By: Patricia McLelland-Merydith
My friend Teri Prior Gibson called me last spring and told me about the West Yellowstone Shooting Sports Association (WYSSA). Teri said the WYSSA had a shooting complex located on USFS land that supported archery, pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Teri and her husband Richard Gibson discovered WYSSA members wanted to encourage interest in trapshooting among relatives of existing members and potential new members from the community.
Before Teri and Richard moved from California to Montana, Teri helped me put on several National Rifle Association Women On Target Instructional Shooting Clinics, introducing women here in California to trapshooting using 12 gauge shotguns. Teri asked if my husband Rod and I would be interested in driving 800 miles to Montana to instruct a shotgun clinic. I jumped at the opportunity to visit our friends in West Yellowstone and introduce new shooters to trapshooting.
Two months ago (August 13, and 14) we held three small clinics over two days; small clinics because WYSSA has only one trap house. I was very pleased to help men and women, both new and seasoned shooters from all ages, teens through seniors. It was great to see husbands and wives, fathers with sons and daughters, and grandfathers with grandsons begin to shoot together.
Each of the three clinics began with a safety talk followed by the fundamentals of shotgun shooting, and a review of the three basic types of shotguns: break open (over/under and single barrel), semi-auto, and pump. Thanks to Browning Firearms, I was able to pass along promotional gifts (Browning hats, decals and catalogs), and thanks to Teri, we all enjoyed donated coffee and assorted sweets.
Each time I provide shotgun instruction to parents and their children, husbands and wives, etc. I know they now have opportunities to create very special and lasting memories. Remember: once your loved ones are gone, memories are all you will have. That is now my experience, as my Father Estle “Bud” McLelland passed away last February. I miss my Daddy every day, but I will always have great memories shooting trap and hunting with him.
I would encourage you to seek opportunities to build similar memories with your family. And, if you belong to a gun club with a trap house, try hosting an introductory trapshooting clinic. You will open the door for others to also enjoy this great sport.
I want to thank the West Yellowstone Shooting Sports Association for inviting us to their shooting complex this past August and for inviting us to return next summer. We made new friends, had a great time and look forward to instructing another trapshooting clinic next year. If you are interested in the West Yellowstone Shooting Sports Association, find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/YellowstoneShooting/?fref=ts, or just search their name.
Until next time dear reader, be safe, be aware, be respectful, have fun shooting!