Where Can You Go To Shoot?
When choosing a place to practice shooting there are serious legal and safety issues to consider. Check your local, state, or federal governments for any laws governing where you can shoot. The safest place to learn to shoot is at your local shooting range. Some ranges are county- or state-run and open to the public. Others are private, for members’ use only, although some private ranges do allow some public shooting.
A good hunter is a good shooter! Practice the shooting techniques you have learned until you can shoot accurately, quickly, and confidently. There’s no excuse for wounding an animal because you didn’t develop your shooting skills.
Range Rules, Commands, and Etiquette
Range rules and commands may vary from range to range. When you go to a new range, take the time to read the range rules, and learn the commands used at that range. The person giving the commands is called the range officer. Always obey the range officer. Failure to do so could result in loss of shooting privileges or possibly cause an accident.
Two typical and important range commands are:
- “Cease-fire” which means stop shooting, unload your firearm, put it down on the bench with the action open and the muzzle pointing down range, and step back behind the cease-fire line.
- “The range is active” (or “hot” or “live”) which means you can load and shoot your firearm.
As well as range safety rules, certain standards of etiquette are expected of shooters. Here are just a few examples of proper range etiquette:
- When shooting blackpowder firearms, shoot from a location downwind of other shooters on the firing line.
- Always ask the owner for permission before handling that person’s firearm or equipment.
- Avoid interrupting or distracting others while they are shooting.
- Avoid rapid-fire shooting since it will disturb those sighting in their rifles.
- Shoot only your own targets.
- Assist new shooters by offering advice or coaching.
- Be aware of where your brass is ejecting and install a barrier between you and the next shooting bay. This will help prevent the shooter beside you from being hit by your spent brass.
- Clean up after shooting by picking up your brass and taking down your target. Leave the range as clean as or cleaner than you found it.