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RyanRosier

Shooting Sports in Scouting’s Program

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Personally,  I love that Scouting provides a quality learning experience in handling firearms.  I learned everything I know about rifles and shotguns from Scouts, and my sons did as well.  The programs we run at the camps in our Council are top-notch and have been for years.

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On 1/20/2019 at 12:18 PM, Summitdog said:

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the councils are very active in giving scouts the opportunity to work towards their shooting sports badge(s).  As a certified CA Hunter Safety Instructor, a BSA Merit Badge Counselor for rifle, shotgun and pistol (Venture), I have been developing a two day Hunter Safety Course for scouts that will allow them to be signed off on the Rifle Merit Badge and receive partial for Fish and Wildlife Management.  My local council was initially not very receptive to the idea but there may be some appreciation for it developing. 

This sounds like an OUTSTANDING idea!

Hunting is very popular here in Texas and a state Hunter Safety certification is required before you can get a hunting license. I'm very supportive of teaching kids both safety around firearms and the importance of conservation (and an awareness of how hunting can help in wildlife management). I've often thought that in many parts of the country, letting youth experience hunting in a safe and responsible manner would be a great way to keep older scouts active and involved...yet, unfortunately, hunting isn't a permitted scouting activity. But I see no reason why anyone should object to a course like you're proposing.  Hope it's a success!

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Here in the Murlin, DC area, it has been noted by many wildlife experts that we probably have more White Tail Deer per acre now than in colonial times.  The environment has changed that much,  folks in the suburban areas like the look of the deer.   Humans have become the apex predator for the White Tail, so safe hunting is important.  The Parks people schedule "cull hunts" periodically, which have gotten very popular (among humans, maybe not among the Deer). . 

In a similar vein, I have observed Deer stop on the edge of the highway and look before crossing the road !    There  is a definite evolutionary thing going on....  Then too, I have hit deer that didn't..... so much for THAT genetic line..... 

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8 minutes ago, SSScout said:

In a similar vein, I have observed Deer stop on the edge of the highway and look before crossing the road !    There  is a definite evolutionary thing going on....  

Here is a Maryland deer...

image.png.342323b14348e30b0ee2e81c3c9f0603.png

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Quincy Junior High School (in Illinois) has a rifle range in the basement, and a school sponsored competition rifle team. 

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I am completely in favor of scouts learning to handle firearms because it teaches responsibility. Most will step up to the added responsibility that a firearm represents. My experience is that younger scouts are safer after time on the rifle range. It can also teach them concentration and focus.

Unfortunately while the BSA has started promoting the idea of shooting teams inside the BSA program (great idea), they have the typical blinders on when it comes to their rules for implementation. In short, while I love the idea I would skip the BSA if starting a shooting team in favor of Civilian Marksmanship Program. 

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Some of my best Scouting memories have been helping Scouts to earn the Rifle and Shotgun merit badges.

 

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Interesting photos....I've always thought that Rifle and Shotgun were merit badges that really leant themselves to being taught entirely outdoors, but if you've got limited range time, then the classroom intro makes sense..

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

Interesting photos....I've always thought that Rifle and Shotgun were merit badges that really leant themselves to being taught entirely outdoors, but if you've got limited range time, then the classroom intro makes sense..

Indoor work can be very helpful. That's how, as an adult, I really got my head around sighting.

At our local sportsman's club, the scouts get most of the safety lecture in a classroom setting. That gives the boys a chance to practice their stance without all of the hub-bub of the range.

Although we don't teach the merit badge at a meeting, our SM gives an indoor presentation about once a year, showing the boys a variety of firearms in his collection. It's very well received, and we believe it helps the scouts wisely handle firearms and enjoy their time when they finally get to a range.

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Our troop requires two 3 hour long sessions that take the place of the regular meetings prior to going on the Shooting Sports weekend.  If a scout doesn't pay attention and/or fails the written test, we don't let them near a loaded firearm.  The basics of gun safety are best taught in a tightly controlled environment where a boy's attention isn't distracted by "Enough about safety; when are we gonna shoot!?"

So far, none of our instructors have ever been swept with a loaded firearm.

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4 minutes ago, JoeBob said:

Our troop requires two 3 hour long sessions that take the place of the regular meetings prior to going on the Shooting Sports weekend.  If a scout doesn't pay attention and/or fails the written test, we don't let them near a loaded firearm.  The basics of gun safety are best taught in a tightly controlled environment where a boy's attention isn't distracted by "Enough about safety; when are we gonna shoot!?"

Fair enough.  (And a point well taken.)

I also think there's value in spending FAR more time DOING things than talking about things.  How you gonna keep the boy interested in scouting when you promise him a Shooting Sports weekend but it turns out he has to sit in a boring classroom for longer than he gets to be outside with a rifle in his hands??  "We been gyped!  They should call it a Shooting the Bull weekend."

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We do a Shooting Sports weekend too. Our NRA-certified instructor covers safety rules within about 30 minutes and does another 15 minutes while out on the range showing the boys how to operate the specific bolt-action .22 rifle provided by the council at camp. The boys are then closely supervised by NRA-certified RSOs with the instructor acting as coach. The boys get MUCH more time out on the range than they spend in lecture.

2 3-hour sessions. 

Wow. 

Just Wow.

I'm not even a kid and I'm bored just contemplating it...

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4 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

2 3-hour long sessions....YIKES, that sure is a LOT of adult hot air!

Well, maybe it is a lot of talking (and demonstration) but we are talking about a loaded firearm. Safety is critical. 

We have three one hour sessions with NRA instructor spread over 3 meetings. Miss one and you don't get to shoot on the outing. Best attended meetings of the year.

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As a youth my father taught me firearm safety and how to shoot (in that order). We did have NRA classes associated with school, but I never took them. Having been in the military and witnessed a number of NRA classes as an adult, I realize how thorough my father was in his teaching.

As far as shooting instruction/sports etc. in Scouting. I think it is great! We no longer have NRA classes in schools. Without Scouting, I would say most of the Scouts I have been around would have never touched a firearm. They certainly would not have had any safety education. The mystery of firearms is replaced by a healthy respect for them. 

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