Editor’s Note by Ralph Stuart
We’ve all seen the videos on YouTube:
clips of unsuspecting people being pounded by the recoil of guns that are too powerful for them or that are being held incorrectly. Typically, the shooters are sent stumbling backward, sometimes even winding up on their derrières. Hardy, har, har.
I cringe every time I see one of these shorts, imagining not only the bruised arms and egos, but also the damage being done to the victims’ confidence. Even worse is that often the “fall guys” are new shooters or people picking up guns for the first time—and often they are women and children.
The odd thing is that those doing the filming are most times experienced shooters who know what’s coming. They don’t seem to realize that for the sake of a few “views,” they likely are ruining a potential shooter—possibly even a lifelong shooting partner.
I’m hopeful that few Shooting Sportsman readers would pull such stunts. These days we’re all well aware of how important it is to bring new shooters into the fold. And just like the proper way to introduce a young dog to gunfire is not to stake it out at the range, the best way to introduce someone to shooting is not to simply hand him or her a loaded gun and say, “Have at it.” A proper introduction must be thorough and methodical, with every precaution taken to ensure safety and success. And fun!
Spring is one of the best times to introduce someone to shooting. Warming weather has people itching to get outside, and the adventurous among them might be willing to try a new sport.
Of course, not all of us are born instructors, and there are nuances to teaching that can mean the difference between a frustrating first experience and hooking someone for life. With that in mind, we asked professional shooting instructor Marty Fischer for advice on working with new shooters. The resulting article—“Proper Introductions” (p. 48)—is a manual of sorts for helping first-timers.
This feature plays into the general theme of the March/April issue—clay shooting—with other target-oriented pieces including coverage of shooting gear, Bruce Buck’s review of Beretta’s 694 Sporting and Chris Batha’s column on the PC version of live-pigeon shooting: Helice. It is a celebration of breaking clays and encouragement for readers to head to the range to dust some targets . . . and recruit new shooters to join them.
A blueprint for bringing on clay shooters
By Marty Fischer
Heaven on Horseback
Riding the high prairie behind bird dogs
By Keith Crowley
Anglicizing a Sterlingworth
Customizing a Fox with English flair
By Dewey Vicknair
Timothy Murphy: bird hunting’s (should-be) poet laureate
By Tom Davis
From the Editor
The right way to recruit new shooters.
Missing sandgrouse, a strange event, a Westley Richards fan and more
When lesser prairie chickens square off
Game & Gun Gazette
The 2020 Readers & Writers Adventures, West Nile update, a world-record clay shoot, etc.
The Beretta 694 Sporting
By Bruce Buck
Items for helping crush more clays
By The Editors
The Iowa Habitat & Access Program
By Tom Davis
Mixed-bag hunting at Oregon’s Ruggs Ranch
By Scott Linden
To the Point
Remembering an unforgetable character named “Red”
By Tom Huggler
Great advice for the sporting life
Top vests for taking targets
By Ralph Stuart
The challenging sport of Helice
By Chris Batha
Answering readers’ questions
By Tom Roster
Tips for hunting over other people’s dogs
By Reid Bryant
A current assessment of the Light Goose Conservation Order
By E. Donnall Thomas jr.
On the cover: Firestick Mad Capper (“Cap”) retrieving a snow goose (see p. 44). Photograph by Lee Thomas Kjos.
Additional photos: Keith Crowley; Gary Kramer; Courtesy of Beretta USA