This is probably a question for the older guys here, but any opinions and thoughts will be welcome. Some of you will have been aware of my progress towards a deerstalking career and yesterday's success at DSC1 is a significant chunk about which I'm very happy.
The one small "fly in the ointment" is that my Mrs sees rifles as somewhat more dangerous than shotguns and is particularly concerned, given that she's 18-19 weeks pregnant with our first child, about all the issues surrounding having guns and children in the same house. The maternal force is strong in this one etc...
I'm therefore here to ask for advice on the subject and it would be great to hear any experiences you have, but - as I'm the first person in four generations in my family to hunt / shoot - it would be particularly helpful if any of you could offer some guidance in the following areas:
- General security issues - we can of course take maximum precautions in addition to those required legally (i.e. combination trigger locks, bolts removed from semis / rifles, O/U's stored in pieces in separate cabinets, ammunition locked up - are there others?) but how does anyone suggest that we achieve a general "warning away" from guns / equipment?
- Related to the above, I'm not of the opinion that we should be hiding it all away as though it were shameful, because like the alcohol cupboard or granny's cigarettes, kids will be most curious about what they're not allowed to see - but I realise that at the same time you have to protect them when they're too young to understand gun safety etc.
- How to deal with the times when the kids are playing in the garden and you need to drag a bleeding, gutted Fallow carcass past them into the garage? Or when you've got ten pigeons to breast and they've been out too long already? At what point do you start them off on the "if we eat meat, we have to kill it (but that's ok)" story and how do you progress it without either disturbing them at too young an age or leaving them hopelessly naïve too late and accidentally sending them off into vegetarianism because the shock is too great for them when they finally work it out?
- How do you deal with the "my daddy's got a gun and he'll shoot you" barb in the playground without armed police turning up to seize your guns and other parents ostracising you? Do you just have to hide it from the child so they can't do that, or tell them and explain why they can't say those things?
- How do you deal with - God forbid - the suicidally depressed teenager, in love for the first time and looking for a gun because they're unable to deal with it properly?
I realise that this isn't hugely urgent - the child is due in January - but since I'm about to go further down the deer stalking road, I need to address my Mrs's concerns now so that she can carry on being supportive (which she has so far - and I've appreciated that, in case she's reading this) rather than worried for the safety of our children and our relationships with friends / teachers / etc.
Thanks (on behalf of us both) for any advice you can offer,