Children and shooting

nic531

Well-Known Member
I read on a different thread a comment, that it was not worth encouraging kids as they will lose the sport in their lifetimes.... if we do not, IT WILL die out!

So what do people do to encourage youngsters to take up the sport of shooting?

I do a variety of shooting sports - clays, wildfowling, small bore target, CSR, game shooting, stalking, vermin control, pigeons..... do people have a route to get kids to take up the sport?

i know that the small bore club that i am in lets the scouts use our range and that the wilfowling club has a very active junior section. (joining is purely the cost of BASC plus a WHT stamp until your 21) and we organise training days and flights just for the kids.
My own kids were taught gun handling skills and safety firstly in the garden with air rifles and for the older one later on by the army, but i was wondering what do other people and clubs do to encourage kids?
 

Sampo

Well-Known Member
Rather than try to start off with shooting, I am leaning more towards conservation and fetching ones own food. The joy of going out to control pest/ stalk deer and coming home with possibly the best meat which causes minimal impact to the environment with the aid of an air rifle or firearm which is more of a tool to make the work more efficient. To get better at using any tool, you need to practice which is what the range could be used for along with some competitions for a bit of fun. Of course one could go on to compete but without the conservation to support it, shooting might be confined to only the target clubs with only club rifles or rifles that one has to lock away at the club.

Once more realise and treat it as a helpful tool with a purpose, we might continue to be able to enjoy its use, similar to a chainsaw or a nailgun, which in the wrong hands can be/ has been used for malicious purposes.

Things I tend to do is introduce the little ones to game meat while they are developing their taste buds, talk about where the food comes from, get them to help out with skinning butchering as they get older, get them involved with the cooking process, take them out to the range/ outdoors and wish really really hard that they will find all the experience rewarding. After all its more of a way of life.

Love to hear others view on this.
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
Whatever you do, shooting-wise, it's got to be fun. Often, doing what Dad does is the thing. It might not happen, doesn't always, but as your kids get older they will find other things to occupy themselves, namely girls, nights out, holidays to some party island (Covid permitting), marrying, kids and so on. But if you've sown that early seed, once they've settled down there's every chance that they will be drawn back to it. That's one reason why shooters in general seem overly populated with older people. It doesn't mean that shooters are dying out (and certificate grant figures show this) but it does mean that ideally, you need a bit of spare time and spare cash.

So, to quote a song "the children are our future".
 

Liveonce

Well-Known Member
For most children the only association they have with firearms is via computer games and films.

Only the minority will have a family members who goes shooting so yes if they show an interest they should be encouraged, most clay shooting grounds encourage this by offering a junior discount.
 

badbob

Well-Known Member
I'm afraid in this country children are brainwashed into the belief that shooting and guns are bad. At school , TV and media.
Any hunting instinct is to be repressed as primitive and dangerous. We are becoming a nation of tree hugging snow flakes.
It's ironic that many go on to be come obsessed with deadly computer games.

My kids are not really interested despite my attempts to get them involved. Influenced by peer pressure
It's a pity as I've got to the stage in life where I need taking out.
 

FrenchieBoy

Well-Known Member
I think this subject counts in many sports, we need to find ways to encourage youngsters into our sports. We have a similar situation locally with our crown green bowling clubs. Most (Certainly 95%) of our club members are "senior citizens" and we are now loosing a couple more members each year due to illness or death. I have been saying to our club for ages now "What happens when our current members are all too old to bowl or pass away, will our bowling club just die with us unless we can find a way to encourage youngsters into our sport"! (And I suspect that the very same can be said for shooting)
I don't know the answer but what I do know is that if we can not find ways to introduce youngsters into the various forms of shooting then in time to come it might well dwindle into history just like our bowling clubs quite likely will?
I really do hope that an answer can be found!
 

Rhodesianjess

Well-Known Member
As a professional keeper, my kids were always around guns, whether rifles or shotguns and the results of their use ie helping me in game larder, rearing field etc. My son's interest tailed off at 15/16 due to normal life stuff: cars,girls,out with mates.
However,at nigh on 30 years old now, he's back in the loop,beating on shoot days, helping me around the shoot with vermin control ,deer cull etc. The seed that was planted early, although it waned about,has recovered and blossoming again.
If it's in them,they will stick with it. My daughters only have a use for the results or can I have some venison/rabbits/pigeons for cooking? Always prepared of course 😂
 

bowji john

Well-Known Member
I have youngsters here shooting Monday to Friday during term time

Currently they are practicing to take part in the PRS style .22LR national comp that will be run by GBPRA when it gets off the ground

I've invested heavily in kit so that they learn about ballistics as well as take part in the commercial rifle comp (with a Cz) and open comp (Vudoo) for juniors (Top 100 in country go to Bisley at the end of each annual comp for a sort of national final)

They have to learn how to develop dope and compare it to data from a kestrel elite 5700

They shoot off barricades and sticks at unknown distances (typically anything between 70m and 150m), take a distance measurement with a range finder, look up their dope, estimate windage and come up with a shooting solution

They only get two shots to count at a 3" or 2" gong before moving on

One young man has gone on to precision tool making and wants to become a gun smith

Others will/might join local clubs and perhaps go on to compete in the PRS comps

I get to shoot daily too - we don't half get through some ammo !!

Sadly they all now shoot better than I can !!
 
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stubear

Well-Known Member
I'm definitely starting to get some questions from my oldest nephew now but I think dragging him out on a stalk aged 7 might be a bit much unless we were very lucky and got something early. I remember my dad saying that he used to get taken fishing by his dad and when he younger he found it very boring as it was hours where nothing happened.

I do want to take him for a plink with a .22 or a .410 just to see what he thinks of it.
 

bowji john

Well-Known Member
Part of the problem is the minimum age limit of 17

The only way we can get youngsters to shoot is because we are a “miniature range” and insured as such
 

camodog

Well-Known Member
This is a tough one, and I'm unsure what the answer is. One thing of which I am certain is if the general hostility towards anything shooting/hunting/guns related from mainstream media, government etc doesn't change, then all I see is a gradual decline in the take-up of such country pursuits such as we enjoy now.
I regard myself to have been fortunate and from a 'guilded' generation (now in late sixties), born to a Father who shot and introduced to 'the hunting life' from the moment I was able to walk. I think those of us from my generation have 'had the best of it' !
I am a member of a wildfowling club that enjoys some of the best duck and goose shooting in the country. It used to be 'dead mens shoes' to gain entry, now however, we can expect to reopen the waiting list every 2-3 years. Those applying are almost without exception 'older' individuals. At one time the membership could almost be maintained by sons of existing members keen to do what their Dads were doing, not so now ! Yes, members still have sons, of course they do, but they are now, from my observation, often conditioned by media, school, peer pressure, even from spouses(understandable, they don't want little William bullied or ostracized at school) etc into an aversion of anything that may involve killing ! A friend of mine has a son (aged 8) who does enjoy shooting. He is finding it really tough going in school. It's known he shoots, it's obvious the teachers are disapproving of this fact, so too are most of his class-mates so there is tremendous peer pressure at work there to 'conform'. His mother is anxious of how this may 'hold him back'.
This is how it is for kids these days. It is a strong child indeed that can withstand this kind of pressure in order to 'fit in'.
How different it was in 'my day'. We were asked to do a talk/presentation in front of class on a subject we had an interest in. I took into school, (no hoops to jump, no forms to fill, no questions asked) a selection of guns & ammo and did a talk on shooting ! No big deal ! Can you ever imagine in your wildest dreams that happening now ? Then, probably half the boys in my class shot.....and did not have to hide the fact.
I don't wish to sound too despondent, but things will have to swing dramatically in our favour if hunting as we have known it is not to die a slow death. Maybe if we had just one single truly effective 'Organisation' that had a strong and effective mandate then that could help ! Other than that I have no idea what could be done.
 

TomDeer

Well-Known Member
One of the first words said by one of my sons was "gun". I was not certain whether to be proud or ashamed...

With the boys they all seem to have an interest in it. My daughters however have never been particularly interested but my eldest daughter asked a couple of days ago whether I would teach her to shoot. The answer was a quick "yes". She'll probably be a better shot than me and her brothers.

They have all grown up with me dragging/carrying in dead stuff and have watched me skin and butcher things so know where food comes from. It hasn't turned any of them vegan yet! They generally seem to rejoice in recounting some of my cock ups to their friends, such as when I accidentally opened the boot of the car with the fob leaving a gory fallow carcass on display in a suburban street.

If they're interested in trying shooting, I'm happy to get then involved. Likewise, if they just want to come along and watch that's fine. Similarly, if they don't want to get involved that's fine.

Be guided by them as to whether they want to get involved.
 

bogtrotter

Well-Known Member
As a keeper/stalker my kids were brought up around guns all showed an interest to a degree my son tried shooting but decided it was not for him my daughter regularly
went beating, one of them was a great help in the larder she could dress out a deer carcass as well as any stalker, I missed her when she got married.:rofl:
My grandson was interested from an early age only thing he ever wanted to be was a keeper had a shotgun certificate from age 14 and an open FAC from 15.
He did his HNC at the Borders College and now aged 29 he is a full time Grouse keeper with nearly ten years full time keepering experience behind him
 

Franchi Matt

Well-Known Member
My lad shoots - hes 6. He's only at PCP pistol target shooting level but hes a bloody good shot 😎 he often tags along when I go for a wander round my permissions with a SG. As already said - its something kids aspire to do that dad does, my dad didn't shoot when I was a nipper, my shooting attraction was forged in the summer holidays with my mates down the fields and rivers 👍 so its not essential that its a handed down sport but the chance to experience it has to be there which isnt as easy as if was when I was a kid, no one thought anything of us kids wandering off the the river or hedge lines with air rifles in our hands....
 

BSAvale

Well-Known Member
Get kids into it as soon as they are able to and want to. My eldest is 5, she really really wants to shoot a pheasant and a deer she says…I’ve started her off with a pcp in a safe environment and she absolutely loves it and is always asking to come with me. She also shows an interest in dealing with the quarry amd tells people her favourite meat is squirrel! She is a pretty good shot already. BDB8D21E-39D3-4965-8509-31CDB0088F8C.jpeg
 

mn87

Active Member
I have just started taking my soon to be 5yr old out with me stalking and a brief day on pigeons and he absolutely loves it and is as keen as mustard. What he loves most is being out with dad, seeing the wildlife looking for deer and creeping up close to them. He can’t sit still for long but it makes it all challenging. We have had two deer together this year and he has been a gibberish little lad after I have shot with a million questions. He will have learnt more in these outings than he would in any other environment about biology, conservation, safety and ethics. His interest may wane in the teenage years (as mine did) but him sure the future he will come back to it with the seed being sown now. It’s about making memories not necessarily being successful on the stalk.

I just hope I can get some permissions closer to home we currently have a 1.45hr trip to the closest ground….which we are doing after I pick him up from nursery tomorrow evening.
 

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Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
My niece and nephew come to stay with us on the odd occasion. They're never exposed to countryside ways where they live, but with us living on a wee smallholding they experience it as a matter of course. One of their favourite things is to shoot my .22 (under supervision of course) Both of them absolutely love it, and I think my very strict lectures to them both about safety and handling prior to them getting anywhere near the rifle lends an air of exciting solemnity to the whole affair that I think really appeals to them both. They get to do something that their parents don't have the ability to, that they'd probably never have the opportunity to do otherwise, and that they both thoroughly enjoy. Hopefully in the years to come the seed may have been planted. But if not, at they very least they now have some real knowledge and experience of something that their friends and rest of their family don't.
 
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