While 4-H is usually known for raising animals in the livestock projects, it truly is about much more than that!  There are many different projects available in 4-H.  The shooting sports program is a large 4-H project in Missouri.  4-H members can learn to safely shoot many different disciplines, like air rifle, archery and shotgun.  While members can have a gun or bow of their own to take a shooting sports project, there is no need to have a gun or bow to try shooting sports in Lincoln County.  The shooting sports projects are archery, hunting and outdoor skills, air pistol, .22 caliber pistol, air rifle, .22 rifle, shotgun, muzzleloading and western heritage and cowboy shooting.  Upon enrolling in 4-H and the discipline(s) of their choice, members will now have the use of the county equipment from the Friends of NRA grants to try a project for which they may not have been able to participate before.  Members will be able to share this new county equipment or use this opportunity as a “try before you buy” to determine if they do want to shoot in a project and want to buy their own equipment.  We are grateful to be able to obtain more equipment for other disciplines with this year’s grant to open up this opportunity for more youth in the community. The air rifles, air pistols, shotguns, .22 rifles, bows and other various equipment received from grants have encouraged members to continue in 4-H shooting sports and be safe and more proficient shooters.  

The Lincoln County 4-H Shooting Sports program goal is to develop youth with a healthy respect for shooting sports safety and promote our future leadership for the program.  Participants are taught the importance of their responsibility of safety in shooting sports.  4-H members are able to be enrolled in more than one shooting sports project at a time, but they are responsible for learning safety in all the shooting sports projects as required for all shooting sports project members.  Shooting Sports members are required to attend a six hour 4-H Shooting Sports Safety class their first year prior to being able to shoot in the projects.  Members are required to have ten hours of shooting time in each discipline to be able to compete at the county level at the Lincoln County 4-H Shooting Sports Meet and/or at the state level at the Missouri State Shoot.

The Lincoln County 4-H Shooting Sports Meet is held annually at Lolar Branch Outdoor Sports LLC in Silex, Missouri, typically, on the last Saturday in July.  Dave and Maureen Wommack, the owners, graciously host this event for the 4-H youth to compete and prepare to shoot at the state level events at the Missouri State Shoots.  We thank them for their support of the 4-H members and youth shooting in our community.

The Lincoln County 4-H certified shooting sports leaders are the range officers for the county shoot and provide the instruction to members at their first six hour safety class and to attend project meetings to obtain their required ten hours of shooting time.   The leaders are adult parents, grandparents or friends that attend a weekend workshop to obtain their 4-H certification to instruct 4-H members.  We thank them for all their hard work and dedication to teach youth safe shooting. 

The Lincoln County 4-H Shooting Sports program would like to thank the Missouri Friends of NRA for the items provided by the many grants received for use in the 4-H shooting sports program.  We are most grateful to have been awarded these grants!  We have .22 rifles and shotguns with a youth model of each type and cases for all guns, as well as gun safes to keep them secure.  We also have ear and eye protection for all our Lincoln County 4-H Shooting Sports members.  We were also granted special ear protection for the leaders who are instructing .22 rifle, shotgun, muzzleloading and western heritage and cowboy shooting.  We have bows, 3D targets and target butts for those interested in archery.  

Lincoln County 4-H Shooting Sports also thanks Federal Premium Ammunition who gives youth shooting programs the opportunity multiple times throughout the year to purchase ammunition for the youth shooters.  They want to make sure that youth shooters have .22 ammunition and shotshells available to practice shooting and shoot at competitions.  

While the year 2020 has been a challenge, we have adapted and the members have been able to participate safely in these outdoor activities with help from all those mentioned.  We are especially grateful for the help this year!  

We truly thank Dave and Maureen Wommack, the Missouri Friends of NRA and Federal Premium Ammunition for all their support in our efforts for the 4-H youth of our community! Having fun, “Learning by Doing” and being safe doing it are all a part of the 4-H Shooting Sports experience.  The big smiles on the faces of our youth when they make a good shot tells it all!  4-H is open to the public to all children from ages 8 to 18.  So we encourage the youth of the community to join and experience it for themselves.  No equipment needed to join.  We have the grant items available!  Information about joining 4-H is available by contacting the Lincoln County University of Missouri Extension Office at (636)528-4613 or visiting the state website at https://extension2.missouri.edu/programs/missouri-4-h.