AMERICA'S FIREARMS AND DOGS
Firearms and dogs go together. Bird Dog owners prefer shotguns, Hound owners seek bigger game and use heavier caliber rifles. Metropolitans prefer pistols…
January 11, 2022
The 2021 National Firearms survey recorded only 32% of Americans as gun owners, down from 44% in 2007. But the U.S. Dept. of Fish And Wildlife sold 15,202,699 hunting licenses for the 2020-2021 season when the U.S. population was 332,915,073.
My Son Precision Rifle Shooter Brandon Haywood
Is that because in many states you need a hunting license to buy a gun? Well, how many hunters do you know who only own 1 gun or 1 dog? A 2021 National Firearms Survey calculates that over 81.4 million Americans own guns.
Those of us who participate in AKC and UKC hunt tests are familiar with the requirements: each hunt test participant must hold a valid sportsman's license and purchase a yearly duck stamp for duck sports, and other licensing if doing upland type testing. I am a gunner and duck master, I also help set up, clean up, etc. and love every minute of it.
This past summer, Grand Isle, Nebraska welcomed 4-H’ers from all over the US for the 4H shooting Nationals. Competition included state winners in Compound Archery/ recurve archery/ air rifle/ air pistol/ .22 rifle/ .22 pistol /and shotgun competitions.
Many of these shooting competitions offer training and special competitions for juniors. Some offer mentoring programs and some offer also competitions for Professional and for Amateur teams.
On any given weekend across the nation, shooting competitions are held in a wide range of firearm style. Some of the most popular are pistol matches and 2 gun and 3 gun matches. One of the largest growing disciplines is the Precision Rifle Series, over 1000 paid members for 37 matches already scheduled for next season in the long-distance rifle shooting series.
2021 boasted over 6000 registered shooters in bolt action or rim fire style competitions. Each year the 3 best scores at various matches are totaled and top shooters in regional divisions are named. A finale shoot-off held in various states once each year.
Like some dog shows used to be, there are money prizes and shooting gear prizes offered by the various gear manufacturers.
Gathering actual numbers of those participating in these shooting matches is rather difficult. Unlike well-kept AKC statistics, there does not seem to be an official "warehouse" of compiled numbers of those participating in shooting sports.
Camp Perry Ohio, the “Westminster” of shooting matches, is one of the oldest in the country. Since 1907, Camp Perry has hosted Civilian Marksman Schools and hosted matches that attract shooters from all over the world. For 5 weeks every summer Camp Perry hosts a World Series of Shooting incorporating pistol and rifle competitions.
Since WWll, the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) has held world-wide shooting competitions that incorporate Mens, Womens, Junior and team sports in several disciplines. Then we have the shotgun type sporting competitions: Sporting Clays, Skeet and Trap shooting. I am familiar with Skeet shooting as I participated in that sport as a young woman.
Right here in my home state of NC, we boast 20 formal pistol ranges, 14 skeet/trap style ranges and 13 long range. We have 19 named clubs that promote shooting sports that are widely advertised. A myriad of teachers hold concealed-carry classes that are not widely advertised and there are many private ranges not open to the public.
These days getting a sportsman's license in NC involves doing an online course of study and a half day hands-on in hunter safety with wildlife officers.
I also hold this license as our poodle club occasionally hosts a WC WCX test. I no longer have to pay for this one as I am now a Senior, so it is a small gift from the State of NC.
Not all states require training prior to purchasing a hunting license. I have not been able to ferret out actual numbers of participants in AKC hunting events but there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 eligible for the Master National which is just one of the major AKC-type events for spaniels, pointers, retrievers and earth dogs.
I often wonder, when we already have so many laws and fail safes in order to purchase firearms in this country, if the politicians actually realize how many Americans not only own firearms but are actively hunting or participating in shooting and hunting sports?
I also wonder how people get into competition shooting? In my own family, I was a skeet shooter, my ex-husband was a 2-gun competitor.
Our son Brandon shot ROTC rifle competitions in High School and today he is a serious PRS (Precision Rifle Shooter) competitor. He has always been good with young people and takes much pleasure as a trainer of Juniors who want to learn and participate.
One of his "kids" out-shot him at this year’s Pro Am by 4 points. As a team, they were in 30th position but the "kid" was High Amateur ladies! It was only her 4th formal match. I was proud of him for having taught her!
As a child, my dad introduced me and my sister to weaponry, shot guns and rifles. I had the run of 80 acres and one never knew when some wild creature might need to be dispatched so we were taught gun safety to protect ourselves and our livestock from predators.
Thoughts from the other side of the fence..
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