I Didn’t Believe Her



Alison and Daniel in the blind.

When my beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, animal-loving nine-year-old daughter informed me she wanted to go deer hunting, I didn’t believe her. But, I should have. She meant what she said and was persistent in trying to convince me she was ready. After two years of her pleading, Alison got her wish the day before Thanksgiving of 2015.


I don’t sugar coat life for Alison, and discussing hunting was no different. She quickly learned it would be her responsibility to make a good kill shot so the animal wouldn’t suffer. She would be the one pulling the trigger, taking the life. She would have to experience every detail after that shot: tracking, cleaning, cooking and finally the anticipated end result- the gratification of a field-to-fork meal.


Tyler Payne teaching Alison what to look for when tracking.


She’s excited about tracking, there’s some lung tissue!

My husband, Daniel (Alison’s step-dad), prepped her for her first hunt. They practiced shooting positions, dry-fired the rifle, zeroed together, and discussed the anatomy of deer. Daniel tested her shooting ability to determine at what distance Alison could successfully shoot. Alison was consistently making hits on an 8 inch steel plate out to 200 yards from multiple shooting positions. She was confident behind the gun.

I was stressed leading up to the hunt; this was a new kind of worry for me. Maybe I was the one who was not ready. Instant panic rushed through my body when my husband texted saying, “You are not going to believe this!! She got one.” I texted back with questions- no answer. I tried to call- no answer. Immediately, I was scared she would regret her decision. I worried she was crying and I couldn’t hug her. This is one of those defining moments in a child’s life; I hoped the moment she was living was a positive one.


It didn’t go far, but she was thrilled to find it.

Forty-nine minutes after that initial text, Alison called me with her story. “Hello? Momma, can you hear me?” As soon as I heard her voice, I knew she was okay. I could hear her smiling through the phone. She proceeded to tell me about how she “made a good shot, right through the heart.” She was beyond excited. She was proud; I was proud. My little girl did exactly what she set out to do, and she has provided us with many meals thanks to her success. Her comprehension and accomplishment has given me a new outlook on what “my little girl” can do. Go forth and conquer, Alison.


Dan makes success happen.


Big thanks to Tyler for letting Alison hunt on his land!

The details:
Date: November 25th, 2015
Location: Marion Co., Georgia
Rifle used: The same unicorn gun I used for my first hunt. It’s a Surgeon action, with a PROOF Research barrel, chambered in 30 AS, in a Remington Lightweight RACS chassis, and a Leupold VX-R firedot scope.
The deer: A 7-point buck that happened to turn broadside at a little over 50 yards away (lucky, right?!).



Alison’s no newbie around firearms, she spends a lot of time on the range and got her first rifle when she was six years old.


3-Gun Nation Ladies Pro Series Qualifier


Last weekend I competed for my chance into the 3-Gun Nation Ladies Pro Series.  There was a bit of deja vu as far as stages are concerned- but that’s a good thing.  Long story short, I made the cut and I’m honored to have the chance to shoot the fast-paced pro series.


Who finished first?!  Katie Harris, of the US Army Marksmanship Unit, of course!  Katie is a good friend and a phenomenal shooter whose success is due to her unsurpassed skill.  Some shooters are successful thanks to experience.  Katie is different; there is something intrinsically unique about her competitive edge.  Junior shooter, Ashley Rheuark, attained second place.  Ashley is fairly new to 3-gun, but is a very accomplished pistol shooter with a master shooting resume.  I remember watching her shoot at a local match and thinking “She’ll be on top of this game in no time.”  And here she is, a force to be reckoned with.  I was very pleased with my 3rd place finish, being competitive against national champions, is a blessed position to be in.


Photo credit: Reanna Kadic

Now let me tell you about Reanna Kadic.  Reanna is a junior shooter (16 years young), and is an absolute delight to be around.  Her bubbly, happy-to-be-living-life-to-the-fullest personality exudes grace and confidence.  She has not been competing for long, but I expect to see great things from her in the future.  Reanna’s dad was with her; his supportive attitude was remarkable.  Their day consisted of a lot of “I’m proud of you,” “Good job,” and critique that was extremely positive.  The best part of my day was bearing witness to their strong bond.  Parenting done right.


Here are a few tips from mistakes I made at the 3-Gun Nation Qualifer:

  1. Wear sunblock, or you will feel physically drained by mid-day.  I often give this advice, but rarely listen.  I will no longer be stubborn about this.
  2. If you forget something in your stage plan, don’t slow down trying to figure out what is missing.  Slowing down will definitely not help you.  I forgot my mag change on stage 2 and when I missed it, I knew something was wrong but couldn’t figure it out in the moment.
  3. Don’t dwell on that last bad shot.  Think about the one you’re about to take, it’s more important.
  4. Treat every stage with the same amount of importance.  I didn’t give the walk through on my final stage as much attention as I did the others.  I missed an important position because of it.

What did I do right?  Several things, but here are a few:

  1. Didn’t get stressed.  Refer to this article for info on how I deal with nerves:  Have No Fear
  2. Visualized what every single shot should look like for each intended target before shooting the stage.
  3. Shot with both eyes open for the whole match.  Seriously, this is a big deal for me, cause I previously continued to revert back to my bad habit of closing my left eye.
  4. Reloaded my magazines immediately after shooting a stage.  This helped with focusing on the next stage at hand.

Photo credit: 3-Gun Nation

So what does all this 3-Gun Nation stuff mean?  3-Gun Nation (3GN) is an organization that promotes our Second Amendment right through competitive shooting events.  The Pro Series is a tv show where competitors have to first make the cut to compete and then will compete against each other on the tv show.  In addition to the Pro Series, 3GN holds Regional matches that attract new and experienced shooters.  If shooters do well at the Regional or Club (matches held by local shooting ranges) series, they gain an invite to the Pro Series.  The Pro Series is the quintessence of “run and gun,” there is no room for error in this high-speed environment.  The Regional Series matches consist of longer stages and further shots, these matches are a great place to learn the sport and also to contend for titles.

Please leave any questions in the comment area below.

Upcoming 3-Gun Nation Regional matches:



In order of finish, here are the Ladies who will be competing in the 3-Gun Nation Ladies Pro Series:

Katie Harris

Ashley Rheuark

Candice Horner

Audra Brown

Kellie Prince

Reanna Kadic

Tennille Chidester

Returning Pro Ladies are:

Lena Miculek

Kay Miculek

Dianna Liedorff Muller

Randi Rogers

Becky Yackley