A little while back I spent an hour at the range helping a friend of mine mount a scope and get a rifle sighted in for his young son. Everything worked, and dad took the boy to Pennsylvania to hunt deer. As it turned out, they didn’t get one, but the father was nice enough to send me a photo of the kid in his stand, and the expression of joy on his face is unmistakable. I e-mailed my friend that whether or not his son goes on to be a serious hunter, that deer hunt will be pure gold for the rest of the boy’s life.

Small contributions like this can make a very big difference. If you are a hunter/shooter with some experience, there is a beginning hunter/shooter out there who can use your help. These are not easy sports to break into; there is an immense amount to learn. Questions lead to other questions, and the number of people who have the answers is shrinking.

Whatever I’ve gained from the shooting sports, I’ve gotten because someone invited me hunting, or gave me a pointer on how to shoot, or invited me into his shop to show me how guns work. I could never repay these people directly, but I’ve done so indirectly by trying to do for others what they did for me. You can do the same.

For 2012, help someone get started.

Have a Happy New Year.