Some people learn how to shoot a hunting rifle at a very young age, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Whether you’re 15 or 50, it’s a skill you can easily learn.
If you want to start hunting, then shooting a hunting rifle is a necessary skill. Luckily, it’s something you can become reasonably proficient in quickly. It takes some training and a lot of practice, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be putting together a decent grouping of shots by the end of your first or second shooting session.
Where to Learn
When you take your hunter education course, in addition to the online or classroom portion of the test, you’ll also spend some time outside the classroom focusing on the skills discussed indoors. This will include some basic firearms training.
During your hunter education, you should talk to your instructor about signing up for a more focused firearms course. In most states, the organizations that run the hunter education certification will also offer more advanced classes.
Another option is to go to your local gun range. Most gun ranges offer classes and sessions specifically designed for people who have never shot a gun before. These classes are an excellent place to learn the basics and start honing your skills.
What You Need to Get Started
Honestly, you don’t need much. Get yourself some quality ear and eye protection and dress appropriately. Most ranges require closed-toe shoes and prohibit low cut tops. Beyond that, you should be good wearing whatever you regularly wear.
You can rent ear and eye protection at many gun ranges, but that’s something I recommend getting for yourself. It’s cheap and wearing glasses and ear protection that a thousand other people used doesn’t appeal to me.
You don’t have to own a rifle to learn how to shoot one. You can rent a firearm and purchase ammo and targets at the gun range. If you take a course offered by the gun range, a gun rental may be included with the cost of the course.
Going Shooting Your First Time
Many gun ranges will have an introductory class that newcomers are required to take. Sometimes this is a scheduled class that you must sign up for in advance, other times you can just walk in and someone at the range will take you through the basics of gun safety, range rules and etiquette, and how to shoot. Because every gun range is a little different, it’s not a bad idea to call ahead and find out what you need to do to get started.
When you go to the gun range for the first time, tell the person working the welcome counter that it’s your first time. Talk to them about why you want to learn to shoot. The people at the range will be more than happy to set you up for success.
Before you get to the range, you’ll have to go over the rules of the range with a range officer and sign a waiver. Each gun range’s rules are a little different so make sure to pay attention. Always follow the instructions given to you by the range officer. Gun ranges won’t put up with people who don’t follow the rules. You’ll be asked to leave the range if you can’t follow instructions.
Luckily, the instructions at gun ranges are straightforward and easy to understand and follow. The point of the rules is to make the range as safe, fun, and educational as possible for everyone there. As long as you follow the rules and get the necessary instructions on how to shoot safely and proficiently from an instructor at the range, you’ll be ready to hunt in no time.
Do you have any questions or concerns about learning to shoot a hunting rifle? Leave a comment below.