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To hunt in the state of Texas, if you were born within the last 30 years, you need to have passed an approved hunter education class and carry the proof with you. Unless you pay $10 for a one year deferral, like I did last year. Unfortunately that deferral is a once in a lifetime thing so this past weekend, in preparation for the coming hunting season, I spent 10 hours of my life in a conference room at a Bass Pro Shop listening to two TPW instructors indoctrinate the newest wave of Lone Star hunters. And it turns out they were the biggest Fudds in the world and made no bones about it . . .

Let me back up a second here. The term “Fudd” is derived, of course, from the Elmer Fudd, the hunter in the Looney Tunes cartoons. And in Pennsylvania, it’s used to describe a certain kind of person. Specifically, one who believes the only purpose for firearms is hunting, that the only acceptable type of rifle is the kind their pappy gave them in the 1960s (and that all others should be illegal) and is generally intolerant of change. In other words, a crotchety old fart.

Perfect example from back in Pennsylvania: I was with my shooting team at a state game lands range (which used to be free) sighting in our AR-15 rifles for a coming 3-gun match. It was just us, and an older gentleman who was hoovering up all the brass from the range and putting it in a bag to take home. We were being perfectly safe, following all of the rules, and even being downright courteous to the old man who was picking up our brass the second it hit the ground. But no more than five minutes after he left the police arrived, saying they got a tip that people were shooting machine guns and destroying the range.

That, my friends, was a Fudd. He called the police because he didn’t like the way our guns looked and wanted to get us arrested.

When I walked into the hunter education course, I was expecting a certain level of professionalism from the instructors. Whatever their biases were, I was expecting them to put them aside and teach the state approved materials, giving this very young crowd of brand new hunters the best possible introduction to hunting and firearms they could get. Instead, what I got was a pair of old men who inserted their own opinions on everything ranging from gun control to hunting regulations at every opportunity and spared no chance to editorialize on the state of the law and how they thought it should be.

The best example of this was when they were talking about the new laws for the year. Specifically, the legalization of hunting game animals (like deer) with silencers. Not three seconds after the instructor had finished reading the letter of the law, he launched into a rant about how silencers would make hunting more dangerous and how they should be banned, despite the evidence to the contrary being printed immediately below the law in our books. Just like the worst Brady Campaigner, he spouted predictions of (human) blood on the streets (or in the woods) and danger for hunters everywhere. And he wouldn’t listen to any arguments to the contrary.

Even better: they believed that the legalization of hunting with silencers was a conspiracy by the gun control advocates to somehow get all hunting with firearms banned in Texas.

Also predictably Fudd-like was their belief that “assault rifles” were not “hunting rifles” and their use was destroying hunting. They wanted hunting to be exactly like it was when they were kids and out with their fathers. That meant using an old .30-30 lever action rifle and peep sights instead of these modern “assault rifles” with their scopes. They couldn’t see past that reality to the possibility that a new generation using the latest equipment was bringing more hunters into the sport and expanding it for future generations. All they knew was that these new rifles were scary, change was bad and they were having none of it.

I have no problem with people having opinions that differ from my own. They have every right to be wrong, including that pesky First Amendment right to speak about their beliefs. But when someone is teaching a class that’s sponsored by the state — and with a clearly defined curriculum — I expect them to follow that curriculum and keep their personal beliefs separate out of what they’re teaching.

This was a class where a good 50% of the people were under the age of 15, were being exposed to firearms for the first time and were learning the information from people whose title was “Master Instructor.” And instead of teaching the state-approved materials (which included nothing whatsoever on gun control or politics), the instructors decided to broadcast their own biases to the class to try and keep hunting the way it was in by-gone days. They were über-Fudds. And that’s something I’m not OK with.

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      • Nick, you should’ve complained to Bass Pro about it. They sell those scary black rifles, yanno. I’m sure they wouldn’t like to hear about these instructors pissing all over a product they sell.

        • This is why Gander Mountain and their high tech ranges should get our Dollars and NOT Bass Pro. I agree with Leghorn, teach the material, don’t pollute young minds with your dribble!

        • Chad,
          I just paid my $15 at Gander Tmn. and my course was nothing like that. Plus we got to spend some time in their virtual simulator. It was awesome, the convience store scenarios rocked.At Gander they teach you how to survive a DGU and how to bag a whitetail in the same class.

      • On the cultural wars front, I just noticed something at my local WalMart that I find to be encouraging. They are now selling, in their sporting goods area, EEEVIL “assault weapons” (as Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi call them). They had a couple of Sig-Sauer .223 “Patrol Rifles”, complete with 30-round magazine, Picatinny rail, flash hider, black plastic stock with the “black thing that goes up” [aka pistol grip], and other bells and whistles. They also had three AR-lookalike .22LR rifles. They were advertising these as “Modern Sports Rifles”, and had many accessories for them. Price was around $1100 on the Sigs.

        I find this to be pretty significant in the “culture wars “. As a major, nation-wide retailer, WalMart’s decision to stock and sell “modern sports rifles” that give the libs hissy fits is a pretty good indicator that 30 years of anti-gun demonization ia not working.

        Yes, this is a WalMart in a medium-sized, conservative town in one of the most conservaative states [Idaho], but it is still a pretty interesting development. Has anyone else seen this in their local Wally World in other states?

        Side note: I still buy my guns from my local gun store – I prefer to support the local folks who have been selling ARs for the last 30 years, and who know how to fix a gun when it breaks.

        • I.P., I was in Morgan Hill Kentucky in june and they had 6 “ebr’s” unneutered and ranging in price fromm about 700 tp about 1200 bucks. As I live in Calofornia I didn’t get the particulars on brand names as it would have been just wishfull thinking on my part.

          My wife retires in another 4 years and then I hope to be able to move to Free America.

        • Funny thing is back when I was a kid and WallyWorlds were in the boonies – they all sold long guns and pistols. They also sold several ‘assault weapons’ pre-Brady.

          They never stopped with rifles in much of the midwest, though pistols migrated to the catalog, before disappearing.

        • In California depending on county Wal-Mart has a self imposed a ban on selling certain firearms and in some cases, none. In Alameda county you will not find any firearm related products in their stores. This is because of threats to shut down the stores from the local governments.

        • Same for Western WA: I’m looking at a new walmart flyer: “Hunting low prices? We’ve got them here.” A mini 14 sans extended mag on front cover with 12ga and 2 bolt guns.
          Turn to page 2: a colt m4, sig m400srp, dpms sportical, a 12ga pistol gripped plus two .22 semi autos, two pumps, 2 bolts.

        • My Wal-Mart in Maryland has a decent amount of ammo they keep in stock but there weapons are all the traditional long rifles and I was there just last night. It has to be depent on the state and the dept manager.


  1. There’s some in every group.

    This is why I always stress that there’s a stark difference between a “firearms enthusiast” and a “gun rights advocate.” Just as there’s a stark difference between the latter and a hunter. We can’t call everyone who owns a gun an ally. One does not need to support a guaranteed right in order to selfishly make use of it. Tyrants love to talk, doesn’t mean they support free speech.

  2. I have no problem with people having opinions that differ from my own.

    Right, but I have a problem with people who have their own facts — especially when I’m paying for the privilege of ignoring listening to the bloviating gasbags.

  3. If the 15 yo crowd in the room is like teen agers elsewhere the fudds words went in one ear and out the other. My own father, who I respect and admire, was dead set against pistols. I own a safe full of them.

    I agree that they should have stuck to the course material but I doubt they did any real damage to any budding gun lovers in the room.

    • JWM, Good point.
      My own father was a WWII Pacific War & Korean War Veteran and had some serious PTSD issues that were never admitted too or treated. As such my father did not much care for the 4th of July fireworks especially the big one launched by mortars. Because of this my father had an aversion for guns. And had no desire to hunt because he never wanted to kill anything again. However when as a young boy I first began to show an interest and natural talent in Archery and then an interest firearms. My father put aside his own feelings and encouraged me to pursue my natural talents with weapons. When he judged I was old enough he turned me over to a couple of his close friends and my uncles to begin learning how to handle rifles and later pistols. He also had me take firearms lessons in the Boy Scouts.
      He was very proud of me when as an adult I did well in Military competitions. And because of his encouragement I am certain that by becoming a firearms instructor in the military I’ve helped many service members to not come home in body bags, including myself.

      • As a lifetime gun owner I also had a period of doubt when I came home from the service. For a time I would not even touch a gun. But I put that behind me and I use guns of all types now. However, I haven’t been hunting again and since I’m now a vegetarian I doubt I ever will.

        I have no problems with people hunting and propose no restrictions on others who wish to do so. My son is taking up hunting and I gave him an old 30-30 to help him along.

  4. Nick,
    Did you share your thoughts with these people or management. These people need to be corrected. It would be great if you included their names and location so people know not to put up with this.

    Also, I have been hunting since I was five in Texas and was born in 1976. I’ve never gotten the hunter safety course, and every time I go, I worry about it until first light. Can you verify if since I am 36 I don’t need it?

    • Short answer yes, long answer depends on where you hunt and how you process your meat. I was in the same boat untill I won a TPWS lottery hunt this year for whitetail. $15 for the raffle, $80 to claim your spot and $15 for Mt hunter safety course. All in all $110 for a guided hunt with 80% success rate, not bad.

  5. By the way, I have some hilarious stories from the hunter safety class I attended down here in FL due to a similar requirement.

    One kid admitted to petting and then shooting a tame deer that walked up to him during deer season when we were having a discussion on hunter ethics.

    I have like three or four more outrageous stories. Fun facepalming times.

  6. Wow i would write BassPro Shops. just let them know the instructors deviated from their course materials and it could affect their sales at the store! That should get their attention!

  7. Nick, you weren’t up at Warwick PA where you met that Fudd? We’ve had similar issues with people there accusing us of loading up clips, shooting more than 3 at a time from one gun.

    As to the class, I would see about complaining to the right person and maybe the old farts can retire to their fishing camp somewhere.

    • I shot in PA once, near Mecanicsburg. This lady kept hovering over all the brass, really aggressive like. It was rather obvious to me that she did not appreciate my picking up my own brass… When my buddy was shooting (my reloads) I had to put myself in the right spot to pick my brass, lest she run off with it.
      Am I off in thinking that at most ranges, people will ask you first if you don’t mind if they pick up your brass, and certainly wouldn’t take offense at a “no”.

  8. Nick,
    I would write a professional letter to the head of the applicable Texas authority with a copy to the CEO of Bass Pro Shops. In the letter I would detail your experience and ask them to confirm whether this class met their intentions–thereby prompting the need for a response to you. Obviously, keep the term “Fudds” to yourself.

    In my experience, letter-writing to the top of an organization yields results.

    Good luck!

    • +1 I was going to suggest the same thing. If these two were giving a course with specific state-provided materials and then attempting to contradict those materials, it’s worth the higher-ups knowing.

  9. Well hopefully the parents (at least one) was there, and saw it, or will hear about it later, and hopefully THE PARENTS will be the one that teaches what is right and what is wrong with guns, or with any other subject for that matter.

    And as an adult… well you’re free to form our own opinions.

  10. Bitching to us won’t get Bass Pro Shops to stop employing idiots. Particularly when you don’t name said idiots or the store.

  11. Same reason I didn’t take my wife to the 1hr Cabela’s Intro to Handguns. I don’t need some FUDD telling her why wheel guns are the only way to go. 1911s are ok if you knew Mr Browning like his father did (though his father was a better gunsmith) and these new fangled plastic guns are garbage.
    Disclaimers: Walked by one of these classes and it was a Fudd saying he only owns revolvers – made up the rest. I also own a Glock 19. Ended up signing her up for the FL CCW class and was great!

    Seriously Nick, write Bass Pro. We work we their corporate office at my job and they would not like to hear it. They are passionate outdoorsmen and I can’t imagine them liking these guys not welcoming a younger generation into the club.

    • and the generation or two behind you will be wishing for the same for you. BTW, not all baby boomers are Fudds. Most of the Fudds I know are way out ahead of us boomers. And there’s still a lot of those around. Besides, get used to it. I have a good 20-30 years left in me.

      • As a baby boomer who only owns plastic pistols and scary black long guns, I must say that I’m VERY CONCERNED about these damn laser and uber nuclear pistols you space cowboys are carrying these days.

    • Why is it this slug can wish death on an entire generation but when I suggest something rude in return my comment vanishes in the filter?

    • Another whiner blaming his life’s failings on other. Aren’t your parents amongst those baby boomers you’re wishing would die? Or are you one of thos “I didn’t ask to be born” weasels? Grow up.

    • What the HELL do “Baby Boomers” have to do with this? My first “black rifle” was a Colt SP-1 AR15, purchased at a local discount store in 1976.
      Damn kids…………………………………..

  12. “All they knew was that these new rifles were scary, change was bad and they were having none of it.”

    But … Change IS bad.

    Plus, hunting with a 30-30 builds character. 😉

  13. A good instructor knows how to either
    (a) keep his opinions to him or her-self or
    (b) if he can’t do that, at least limit his editorializing to a minimum, and make it clear when he’s taking of his “according to the curriculum hat” and putting on his “opinion hat.”

  14. “… And instead of teaching the state-approved materials (which included nothing whatsoever on gun control or politics), the instructors decided to broadcast their own biases to the class to try and keep hunting the way it was in by-gone days. They were über-Fudds. And that’s something I’m not OK with.”

    I totally agree with your entire article, especially this last part.

    My question to you Nick, if you are not OK with this, what are you doing / going to do about it?

  15. As these were Texas instructors, you need to file a complaint with the Fish and Wildlife Div. They run the education training and will take appropriate steps in either disciplining or removing these two. As a former instructor I was monitored by the Fish and Wildlife Div. in VT. At any given time there could be someone in class from F&W. We didn’t know who they were, but when they came down on an instructor, it was never good.

    We were not paid to do these classes. So as a result the men and women that did instuct wanted to be there for a meriad of reasons. Whether it was the promotion of the hunting sports, or as in my case, just to insure that when someone passed the course, they were going to be a safe hunter.

    Our courses were one week in duration,with a writen test at the end, that had to passed with a 75 or better. In my time as an instructor, I failed a certain amount of individuals. It could have been for the test, or for not being able to show me proper firearm handling technique. If you look at VT., it has one of the lowest hunting accident averages in the nation. I am proud to have been an instructor, and, in the knowledge that what we did, we did because we cared, not for money.

  16. I’d be happy to lecture those two Fudds that they aren’t really hunters since they don’t chase after game using spears and clubs.

  17. I can see an insrtuctor offering an opinion if asked about the suitability of a certain firearm for a certain situation but to condemn an entire class of weapon because of its method of operation is just ignorant. The same with suppressors. Maybe some of the fudds should think of the hunter safety aspect. Like not ending up stone deaf like a lot of the old farts you meet at the range. I dont know anybody that wears ear plugs while theyre hunting.

  18. Is this like high school or college, where if you argue with the instructors using factual information to explain your position, and end up with everyone understanding that you are right and the instructor is wrong…

    You somehow fail the class and don’t get your money back?

  19. Thanks for the warning – I do plan to (hunt and) attend a hunter safety class. Now I know to avoid Bass Pro. Of course, I already knew to avoid them in a general sense, now I have another reason.

  20. At least in Texas you have a choice to use a Fudd approved weapon vs something that looks scary. In Pennsylvania, you can’t even use a semi-auto rifle of any sort because of the Fudds at the Game Commission. You can’t even use a 10/22 to shoot squirrels.

  21. And this is why I use a voice recorder everywhere. Record the whole day. Burn to a CD at home. Mail CD to the state instructor certification department, with details on time/date/place/names. Post on Youtube. Send to Tom Gresham. Fight disinformation with information.

    • This may get you in trouble in jurisdictions where all parties need to consent to being recorded.

      Calling out a Fudd isn’t worth a felony wiretapping charge.

  22. Friends and I shoot about weekly at a wildlife management area range, free to holders of a state use permit or hunting license. Since there is no supervision we always take the time to fill the uneducated in on proper range safety rules, offer help when asked, and when appropriate offer newbies the opportunity to shoot firearms they might not have encountered before. One long standing rule we have is you NEVER police someone else’s brass without asking permission first. If that older gentleman you mentioned did not then he was committing theft and should have been called on it. Would love to have him at our range. We have several class 3 dealers in the area so you often hear automatic weapons firing there. Likely he’d have himself a coronary.

  23. I think I know who that brass scrounger is! One time I’m standing on the 25 yard line of a PA gamelands range, and I have this strange sensation of something going on between my legs. I take my eyes off the target, look down, and – So help me! – here is this guy’s head and shoulders between my legs as he reaches to pick up the expended brass at my feet! When I said, ‘Do you mind!’ His only reply was, ‘Well, I knew you didn’t reload; so I thought I’d pick it up.’ (Guess what? I reload; or, at least, I did at the time!)

    If you think your Texas hunting class was annoying, you should have been with my wife and I when we took the Florida LTCF course. It was conducted by a retired Florida police detective who had one of the filthiest mouths I’ve ever had the displeasure to listen to. Throughout the course he frequently expressed himself with the crudest forms of obscenity. When it came time for us to be fingerprinted his helper badly smudged the prints; and, when I pointed this out to him, he opined, ‘They’ll be OK.’ (They weren’t; and our permits were held up for an extra month while I called all over the county for an agency to retake our prints.)

    When permit renewal time rolled around again the state of Florida sent us their brand spanking new and thoroughly revised 25 + page form for our permit renewals. (You wouldn’t believe the mandated technicalities and questions; and, FOR SOMEONE WHO ALREADY HAD A FLORIDA CARRY PERMIT FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS!) I looked at that mountain of paper garbage, laughed to myself, and mailed all of it back to the Florida Bureau of Licensing with a nice note telling them what I thought they could do with their new revised paperwork.

    Just last week a line shooter on a PA gamelands firing range began jumping up and down when he realized that several of us were walking behind the firing line while carrying holstered sidearms. My buddy got a lecture about how he was breaking the law; and, when this Fudd started in on me, I politely told him that the commission rule was against carrying a LOADED FIREARM IN HAND behind the firing line; and, THIS, none of us were doing!

    The guy didn’t believe me; so I used a marvelous modern invention to prove him wrong: I reached into my pocket, took out my amazing cell phone, dialed the State Game Commission office, and put the dispatcher on the speaker phone while I asked him to clarify the Commission rules. That shut the Fudd right up, and gave everyone a good laugh. (Amazing thing, cell phones!)

  24. Living in PA for the last 30 years, and also having been a member of a couple of different gun clubs, I have met many “Fudds” over the years. We had one Fudd at a club that felt if you fired more than one round a minute, you were “blasting away at the range”. He was a benchrest shooter, and for him, each pull of the trigger was followed by writing down in his log, the wind conditions for the shot, the time of day, angle of the sun, etc. He just couldn’t/wouldn’t understand any other style of shooting. We had a group of Fudds that got all alarmed at the possibility that the club was starting IPSC shooting. “Who the heck are you lawn commandos training to kill?” and similar comments rained down on those of us that wanted to do something beside “bullseye” shooting. Same thing with Bowling Pin matches. I’ve been away from the clubs since before the 3-gun thing became popular, I can only imagine the furor over that. My point I guess is that these old Fudd farts are stuck in their rut. It took ’em 40 or 50 years to dig that rut, and now they are comfortable in it, and not willing to move out of it easily.

  25. The Utah test has a question to which the correct answer is, basically never practice drawing and firing a pistol from the holster. Because you do that all the time when you’re hunting, right? And no self-respecting defense instructor would ever teach that. Cuz it’s just wrong.

  26. Hey nick, had the same class same day, but over here in Plano at an archery range.

    Had the complete opposite experience as you. Old guy was only in his late 40’s and promoted legal hunting of all sorts. He never put down any guns, or promoted any. Only thing he pontificated on was anti-gunners / anti-hunters trying to shut down gun ownership and hunting in texas and to not flaunt your kills by propping up a deer head on your hood. Oh and he metaphorically slapped around the M-S media.

    I would definitely report your instructors. They’re there to promote safe hunting, all the “this is what you hunt with” should be saved for after the class if people want to chat.

  27. “I have no problem with people having opinions that differ from my own.”

    That’s what conservatives claim until someone has an opinion that differs from their own. Then they are called “libtards”, “Fudds”, {enter childish name}.

    I am a dying breed. The last moderate Republican in my great state of Texas. People like you and your posters have ruined this state for us. We used to be distinguished and thought-provoking; we were going to take conservative ideals and show the nation how it’s done, but instead of more H.W. Bush moderation, we got W. Bush idiocracy. We got more childish morons instead of professionals. We got more government-haters that have more in common with Al-Qaeda than with true democracy. We even got an even bigger idiot Governor that spewed the idea of secession – words that are disgraceful and treasonous to this old veteran’s ears.

    So continue with your whining about how the government is evil. Continue with your childish words. Continue to polarize this country until we hate each other to death. Keep on crapping on the American values I once knew. What difference does it makes anymore I guess? Hunting, in a way, is a reflection of America’s values and those old crotchety men as you called them weren’t really rallying on about silencers and assault weapons if you’d bother to really listen. They were likely just giving you commentary on how the values of this country have been usurped. We are no longer happy with the 870’s and 30-30’s that have sustained many a young family. No, the NRA has purged all the sportsman in favor of the salesmen that tell you that you can’t be a man unless you have that ultimate state of the art 5.56 and kills so many animals that you’ll be throwing away leftovers.
    The values of this country are dying, sir. To be a real man, trade your ego for some humility and have the courage to defend it at the next gun show. Good luck.


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