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Special Advice for the Left-Handed Outdoorsman

By: Jeff LaRue

I was 12 years old, and that Christmas, Santa brought me a Savage Bolt Action 20 gauge with a two-round magazine and a screw-on choke. It was righthanded, of course, and it didn't make any difference. I became very proficient with that shotgun, and I learned how to run the bolt really fast with my right hand. Dove, quail, and rabbits didn't know which hand I was using.

Forty years ago, left-handed guns were about as common as a Bigfoot, a unicorn, and an honest politician sitting at the same table. Today, the selection of guns that eject on the opposite side is a lot better and cheaper, but they still cost an average of at least $100.00 more than a standard model. A cautionary tale of purchasing lefthanded firearms: In trying to buy, sell, or trade one, it will cost more, and the only people interested would be 10 percent of the population.

The thing about lefties is that we learn to adapt, since, for the most part, we’re not afforded a choice. Case in point, the M16A1: when firing in the prone position, expended brass would often roll down your BDU top interrupting your sight picture. One of the improvements of the M16A2 was a brass deflector.

What to Buy?

AR-15s and AR10s work for southpaws because they have the ability to be ambidextrous. Bolt actions and semi-auto rifles and shotguns with a little practice can be run efficiently, accurately, and just as competently as the other 90% of people. Single shots rifles, shotguns, and black powder, as well as most semi-auto pistols and revolvers are either hand compatible.

Fishing as a Lefty

Fishing and fishing equipment are way more ambidextrous. Poles, spinning, casting, and most importantly spinning reels are either-hand user friendly.

The current madness brings us to fishing. I am not talking catch and release or for fun, but about water to frying pan. To the best of my knowledge there is not a run on fishing equipment, like there is on Charmin or 9mm. Your local sporting goods store is a good place to start. Look for a medium-length pole – 6ft with 8 to 10 pound test, already loaded with line. It should cost you around $30 to $40.00.

Make sure to get a small tackle box, too. They make combo kits with hooks, bobbers, stringer, a crappie spinner and grub kit. Throw in a fishing license, and you’re ready to catch dinner. The internet will show you how to clean your catch, plus recipes on how to cook it.

There are too many types of bait to name, so I will stick with nightcrawlers for this article. Convenience stores and Walmart carry them. A good thing to know while we endure travel bans is that you can dig them up, or catch with a flashlight (It’s a real thing and not a snipe hunt!) Worms will catch almost anything that swims.

Follow your local fish and game rules on catch limits, undersize, oversize, and too many. Those rules are there to protect the fishery, and so your neighbor can catch dinner for his or her family, too. Take your kids with you. Put a pole in their hand. You might catch supper, and the relaxing sport will take your mind off the current craziness.

Make no mistake, a fishing pole will not replace a AR-15 and the ammo it takes to feed a gun, but a fishing pole can feed you and your family, and in this current situation, it may be a hell of a thing.

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