HOBART | Marcus May was born with a shotgun.
"The day I was born, my father gave me a shotgun," the 32-year-old Hammond Police corporal said. "I didn't get to use it until I was about 9 years old, but my father made sure I owned one.
"Where I grew up (Wexford, Ireland), hunting is a way of life, and part of that is learning how to use a shotgun at a young age."
For May, an avid gun collector, that first shotgun is his most prized possession.
"I don't use it anymore ... the gun is older that me," he said.
May is fond of another shotgun: a Beretta, which he used in the sport shooting events at the World Police and Fire Games held Aug. 1-10 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
For May, it was his first WPF Games, which is one of the biggest multinational and multisport events this side of the summer and winter Olympics. He was the lone competitor from a usually well-represented Hammond Police Department.
"The one word that comes to mind is 'humbling'," May said.
It was also overwhelming for May. Despite being born with a shotgun and returning to the island from where he was born, he proved to be little wet behind the ears during the first couple days of competition.
"I was over thinking," May said. "When you think too much, you miss."
Several senior shooters from the United States and Ireland offered May some advice to help him get refocused. May also confided with fellow Hammond officer Mike Danko, a multiple WPF gold medalist. Danko didn't make this trip across the Atlantic, but he was willing to pick up the phone for a series of long-distance calls.
"He was coaching me from 4,000 miles away," May said.
By the third day of competition, May's shooting improved. In the interim, he was picked up by an Irish squad to fill spots for several team events.
"That's where I won my silver medal, with the Irish team shooting sporting clays," May said. "It was during my final day of competition, and that's when it all came together for my best day of shooting.
"I didn't know until they were announcing the top team placings that I won a silver medal."
May's Irish team finished ahead of bronze medalist Australia and behind gold medalist Great Britain.
May said he was treated like a local hero after the event when he visited his hometown in Wexford. He returned to the U.S. on Aug. 25.
"I also got a lot of praise from the department when I got back," May said. "I'm definitely hooked. I see myself competing in the next games (2015 in Fairfax County, Va.) and those after that.
"Hopefully, the experience from this first one will help me win a gold medal some day."