National Shooting Sports Month isn’t until August, but spring is the time to plan your events for maximum exposure and success.
Planning your National Shooting Sports Month Range Events
Brenna McCoubrey, Marketing Manager for White Birch Armory in Dover, N.H., said she’s had a lot of fun putting together the range’s courses and events calendar for August for the past three years.
“The marketing and branding that the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) does around National Shooting Sports Month makes it hard to not want to get involved,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of creative events that cater to both members and nonmembers. Our theme for the month is getting new shooters in the door and capitalizing on the +One movement and really taking the platform that NSSF created and making it our own.”
One of the store’s signature events is “Member Monday.” Each Monday during August, a member may bring in up to two free guests. Tuesdays are “Trigger Time Tuesday,” when nonmembers can come in and shoot. “Family Friday” is a designated time for families and youth to come in to shoot.
“We encourage people to come in with a friend and receive a free swag bag full of National Shooting Sports Month branded hats and the other swag that the NSSF passes along when you sign up as part of the month’s initiative,” McCoubrey said.
The range’s courses also benefit from the National Shooting Sports Month initiative. Some instructors hold a quick competition at the end of their classes; winners receive a National Shooting Sports Month hat.
“There are a lot of ways to activate new shooters,” McCoubrey said. “This year, we’d like to encourage repeat students of our firearms courses to bring in a friend or someone they know who has expressed interest in shooting sports. Our members and students are our best ambassadors, and we hope to get more people in the range and educated on the importance of firearms safety and just how much fun shooting can be.”
National Shooting Sports Month and Youth Hunting
Jason Tackett is the Regional Coordinator for Hunter Safety and Public Ranges at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Lakeland, Fla. Tackett said that when he first heard about National Shooting Sports Month several years ago, the FWC had just started the Florida Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) program. This program is for hunter safety course graduates to learn more about leadership, ethics, and safety, while expanding their knowledge about conservation, target shooting, and hunting. One goal of the program is to pass our hunting and shooting heritage to the next generation.
During National Shooting Sports Month, Tackett holds a huge NSSF First Shots introduction-to-shooting event for young shooters to recruit them into Hunter Safety, YHEC, and other youth programs.
“We make our First Shots event larger than people typically do,” he said. “We’ve turned it into a recruiting tool during National Shooting Sports Month where everyone has the opportunity to shoot .22s, muzzleloaders, shotguns and archery, and we also have air rifles for the little kids. We’ve had different clubs partner with us and help us out. For instance, Florida Frontiersmen runs our muzzleloading portion. The Bowhunters Council, 4-H and Ridge Archers help with archery, .22s and air rifles are done by the Union Academy Air Rifle Team and shotgun is done by the Warner University Shotgun Team.”
Tackett said what he tries to do is give kids exposure to everything and then give them avenues to follow if they like something. Once kids are interested, he points them toward Hunter Safety classes, YHEC, the Junior Olympic Archery Development program (JOAD) and other programs.
“We try to have fun and get kids involved,” he said. “We usually get between 75 and 100 or so kids out for those events. In the past, about 10 to 15 percent of kids and families who participate in our National Shooting Sports Month event go on and get involved in other programs. It’s a little bit of an undertaking, but it does really well for our recruiting efforts.”
About The National Shooting Sports Foundation
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org