I found this clip under “Hilarious Turkey Hunt” on YouTube. Maybe I’m stuffy, but I’d have called it: “How Not to Start Kids Shooting.”

Fortunately this kid kills the turkey with the shot that rolls him over backward, so he has a positive, if painful, hunting experience. Never mind that he’s wearing pants the color of a turkey’s head, or that he picks up the flopping bird while pointing his gun at his Dad, who wisely runs out of the frame.

Obviously, the boy has been given way too much gun and he may be on his way to developing a lifelong flinch. Other kids get .410s, which very frustrating guns to hit anything with. My own first gun was a 12 gauge A-5, but then I didn’t hunt until I was 21 years old, so I was too big for it to knock me over..

I started my own kids with 20 gauge 1100 Youth Models when they were 11 or 12. The 20 gauge 1100s are very soft shooters and great guns for kids to learn with. When target shooting and hunting we used only light loads and were very careful always to wear hearing protection. Even so my older son started closing both eyes when he pulled the trigger in anticipation of the muzzle blast and recoil after a while.

We had to take a break from shooting, then start back up with air rifles and .22s before he could keep his eyes open. He and his brother are both happy shooters today. If I had it to do again, though, I might go with cheaper, lighter youth pump guns and shoot slow, 3/ 4 ounce reloads to keep recoil down.

I’m curious to know how all of you started. Since you grew up to read a blog called “the Gun Nut” it’s fair to assume that your fathers did something right when they taught you to shoot.