Why the Shooting Sports?
The shooting sports, hunting and target shooting, are among the safest sports to participate in. They are far safer than most other outdoor sports, particularly the contact sports.
In the U.S. shooting sports have been green for most of a century. Hunters must learn everything about the animals they pursue and the environment they live in. It was hunters and fishermen who, in the 1930s, started the environmental movement in the U.S. And we put our money where our mouth is.
In 1936 we petitioned Congress to pass the Pittman-Robertson bill. Every time we purchase a firearm, ammunition, bows and arrows, and fishing rods and reels, we pay a ten or eleven percent excise tax. That money is distributed to states, and provides a major portion of the funding for state wildlife agencies. Then we purchase hunting licenses, and pay other fees to hunt, providing more wildlife funding. We also pay lease fees that enable landowners to leave land in its natural state. Finally, hunting organizations like Ducks unlimited raise funds to directly purchase land for animal habitats.
Almost anyone can participate in shooting sports. To start with, they’re co-ed. In U.S. shooting competitions up to the national level men and women shoot the same firearms from the same positions at the same targets, and the high score takes home the trophy.
Shooting is also a lifetime sport. Folks in their eighties win shooting trophies, and the 4-H program starts out new shooters at age nine. (Warning: If you get your kid involved in these programs the “disadvantage” is you’ll likely end up volunteering to help run them.)
Even the physically challenged can participate. Shooters who are dependent on wheelchairs or other support devices can apply to the National Rifle Association, and receive a waiver from the required shooting positions. Then they compete with everyone else.
A soccer mom takes the kids to the stadium, and then sits in the bleachers. Shooter-mom can participate along with her kids. And her parents.
There is a huge variety of events to participate in, all the way from taking your time to precisely aim at a stationary target at hundreds of yards, to snapping a shot at a fast-moving disk before it hits the ground.
Skeet, trap, and sporting clays are shotgun games where you shoot at flying disks, called “birds.”
In handgun silhouette you have five minutes to get off five shots at five steel silhouettes of an animal, rams, pigs, turkeys, and chickens, to see if you can knock them over.
Cowboy action shooters dress in 1800s costumes, and use pistols, rifles, and shotguns designed before 1890 in staged “Wild West” scenarios.
And, of course, you can get up close and personal with Mother Nature by hunting, actually putting meat you have earned in the most basic sense on your dinner table.
The shooting sports require ethics and a sense of personal responsibility. In many team sports you have umpires, judges, referees, and such to keep everyone playing by the rules. For participants, it becomes a game of pushing the edges, seeing how close you can come to a violation without getting caught.
In the shooting sports, including target shooting, hunting, and informal shooting, you are responsible for following the safety rules, and your object becomes to be as safe as possible.
In shooting events you compete with other shooters instead of against them. Instead of your team gaining ten yards by making the other team lose ten yards, each of you gains whatever points you earn. In shooting competitions you can have days where every participant scores a personal best, with the high score taking the prize.
As a result, you’ll find shooters to be a pretty friendly bunch. If you go to an event “just to look,” you’ll probably be invited to try your hand, as experienced shooters offer their help.
Anyone who participates in a gun club or shooting event will tell you that organizing gun folks is like herding cats. We tend to be a pretty individualistic bunch. Out there on the shooting range you’ll find everyone from the geeks at The Gun Club @ Microsoft to the GLBT folks at Pink Pistols to the ladies over at Second Amendment Sisters or the young folks at Students for Concealed Carry on Campus or run into the Black Man With a Gun. There are few places where you will find a greater appreciation for real diversity.
I enjoy teaching people to shoot even more than I enjoy shooting. Part of my job is to help you have fun as well. Then there's safety. That's always a vital part of the lesson. But most of all, it's my job to find out what you, the student, wants and needs out of the lesson.
Particularly in the First Shots class I start by asking you what you expect. Then I tailor the class to that purpose.
So whether you have never touched a firearm, or if you’re afraid of guns, or you’re experienced with one type of firearm and want to transition to another, or you want to review the fundamentals, I’m ready to help.