Kind of a Long Shot

Melinda "Millie" K. Dooley
4 min readAug 27, 2021

Another soon-to-be-classic by Fred Dooley, inspired and edited by my outstanding self.

The old Remington’s polished stock was a beautiful burled walnut. It felt cool and smooth to the cheek, an oddly comforting sensation. The rifle was scratched and worn, but was built to work and to last, and had been kept clean, oiled, and dry. It was a model FS-S80, in .22/.50., a tiny projectile propelled by a big can of powder. It shot fast and flat, great for wide-open country, and for targets who weighed less than 200 pounds.

This time, the shot was about 100 yard. Not that far, relatively speaking. US Military snipers regularly made shots at many times that distance.

Photo by Kony on Unsplash

Then again, military gunners had the best weapons and training the US could provide, and many of them had grown up shooting. Not so for Al.

Al was grateful for Mom’s gift of a digital rangefinder. Mom was a golfer and the gadget that helps a golfer line up a long drive is a great tool for adjusting a telescopic sight for much more serious shooting.

As she was lining up the shot, Al smiled, thinking about the ROTC instructor her college roommate dated. The guy had invited his date, Al and two of their suitemates to a shooting range near their college in Alpine, Texas. He promised to “teach the ladies” to shoot.

Photo by Maxim Potkin on Unsplash

Turns out, Al was a natural. Steady hands, good eyes, strong body, careful listener, experienced in taking athletic coaching, well coordinated mind and body, and not goosy around loud noises. Plus, a killer instinct.

The ROTC guy was both very impressed and very pissed when Al began to outshoot him after 30 minutes of instruction and target practice.

Back to the business at hand. Pronghorns are North America’s only ice-age survivor. They are not antelope, which they resemble. They are the fastest animal on earth, after the cheetah, and once were nearly as prolific in North America as bison. Estimates are that when Europeans settlers arrived, 35 million pronghorns ranged this continent, from the Sonoran desert to the plains of Saskatchewan. By the 1890’s, when Teddy Roosevelt and friends…

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Melinda "Millie" K. Dooley

Ms. Melinda Dooley is a lifelong educator and enthusiastic biologist, and has earned her expertise the hard way.