The future of our sport appears to be in safe hands in New South Wales, with 20 junior shooters converging on the Deep Creek Shooting Complex at the SSAA Batemans Bay Branch from January 12 to 15 for this year’s Junior Target Shooting Camp. The SSAA - at club, state and national levels - puts a lot of effort into helping juniors experience recreational shooting, as it can be hard for some youngsters to arrange their first taste of the sport.
The shooters ranged from 12 to 17 years of age, with each junior holding their minor’s permit. Even though the levels of knowledge with different firearms were quite varied, everyone enjoyed the opportunities the camp provided to widen their repertoire.
Over the four days the juniors were able to try their hand at Air Rifle, Benchrest, Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle and Trap shooting. The sessions were run by noted shooters in their respective disciplines, giving the juniors a chance to shoot in various competitions. The close supervision meant the juniors received the best possible coaching while testing their new-found skills against friends.
The Friday afternoon session proved one of the most popular, with the juniors able to shoot a number of different firearms including .243-calibre bolt-action rifles, .30-30 lever-action rifles, .300 Winchester Magnum bolt-action rifles and some lever-action shotguns. Despite some sore shoulders (from the larger calibres), there were plenty of very big smiles at the end of the day.
Arguably the most popular option was the shotgun discipline. Experienced shotgun shooters Michael McNabb and Gemma Dunn, who have each represented Australia on the international stage, were more than happy to impart their know-how and skills with the camp-goers.
Other highlights included dirt-karting and The Amazing Race, a GPS orienteering team-based activity which really tested everyone’s ingenuity. After a long and hard-fought race, the prize for best and fairest was taken out by the all-girl line-up known as the Blue Team.
When the participants arrived at the start of camp, only two sisters knew each other, but by the end some great friendships had been forged. Everyone left with a smile, a new appreciation for at least one shooting discipline and memories that will no doubt last a lifetime.
The organisers of the camp want to thank the many volunteers and supervisors who gave their time, shared their skills and lent out their firearms. The camp was a huge success and the plan is to come back bigger and better next time. SSAA Batemans Bay Branch was a fantastic host and deserves lots of praise for making its range and facilities available.
The organisers would also like to thank NIOA for again supplying a majority of the ammunition used by the juniors throughout. Other sponsors who deserve plaudits include Winchester, who supplied shotgun ammunition, Ryda, who assisted with the provision of the GPS units used in The Amazing Race, and Tasco Sales Australia, who provided showbags for each junior as well as prizes.
Want to be a part of the next target shooting camp? SSAA state branches work hard to organise events like this all over the country, so let them know you are interested in participating or even willing to help organise and run similar dates.