Advertisement

Program offers women the chance to be safe shooters

June 23, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Between gun blasts, kickbacks and gunpowder Sunday at the Washington County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, a group of 36 women took aim at being safe and sharp shooters.

The Outdoor Sports Program and The National Rifle Association Foundation Women on Target co-sponsored the all-day Women's Firearms Shooting Clinic, which brought in 17 instructors to teach women for $10 how to properly shoot muzzleloaders, shotguns, handguns and rifles, said Steve Palmer, founder and director of The Outdoor Sports Program.

"Women, given the opportunity to participate in a neutral setting, excel at this kind of thing," Palmer said. "They absorb information like a sponge and don't come in with a know-it-all attitude."

Advertisement

Jasmine Cook, 21, of Abingdon, Md., took aim at skeet, which were being catapulted at her demand. She shattered them consistently and then asked to shoot some more. Cook never had picked up a gun before Sunday.

"I used to be scared of guns, so I wanted this to get over my fear of them," she said.

She wants to buy one now for protection and practice shooting.

"I think today was an important day," she said. "It's not something to be scared of if you know how to use it."

Her mother, Jamie Martin, 45, of Abingdon, said she brought Cook out to the range because she thought it was important for her to learn how to shoot. Martin, who was raised on a farm, said she grew up with guns but wanted to take another shot at a skill she abandoned years ago.

For "farm girl" Sarah Cramer, 22, who lives near Frederick, Md., the day was a lesson in protection.

"I want to be able to kill the animals who are trying to kill my sheep," she said.

Marilyn Pryor, 38, of Hagerstown, already shot a raccoon who was trespassing near her house not long ago, but said she came out to the clinic for formal training.

Tina Mussolino, 37, of Hagerstown, wanted formal training, too.

Her sons and husband are active in archery and hunting, but she doesn't usually tag along, and had only shot once before Sunday.

"A lot of people do sports for competition, but to me it's more of a personal thing," she said.

Mussolino said there aren't a lot of activities for women to get involved in outside their families. Shooting skeet is something she enjoys.

"It beats staying home and cleaning the house," she said.

Pryor said when she was younger, her dad and brother always practiced shooting, but she wasn't allowed to carry a gun.

She brought her 16-year-old daughter to learn alongside her Sunday.

"I would have loved it if my mom took me to a range and taught me this stuff," she said.

Niki Poole, 28, of Falling Waters, W.Va., who shot for the first time Sunday, said she always jumps at the opportunity to learn something new.

"It's not as scary as I thought it would be," she said.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|