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Earning Your First Hunting Rifle


Do kids still work to earn things today?   I realize I force my kids to do certain chores if they want certain privileges and they have different tasks for either me or the neighbors to earn money for things they may want to buy.    My oldest son loaded farm products into customers’ vehicles at a local feed store to pay for his cell phone.   I get the feeling I’m a dying breed.  I get the feeling most kids just expect their parents to buy everything they want–and in many cases that’s how it goes today.  

The advertisement pictured here from the folks at Remington Arms reminded me of the story of my first deer rifle.    My dad owned a Remington Model 700 30-06.   I remember when he bought it at a now long closed store called "Allen’s" in Appalachia, Virginia.  He added to it a Redfield 3 x 12 scope which included the "widefield" package.   I remember holding it in my hands and thinking there couldn’t have been anything nicer in the universe. 

I wanted one of my own.  I’ll never forget my dad’s words.   "Save your money and buy one."  

I remember helping the neighbors bail hay, mowing cemeteries, feeding dogs, cutting grass, and raking leaves to scrape up the $350 it would cost me to buy it at a firearms store in Kingsport, Tennessee.  I was 18-years old and it was my first ever firearms purchase.   Until then, I had used an old hand-me-down lever-action Marlin 35Rem Caliber. 

I picked up the gun one afternoon and was like a kid on Christmas morning.   However, I had a new problem.   I had a fantastic rifle, but no scope.  Dad’s suggestion again still rings in my ears "Save your money."  

By now, the hay was done and the work would be hard to find.  So I again helped rake leaves, walked people’s dogs, and picked up aluminum along the highway and scrap steel from the creek bed to sell at a salvage yard to buy the Redfield Golden Five-Star scope. 

Since those days in 1988, I’ve killed many deer with my Remington 700.  It’s one of my most prized possessions.   It’s the only rifle I hunt with.   I realize there are plenty of deer rifles on the market. Which one is better is an argument which will never be truly settled.  There are too many factors none of us will ever completely agree on, not the lease of which is brand loyalty.

A new Model 700 today is going to be well beyond the $350 I labored for.  However, I’m not sure I would take $10,000 for it.   It’s my rifle. It’s the first big ticket item I ever owned.    I worked hard to earn it and it has served me well and it’s the only rifle I’ll ever hunt with.      I’m sure anybody who’s hunted for any length of time has a similar story.  Feel free to share yours in the comments section.


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