At last summer has arrived and with it wonderful weather for time spent in the great outdoors. Though we still have many months until whitetail season begins in Missouri, there are plenty of other opportunities for enjoyment in the great outdoors. It is also possible to engage in shooting activities year round that will keep your skills sharp for when the season starts by putting in some time behind the line at your local shooting range.
In many parts of Missouri there are shooting ranges available to hone your skills. At times these ranges will be unstaffed which means it is up to each individual to conduct themselves appropriately. This means keeping both your safety and that of others in mind at all times as well as acting courteously when on the range. We've all encountered at least one person over the years who was a little too reckless on the range, so in addition to avoiding that person, we don't want to accidentally become that person.
Here are some tips to ensure both safety and enjoyment on the range for all shooting participants:
1. Know the rules of the range. Although the basic concept of shooting range etiquette is going to be much the same across the board, it is still important to pay attention to posted rules, observing them at all times.
2. Always take care in handling firearms by keeping them pointed downrange and treating every gun as if it is loaded at all times, pointing them only at intended targets. Keep your finger off the finger until ready to fire.
3. Wear protective gear at all times, including long pants, closed toe shoes, as well as eye and ear protection.
4. Shooting on the range is an enjoyable pastime that need not be enhanced by use of drugs or alcohol. Do not come to the range if you've been partaking and do not plan to partake while at the range.
5. Bring the proper targets (paper only) and ammo (no .50 BMG or larger as well as tracers or armor piercing rounds).
6. Do not practice rapid fire (fully auto weapons are not allowed). Pause for three seconds between shots and fire only in your firing lane.
7. Observe all cease fire calls, halting shooting immediately. Do not go forward of the firing line while the range is hot. Establish cease fire intervals with other shooters and travel up and down range together.
8. At the end of your shoot, remove targets, pick up your brass, and take your trash with you for proper disposal.
9. If you observe unsafe activity, report it to the MDOC. Each shooter is responsible for themselves while on the range but gross negligence needs to be passed on to the proper authority.
10. Last but not least, have fun!
The range is a great place to stay on top of your skills during the off season and more specific information can be found in the video below. Additionally, if you need to get acquainted with a new rifle or dial in a scope, the many unstaffed ranges in Missouri are there for you to use. Enjoy the summer months on the range and it won't be long before whitetail season is here.
Do you have any tips for shooting on an unstaffed range? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.