every year don't follow or even know these rules and it is the reason why thousands of people become injured and die every year.

Unless a person is ready to shoot at their target, they should never have their finger on the trigger. Some hunters think that this rule doesn't apply to them because they have to be ready to shoot. This isn't the case and it is why guns go off unintentionally. Every hunter should keep their finger outside the trigger guard and on the frame of the gun. This keeps it from potentially going off when you are not ready to fire.

Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. This is the most important gun rule because if there is always muzzle control, people wouldn't die from hunting accidents each year. If a gun is loaded and is pointing towards someone and it goes off, the results could be devastating. This rule also applies when a gun isn't loaded. Just because you have in your hands what you think is an unloaded gun doesn't mean that it shouldn't be pointed in a safe direction.

This is called the two handed carry and provides the best gun control.

Always assume a gun is loaded. Any person could mistake an unloaded gun for a loaded gun. Every hunter and person who picks up a gun should assume a it is loaded so they will automatically follow safety precautions, especially if someone hands you one. Just because your buddy hands you a gun and you think it is not loaded, check it anyway. It may be loaded in which they forgot about.

ALWAYS make sure the chamber is empty!

Know what lies beyond your target before you fire your gun. This also includes to never shoot uphill because it is unclear what is on the other side. What if a person pops up on top of the hill and you shoot and didn't see them? The results could be dreadful. This is also why all hunters should wear hunters orange while hunting big game. Many people beg to differ this. People every year are injured or killed because they don't wear their orange. They think that they have to be all camouflage so they won't be seen by other people and so they don't give away their hunting spot. Hunters orange is important so other hunters can see you and don't mistake you for game.

There are different rules about wearing hunters orange when hunting different animals. Waterfowl and upland bird hunting do not require a hunter to wear orange. Deer and elk require orange. This is because rifle round travel further than shotgun rounds and deer can't see orange versus ducks and upland birds can.

Hunting is a huge community throughout the world. Hunters are some of the most knowledgeable people out there and some of the nicest as well. They are always willing to help out when questions about hunting and guns occur. The hunting community helps sustain this kind of literacy because I am always learning about the different kinds of guns and how to use them as well as learning the history of the older guns that were used in past times. It is always fun to talk about everyone's hunting experiences and gun experiences within the community too.

Hunting literacy is relevant to every day life and academic life in many ways. Some think down on hunting because it is killing animals. Most people don't hunt to kill. It is to put meat in the freezer and provide food for yourself and family. It is a form of survival. It is relevant in academics because it is a way of survival in the world. I would much rather take a hunters education class and be taught hunting and gun safety than mathematics. If it came down to a situation and I had to survive on my own, I would be able to because I was taught to hunt. Math wouldn't help so much. It is also relevant to every day life because no matter where you go, who you see or who you know, someone is bound to have a gun. You are going to come across one at some point in your life and it is better to know how to handle one, be somewhat familiar with it and know the safety precautions to take rather than to have it potentially become a deadly situation because you didn't know how to check if it is loaded.

IHEAUSA. Ed. International Hunter Education Association. international hunter education association, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Graeber, NetzTransfer C. "Impact of Livestock on Soil." Impact of Livestock on Soil. A.P. Whitmore, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

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Kiana Clark
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