So, I attended the “At Home On The Range” Family Fun Day at the White Oak River Chapter IWLA building in Peletier, NC on Saturday, August 17th, 2019 from 10am - 2pm. I met some really cool kids there, some with experience and some who wanted to come to learn, they all worked together in four groups with four stations.
When all the kids and their parents showed up we started the teaching portion for archery and air rifles. George Wehrung from PEACE Tactics LLC, taught us gun safety, how to hold it when you are shooting and when you aren’t. He taught us about the different guns and all the different stands you can use if you don’t have one. The next guest was Travis Watters from Just Passing Through Archery. He taught us how to hold the bow with your fingers, pulling it back to your cheek, and how the sight works. He also gave us a really nice speech on not giving up on something you love.
Starting off with the stations, the first station was Air rifle at their 10 meter range made by Eagle Scout, Luke Hult. This station was run by George Wehrung. Each kid got their own target with a sheet they could take home to see how well their shooting skills were. The parents were able to watch from the sidelines of the range and, of course, take pictures of their kids having fun and learning different skills. When I walked over, I saw that some of them were using different stands from the normal like a backpack. When George was teaching he taught us that you can use the backpack as an alternative to a gun stand so it’s really cool that some of the kids got to see the difference between them.
The next station was building hunting blinds. Now if you are like me and do not know what a hunting blind is, that is what google is for and I have saved you the trouble of looking it up. “A hunting blind, hide or machan is a cover device for hunters or gamekeepers, designed to reduce the chance of detection.” Kerry Kistner took the kids into a piece of the woods and taught each group how to set up the blinds so that the wild animals they are hunting will not see them. Each group did something different to help construct them. They even role-played different hunting scenarios to keep in their minds if they are hunting later on. You may think that is it, but they even learned animal tracking! Animal tracking is where you identify the tracks of an animal on the ground to whatever animal it matches to know what has been around the area recently.
For our next station, we had bag archery where Travis Watters was helping all of the kids to at least get on the bag. He had his two kids along to help if anyone was having troubles and helped pick up the arrows so they can get the most time in for their shooting. He even taught safety. When i walked over and watched for a bit, I saw that when they had shot all the arrows he would make it safe for people to walk out and get their arrows by saying “All Clear!”. This station even had a fun game where they pinned balloons with a paper that had prize names on them. You would have to burst the balloons to get the prize and later on you get to collect them. I think all the kids really liked that surprise and it gave them the motivation to keep going for a balloon and everyone got a prize so no kid left empty handed. One cool thing is that every group that went through got one shot to hit a $20 bill and the kids who got it or came closest to it won it.
Our last, but not least, station was 3D archery down our walking trail. This station was run by Mike Allen who helped the kids as they walked down the trail to see a deer and hog to shoot with their bow and arrows. This gives kids a visual representation of what it would be like shooting at an animal in the wild when hunting. They were taught what parts of the animal they should aim at as they walked down the trail to find different animals. Watching this was really cool. One time i went down there I saw that a kid got a really good shot in the deer's chest area where its outlined as the best place to shoot the deer. Congrats to all the kids who hit it!
As the day wrapped up and it started sprinkling at the right time, we knew it was time to come in and do prizes, gift bags, and a certificate. When they got in everyone got a gift bag with fun little goodies like a squirt gun and a small flashlight followed by a lot of different things. Then we called everyones name and gave them their certificates and then got to the fun part. We had raffles for everyone so we started off with the moms. We put a ticket for every mom who attended, they won a iwla insulated grocery bag and a iwla bracelet. The dad’s got a iwla hat and a national shooting sports t shirt. We had two Star Wars fishing poles that got raffled off and two multi tools. Everyone got their balloon prizes and we said our goodbyes to an amazing sprinkling day to keep us cool that was also filled with tons of different activities to keep everyone busy.
Thank you to all the helpers and guests. Also thank you to all the kids and their parents for showing up and gracing us with a fun day!