Friday, October 2, 2009

Proper Training Is Important...!

When are kids too young to be trained for firearm usage? Maybe this story from the Houston Chronicle will change the way of thinking of a lot of people!

By CINDY HORSWELL Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

Sept. 30, 2009, 9:52PM

Michael Paulsen Chronicle

At age 5, Simon Hughes is no stranger to hunting. His first big trophy — a 12-foot-6, 800-pound alligator, may be hard to top, though.

There are hunters who go a lifetime dreaming of that big kill. Then there's Simon Hughes, who helped nab a beast of an animal on an East Texas hunt — while still in the first grade. The 5-year-old boy from Goodrich was part of a hunting crew that recently killed an 800-pound, 12-foot-6-inch alligator that has wildlife experts shaking their heads.

The reptile, whose size is at a state record level, is now at the taxidermist waiting to be mounted. Simon's family, meanwhile, is fielding calls from CNN and Good Morning America to feature his exploits.

Simon learned to drive all-terrain vehicles and shoot firearms when he was only 4. So he was primed and ready to go on an alligator hunt this past weekend with his father, Scott Hughes, a sixth-generation rancher, and hunting guide Chuck Cotton.

Simon had a new junior-sized .410-gauge shotgun. His first gun had been too big, having a recoil that opened a small cut below one eye after he fired it.

Neither his father nor mother worry about Simon using firearms, because he has been taught gun safety since he was big enough to walk and stand in a deer blind.

“That's the way it is in rural areas,” Scott Hughes said. “We don't think of guns as playthings or something used in videogames.”

By the time of the alligator hunt, Simon could shoot clay pigeons.

Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack, a former Texas Ranger, has been bird hunting with Simon and said he shoots pretty well for his age. “Of course, you always keep an eye on children,” said Hammack, “but he's learned a lot from his father.”

Scott had obtained a state permit to kill two of the 40 alligators populating his 5,000-acre spread near Lake Livingston because he knew something “real big was out there” and driving small alligators from the swampy areas and into his stock ponds.

State law requires alligators be caught on a baited hook or shot with a bow and arrow. So they baited a hook on Saturday with some “smelly armadillo roadkill,” which apparently alligators adore.

When they returned the next day, the line was taut. Something had been snared and was resting beneath the dark 4-foot-deep waters.

‘Never afraid for a second'

The hunters soon discovered their catch was an alligator. They attached it to an all-terrain vehicle with a sturdy line, but the gator proved so strong it almost dragged their vehicle into the water.

Finally, the animal, after thrashing and rolling, surfaced a second time, and Simon, poised 5 feet away, fired the first and what proved to be fatal shot. Cotton, just to be sure, fired one more shot at the giant reptile, which had managed to rip the hook out of its mouth.

Simon said he screamed “holy moly” when he saw the catch of the day. “I was never afraid for a second,” he said of the gator, which is 20 times his size.

Taxidermist Stephen Moye said the head of the 12-foot- 6-inch reptile weighs 104 pounds by itself.

A state wildlife biologist estimated the gator's weight at more than 800 pounds. Finding an alligator of such size is rare, state officials said. Although the record length for a Texas alligator exceeds Simon's kill by 1 foot and 8 inches, the record weight for a gator killed on state property is only 690 pounds, records showed.

Simon, meanwhile, has shown pictures of the gator to his classmates in Good­rich, near Lake Livingston, but that won't be nearly as impressive as when he can bring the mounted head to show-and-tell and display its ferocious 12-inch bite.

“My friends were proud of me, and I was proud of myself,” Simon said of the photos that show him standing alongside the monstrous gator. “It's humongous!”

If we are choosing sides, I want this kid and his Dad on my team, ya know? Just goes to show that, with proper training, firearms can be safely handled by very young kids, but they should be properly supervised just like his Dad says...!

Now , my friends, let's get some coffee and sit outside before the rain starts, OK?


Diane said...

Good Morning Mr. what an amazing story. I hope I can see a pic of this alligator someday and I agree with you 100%.
Enjoy your coffee!

Diane said...

oops...I meant a pic of the whole gator! Oh well.

HermitJim said...

Hey Diane...
That one picture is of the gator's head! Pretty amazing stuff, huh?

Not too shabby for a 5 year old!

Thanks for the visit...

Dragon said...

Atta boy.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dragon...
Good to hear that not all the young ones are getting brainwashed or re-educated, isn't it?

I think his Dad should get "Father of the Year"

Thanks for coming by today!

Anonymous said...

I guess I cant say any more, Im so hungry I could eat a gator. Too big!!

Anonymous said...

WOW!! just WOW!! That boy and his Dad deserve some real notoriety. Way to go Simon (One Shot)!!
Thanks HJ,

Anonymous said...

Good for the boy. I hope some animal rights activist doesn't sue him on behalf of the alligator!

Rae said...

I saw that on the news. Amazing!

JoJo said...

Good Morning my Special One, that is an amazing story. One big gator for such a little guy.

HermitJim said...

Hey Marc...
That gator would make a pretty big sandwich, I'm thinking! At 800 pounds overall, even his tail would have to make a pretty filling meal!

I'll bet that slows down the swimming in the stock ponds a bit...

Thanks for the visit, buddy!

Hey Jesse...
Goes to show that even a small .410 handled properly, can get the job done! Dad should be proud, for sure!

I sure am glad you could drop in today, my friend!

Hey Kris...
Sad, but very possible in this day and age! Some folks would just never understand the need for this type of weeding out of some critters.

Oh well, I guess it will give them something to do to feel important...and they probably need that!

Hey, I appreciate you coming by today!

Hey Rae...
I would feel a little safer if this family lived in my neighborhood! That's for sure!

Thanks for coming by, Rae!

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
Want to hire this kid as a bodyguard? Might be a good thing to have around in your travels, and would make a good summertime job for him!

Of course, at his age, you would probably have to bring his family along as well!

I'm pleased you could come over this morning, sweetie!

Felinae said...

Now that is impressive. Excellent job, Simon.:D

Have a great day!


HermitJim said...

Hey Felinae...
I'll bet that one or more parents show up for show and tell when he brings the gator's head to school!

Have to say, I'm impressed!

Hey, thanks for coming by, girl!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Well, I´m against most fire arms exept for those used in hunting. I also think one should be eighteen before being aloowed to have and use any kind of fire arms, but I have to say that I do admire that kid for being so cool and aim soo good!
Have a great day now!

Did it MY way said...

Morning Mr Hermit;
Wish that boy and his father lived in my neck of the woods.

Taught my son to shoot at the age of 6. Mighty pround of him today.

Wonder if a gator that big would be tough to eat? The 5-6' down here in Florida are mighty tastey.

See Ya

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
Here it is almost an imperative to have the youngsters trained in the use of firearms in any rural setting. On 5,000 acres of property, there will arise occasions that will require someone in the household using a firearm against some sort of predator.

In the city, it's a different thing. Rural areas come with a completely different set of priorities than city living...

Better to have them trained properly trained in the use, care, and respect of firearms just in case it becomes necessary for them to use them.

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Tony...
That tail on the gator looks to me to have a lot of meat on it!

I'll bet that someone will be giving it a try before long!

Thanks for coming by today, Tony!

Kyddryn said...

Wow, Mister Hermit, sir - that's a whole lot of kebabs!

I have prohibited the Evil Genius from use of/training in firearms because I don't use them myself and can't teach him properly. The only other options simply aren't responsible enough, in my opinion, to be trusted with what I deem very necessary education and he'll have to wait a little longer until I can find someone I trust or have the dosh to take him to the local firing range.

I HAVE taught him the house rules regarding firearms,'s not much, but it's a start.

Honestly, guns give me the willies - I understand their usefulness, even their necessity in some instances...but they just make it too easy to take a life. Killing, be it for food or defense, should require thought, should take more effort.

I understand I'm an odd one, though...and I won't stand in the way of his learning, once I know he'll be taught to use firearms with respect, and care for them properly.

Shade and Sweetwater,

HermitJim said...

Hey K...
The use of fire arms is a choice that each and everyone has to make for themselves, for sure. Although guns are nothing more than tools, like anything else they can be used for all the wrong reasons.

Teaching safety with them should be paramount in some cases, just in case one of his friends just happens to show up with daddy's gun some day to show it off, ya know?

So many disasters could be prevented if children learned respect and proper use of guns...even if there aren't any around the house.

Thank you so much, my friend, for dropping by today!