My addiction with black powder started early, around eleven years old, after attending the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association Spring Shoot in Friendship, Indiana.
They say once it gets under your fingernails there is no turning back . . . I love the smell, the sound, the history. It is so much fun!
My father went there the year before with his friends and took the whole family the year after. My two brothers and I walked around in amazement and then declared to him that he was never allowed to go back again without us.
Some time after that my dad started building black powder rifles. Then one Christmas when I was about thirteen years old he surprised me with the ultimate present. The first black powder rifle that he built, a .45 percussion cap made out of tiger striped maple. It was, and still is beautiful thirty years later.
Now in today’s world where more and more woman are hunting this might not seem like a strange present, but it was thirty years ago. Most girls didn’t shoot. In fact, I don’t remember any woman shooting or hunting the entire time I grew up. My mom didn’t. I was entirely influenced by my Dad.
It was tradition, in my family to open our presents in front of our extended family at my grandmother’s house. I remember the shocked look on my cousins, uncles, and aunts’ faces. All of my girl cousins got clothes or dolls. I got a gun. I did not care what they thought. I was ecstatic.
The following year whitetail deer hunting season rolled around in my home state of Illinois. I told my father that I was going with my .45. Thirty years ago I was the only girl that I knew that wanted to go hunting. I was the odd ball out, but I didn’t care. I was determined. I endured a good amount of teasing from all of my dad’s friends. They loved teasing me as I was the only girl, but secretly I earned a lot of respect.
It forces you to wait. It requires you to only take good, well placed, humane shots. Yes, I know that all hunters should have the same goal no matter what they choose to shoot, but with black powder, you should adhere to this rule even more.