I have seen a lot of mention lately in the forums about the importance of hearing protection. Like most of the older guys here I'm starting to notice that I don't hear as well as I used to from years of shots fired while out hunting.
Although I have always used ear plugs of some sort while at the range I have never taken the time for them in the hunting field until last year. While most of us can't afford the fancy ones that actually amplify sound until the shot and then shut off to save your hearing, or want to take the time to compress and stuff the foam ones in when a game animal is present there is another option.
My whole family has started using the type of ear plugs attached to a hard plastic band that you can leave around your neck until needed. There are some rubber ones made for hunting and some similar ones for construction workers available.
The best ones I have found for hunting use are sold by bass pro shops and consist of a foam ball on each end of the band. They grip snugly around your neck when not in use so they will not catch on anything and once yuu get used to them you don't even notice they are there.
It only takes one second to grab them, pull them up and pop them in your ears. It is not a perfect seal when done quickly but makes a huge difference in the comfort and confidence of the shot.
It may not seem like a big deal when you are young but believe me you will wish you had done it when you get older.