Prospective shooters sighted their guns during the Lone Butte Fish and Wildlife Association’s open house on June 16, the day was also a celebration of the association’s 35th year.
“It went really well, it really did. We had about 110 people go through, 98 of them were non-members so we had a whole bunch of new people who have never been out before. I know from experience of running one of the bays that people really enjoyed being able to try some new guns. To some people, it was absolutely brand new,” said spokesperson Grayson Klassen. “I think it was really a success.”
Five people registered as members of the club during the day, with another 12 given out that Klassen thinks will be handed in fairly soon.
Right now, the club is around 550 members and Klassen estimates they will grow to somewhere between 600 to 650 before November when the season ends. While the Fish and Wildlife Association has no problems with membership, they are always looking to add to the roll call.
“We are always trying to promote the shooting sports in B.C. and shooting sports in general,” said Klassen, mentioning the negative image guns and shooting have in North America. “Really we want people to understand that’s not reality. We want people to understand that you can shoot safely and it is a sport, it’s part of our heritage. It’s part of how we grew up and personally, I’m afraid that it’s slowly disappearing.”
He mentioned that shooting was always part of the Cariboo lifestyle but that so many of the people who came through to the open house were new to the area and had no experience shooting. Klassen’s own kids who live elsewhere don’t shoot and while he says it’s not their thing, the lack of people joining the sport is becoming more apparent and the association wants to draw in more members into the sport to ensure it continues on.
“I think newer generations are no longer learning about shooting and outdoors like so many of us did. So every person who learns it isn’t the dreaded monster portrayed by the media the better it is for us all,” said Klassen.
While it was a successful event, Klassen said there was certainly more things they can improve on such as getting more volunteers and starting earlier. He said he was very thankful for the volunteers who did help out but he would rather they had a chance to walk about and try new disciplines.
Adding more disciplines to the open house for next year was also one for the lists, as well as making sure there are enough earbuds for everyone.
The trap shooting discipline was one of the most popular at the events but Klassen, who is also the director of rifle shooting and close-quarter battle shooting, said one of the funniest moments of the day was with an inexperienced woman shooting for the first time.
“It was like seeing somebody see something for the first time. She was excited and she thought it was kind of cool,” said Klassen, who let her shoot his pistol for a while.