Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in outdoor and travel markets. A former small-town newspaper editor and reporter, she constantly hunts for news headlines you need to read. Barbara also publishes Women’s Outdoor News online and pens columns for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Shooting Sports USA. Hailing from the Ozarks of Missouri, this avid hunter is now mentoring the second generation of hunters - her own little bevy of Realtree-wearing grandchildren.
National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day
One of the saddest things I ever saw at a range was a boy, probably about 12, sitting behind a scoped rifle at a bench, struggling to look through the scope. He said, “Dad, all I can see is black.” And his dad said, “Well, I can see through it just fine."
(Thanks, Dad.) I wondered if I should be so bold as to step in and suggest how the little guy might move his head backward or forward a bit on the stock to see light at the end of that scope tunnel. Maybe explain parallax to the two of them in the process. But, because of the father’s gruff ways, I decided not to interfere. And maybe, if a guy had been there, he would have been able to approach that dude of a dad and help out.
I’m sorry I didn’t.
Fast forward to this Sat., June 9, when the first “National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day” (NTYDTTRD) will be held at shooting ranges all across this country. And it’s not just for daughters. It’s for all children. It will not only offer children an opportunity to shoot in a safe environment, but also, it will offer their parents opportunities to meet other like-minded parents.
Ranges are not there for pistol practice only. Think of the many skills associated with hunting that can be honed on a range – and not just getting a good group on a dinner plate. In fact, it became evident to me on a recent hog hunt, that I really need work on my nighttime and low light rifle skills. It’s one thing to sit in the dark as the sun rises and daylight emerges, and it’s a whole ’nother animal to sit there and watch it get dark. In fact, it’s another thing to be placed in a pig shack at the bottom of a holler off a highway in Alabama with the gate left open on a Saturday night.
Lynne Finch, the founder of National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day, teaches handgun courses and assumed that women wanted to learn to shoot for personal protection. She then read Julie Golob’s book, “Shoot: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition,” and realized that women, like Julie, often get their start in the shooting sports or are introduced to hunting traditions because of their experiences on ranges and afield with their fathers.
Said Lynne, in an interview with Natalie Foster, of Girls Guide to Guns, “We decided that this would be a great way to introduce girls to safety education as well as give them an opportunity to have some family bonding time. But we really thought focusing on the girls was important because the little boys grow up getting to go the range or learn to shoot in Scouts and the girls don’t. We just want the focus on the girls.” Finch says that moms and sons are welcome at the events, scheduled for across the country.
If you want to find an event near you, or donate your time and/or some money, check out the website for National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day. And then, when she's ready ... take her hunting!