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Weekend Shooting

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on August 11, 2008

One of my favorite Tea Mugs has the saying on it, “Load on Sunday, Shoot All Week Long”. This week was a little backward on the statement as I worked all week long preparing to help teach an Instructor Class, then shoot all Sunday.

First of all, the class was wonderful, at least in an Instructor’s view point. The 20 students (adult males) brought with them an incredible good attitude and enthusiasm to match. They eagerly jumped in with the assignments and shared their knowledge as they learned a variety of teaching methods to help them along the way. Although it is not always the case, we had fun in this class, humor showing it’s grinning facade along with the dawning of shared ideas. How many times was the forbidden “W” word spoken? I lost count after 10, but it appeared over and over again with increasing frequency. By telling everyone there was a forbidden word, and what it was, it began to appear more and more often even if it wasn’t a normal word in one’s vocabulary. I find this highly insightful. Ponder on this: what do Bananas and Diamonds have in common?

We had two days of classroom training in a great facility. Texas Parks and Wildlife had allowed us to use their new Hunter Education Training Room at their new location near Austin airport. This large, comfortable room has many redeeming qualities, including some amazingly comfortable chairs, moveable tables, great temperature control, superb lighting and A/V capabilities. Handily nearby are a break room with refrigerator and microwaves and clean modern toilet facilities. I only hope that I will be able to use this facility more often as a Hunter Education volunteer instructor.

To add to the great facility, the TPWD Game Wardens graciously allowed us to borrow their newly acquired .22 rifles to shoot and train with. These nice little .22 semi-automatic Ruger’s came complete with scopes and hard side cases. I’m sure as Youth shooting sports continue to grow the Game Wardens will do some fantastic things for the community with these guns.

So, it was work all week and shoot all day Sunday. By Sunday, the Texas weather stayed true to it’s recent hot spell and brought out 100+ temperatures and a hot dry wind – just enough to stir up the caliche dirt and sand but not enough to cool anybody. Gamely, the 20 students went through all the steps and half a dozen shooting positions while the gun barrels scorched our hands, sweat dripped down into our eyes and the blazing sun seared our necks as we kneeled, sat, crawled on our bellies and generally discovered that the trials we often put kids (and adults) through in the summer camps is indeed quite difficult and somewhat miserable.

Of course, we worked until every single person qualified, ‘No one is left behind’ and I only wish I had prizes to give out at the very end. The happy grins and camaraderie were very rewarding when each person reached that goal – “I Qualified!”. As a team, the other two Trainers and myself were happy with the results of the class and fully confident that safety and shooting will be passed on to more generations because of our efforts.

For more information about NRA Training programs, go to the website: www.nrahq.org and browse through the various venues available. For more information on Texas Parks and Wildlife – Hunter Education, go to the website: www.tpwd.state.tx.us and select Hunting, then Hunter Education.


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