At the Target Range, It’s Safety First, Last and Always
A friend at work asked me what I was going to do with my off time over the weekend. I told her I thought I might go to the range and do some target practice. This brought a negative response but not one that you might expect!
She said she was afraid of the guns because she got nervous, was not strong enough to hold a gun and she heard they were very loud. She continued, “If I went there and shot one of those big guns I am afraid I would come back and be all yechy the next day.”
Much of what she says is very true, provided she is not taught the basics of firearm training for a newby. To start with introduce her to the range you are going to. Show the person the safety nets built into your range. At my range for example we have a red light for NO and green for all clear. You must also yell clear before going down range and ALL firearms must be placed on the rest and not to be touched by a person until all shooters have returned and are back behind the line.
The next thing is hearing protection. This is essential to every shooter. Don’t just by the cheapest pair of hearing muffs out there, get good ones. You only have one set of ears for life so protect them. Another protection to buy is eyewear. A decent pair of shooting glasses are not expensive at all and should be mandatory at all ranges.
Now, do you have the green light?
Once you have these things done now pick a firearm for your new shooter. I strongly recommend a single shot .22 rifle. This rifle is quiet and with just one shot you have the Barney Fife rule. Only one bullet means the gun can only be fired one time before reloading. The instructor is right there and teaches the shooter how to hold the gun, where the safety is, when to put your finger on the trigger, where to put your stock into your shoulder, and more.
Granted the .22 does not kick but this is training and a good teacher will do it all.
Then you load the firearm. Placing the gun in the right direction when loading and then closing the breach. Pointing always down range and now to find your target via your sights. Your instructor again checks for you to see that the coast is clear and the green light is lit. Now the okay is there for you to slowly squeeze off your first shot.
The targets are all black circles and you look down the rifle bore to the sights. You line up your sights to the middle of the X on the paper target and shoot. Pop! Your first shot has been made and even though you may have closed your eyes a bit you hit the target. Guess what? You’re now a shooter. After placing 8 to 10 rounds down range you’ll find this to be a ton of fun and can’t wait until next time.
The shooting sports can be fun and don’t need to be done with a gun that sounds like a cannon. Just use what is comfortable for you and enjoy the shooting sports.
Outdoor news & notes
Trout stocking is well underway but there are problems, not with the hatchery folks but with fishermen getting into the ponds and lakes. Many of these are still ice covered and are just NOT safe to hold anyone.
The good news is where trout are stocked -- along the ice edges -- to me is great news. The trout will scatter all around the pond so when ice-out does occur it will be like a miniature opening day.
Two great trout derbies:
The Centralville Sportsmen’s Club on Wheeler Road in Dracut with have its Spring Derby on April 13 starting at 7 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to kids of all ages and they have two club ponds they will stock for the event. There will be prizes for the little fishermen as well as adults.
The Townsend Rod and Gun Club will host its Spring Derby on April 14, from 9 to 4 with up to 300 trout stocked to 3 pounds, a golden trout, 10 tagged trout, and a winner-take-all pool fish. The derby is $16 to enter and the longest trout takes the pool. The doors will open by 7:30 a.m. The kitchen will be open and the pond re-stocked at noon and the kids can help stock the pond. The club is located on Emery Road off Route 13 in Townsend.
On April 29 will be the opening day of the Massachusetts spring turkey season. It looks like this will be a banner year if what I am seeing and heard means anything. This week I saw my largest flock of birds in years, over 50 gobblers, jakes and hens. The gobblers in strut.
The Pennsylvania deer harvest numbers were just released. They were not record-breaking but still very high at 397,400 deer killed and of this 147,000 were bucks with antlers of greater that three on one side. This is the third best since the antler restriction was put in place in 2002 and has allowed the deer herd to grow to huge numbers.
Bill Biswanger’s email is email@example.com