Daughters …. At the Range!
by Stephen Salmon
The smiles and grins say all you really need to know!
Dads always think of taking their sons shooting or hunting, but often don’t think about their daughters. Moms may not have a good opportunity.
Daughters at the Range helps by offering a dad, mom or the entire family an opportunity to learn safety and have a fun shooting experience.
Girls ages 6 to 18, many shooting for the first time, participate in Daughters at the Range (www.daughtersattherange.com). This event is now approaching its 5th annual event, having grown from 60 girls the first year, to 105 the second, and 155 last year.
Daughters at the Range is a free event to girls 6-18 and their families to introduce them to the shooting sports and to firearm safety. They get to choose to shoot with scoped .22 LR rifles (Marlin 795) or .22 LR semi auto pistols(Browning 1911). Many had so much fun they repeat the event or bring their friends, and volunteers are right there with them.
Safety is foremost, so each girl receives safety instruction from Texas Youth Hunting Program instructors first and each is issued safety glasses and hearing protection (provided for family observers as well). The safety glasses have been provided by a local ophthalmologist.
The girls each meet their mentor and receive range instructions from the range safety officer. The mentors assist each girl with the firearm, positioning, loading, encouragement , offer corrections, and answer questions; all with the intent of a successful and enjoyable experience. All rifle shooting is done from a bench with the rifle on sandbags with targets at 25 yards and some poppers at 50 yds. Again, safety and success are the intended results.
Pistol shooting follows the same procedure with the exception that the shooting is done standing, two-handed at 10 yards. Many of the mentors are qualified instructors, law enforcement or military personnel with firearm experience.
Targets are large Tru Glo or Shoot-N-C to show hits both for the participant and the mentor. Later targets are smaller, balloons to pop as a reactive target and even small steel plates at 50 yards for the rifles (may get added to the pistol course). The clang of steel being hit was exciting and obvious.
The volunteers, without whom the event would not be possible, number almost as high as the girls. Assistance has grown each year and now includes the youth programs at Marlin, Remington, ATK, & Browning, Tru Glo, Shoot-N-C Targets, the Marine Bulldog Assn., and many others nationally, locally, and individually.
Looking to do something new? Start an event similar to Daughters at the Range at your local range! You won’t regret it!