I told you the story of my friend Don who left his beloved shotgun leaning against a tree near my house after a day’s hunt. He was in quite a state when he called me.

On another occasion I remember following a car with a shotgun laying across the trunk. This would be an example of two hunters who spent a long evening trying to correct a mistake that can have very bad consequences.

Every year people lose firearms. How can this be prevented?

A collector of firearms should have adequate insurance even though it can be difficult to get. This does require one to keep accurate records. Not too long ago a friend of mine lost his large collection to a house fire. It was insured but not totally. It is expensive and as gun collectors tend to trade, buy and sell their guns, it is tricky to do.

Guns are stolen every day. There was a case in the Observer-Reporter on Thursday. There are some things you can do if you haven’t done so already. While complete protection is impossible, you can try to keep accurate records. Records should contain the make, model and serial number as well as identifying or unique engraving. Note if the barrel is original, which is why the serial number is on the action side not on the barrel.

Guns are rebarreled every day. Pictures should be taken with a good digital camera so you can read these numbers and see the details. The information can be stored in a computer or on paper if it is in a safe place. As the information changes when you sell or trade a gun, you must change the record. Here lies the problem. An example of good recording might look like this: Winchester Model 70 30-06 24 inch original barrel serial number G850165 bought 2010 paid $1,000.00 value $1,150.00 This value will change as the gun ages. Generally, gun values go up and that’s why people like to collect. Rifles and shotguns represent an investment and should be taken care of.

I know of three serious collectors, who own more than a hundred guns. That makes a lot of money invested. It is important they are protected.

The information with the photo should be kept together, even if it’s a handwritten copy in a notebook. A three-ring binder works. Never store the information with the gun unless it’s in a safe that is locked, or you could be helping the thief.

Handguns are the easiest thing to lose or steal. They are in cars and people tend to leave them out in the glass case. Handguns should be treated the same way except it needs to be stated if they are revolvers or auto loaded, stainless or carbon steel and barrel length. This all helps for identification. Usually, the serial number for handgun is located on the crane or the frame. Remember to frequently check your handgun population to ensure nothing is missing

Some people forget to record the other items, like binoculars. I include binoculars especially because good glass is expensive. I note my major items like scopes with the gun they are on, but if I have a good scope laying around, I will record it here. Note the power and the value. If you ever get robbed this could help you remember what you own.

I have decided to visit my files and check on a new gun I just purchased to be sure it was added. This is one place where it pays to be honest about the price or value of the gun. Record keeping might not be your favorite or mine, but it should be done.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. If you have a subscription, please Log In.