Shooting Sports

Breaking clays, punching paper, busting caps, flinging arrow and counting Xs are all part of the 4-H Shooting Sports project. Safety first — but lots of fun! The Shooting Sports project includes many options for 4-H members. You will learn safe gun handling skills, and sound fundamentals of shooting under the guidance of caring and knowledgeable adult volunteers.

4-H Shooting Sports is a youth development educational program. It uses the skills and disciplines of shooting to assist young people and their leaders in obtaining knowledge and developing skills. Development of skills within the discipline of shooting and "life skills" is implicit in the program curriculum and explicitly stated for volunteers. It appeals to young people and volunteers from a wide range of urban and rural backgrounds. 4-H Shooting Sports promotes positive youth-adult interaction and peer leadership.

The focus of the Missouri 4-H Shooting Sports program is the total development of the young person. The shooting sports and related natural resource activities are utilized as a vehicle for human growth and development. The Shooting Sports program attracts new audiences as well as enhances the traditional 4-H club program.

As with all Missouri 4-H projects, Shooting Sports is open to any youth from ages of 8 through 18.

Project choices for youth include:

  • 740. Shooting Sports Safety – pre-requisite for other SS projects. See SS policies for additional details.
  • 741. Archery
  • 742. Air Rifle/BB Gun
  • 743. Smallbore Rifle - .22 caliber
  • 744. Air Pistol
  • 745. Shotgun (11 years of age and older)
  • 747. Smallbore Pistol (14 and older)
  • 748. Muzzle Loading (11 years of age and older)
  • 749. Hunting & Outdoor Skills

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Program Objectives

  • To enhance the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of youth through safe, educational, and socially acceptable involvement in a shooting related activity.
  • To teach safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment including sound decision-making, self-discipline, and concentration.
  • To promote the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship, and ethical behavior.
  • To encourage understanding of our natural resources and the development of a personal environmental stewardship ethic by young people through participation in shooting, hunting, and related activities.
  • To strengthen families through life-long recreational activities.
  • To expose participants to the broad array of vocational and lifelong vocational activities related to the shooting sports.
  • To complement and enhance the impact of existing safety and hunter education programs.

Kids ‘N Guns
National 4-H Shooting Sports Committee Position Statements

Why does 4-H have a Shooting Sports program?

4-H uses shooting sports to teach youth development.  Our programs are valuable for helping young people develop self-confidence, personal discipline, responsibility, teamwork, self-esteem and sportsmanship.  The discipline and self-control required for responsible firearms use carries over into many other aspects of life.
4-H programs provide a positive experience for youth and promote the safe and ethical use of firearms.
It is our belief that firearms education reduces gun accidents.
Hunting and shooting are rich American traditions.  4-H shooting sports programs help continue this tradition through involvement of the total family:  youth, teens, parents, grandparents, etc.

Don’t shooting programs like those run by 4-H help spread American’s violent gun culture?

No!  In fact, there is ample evidence that the opposite is true.  The 4-H shooting sports program is designed to teach good self-concept and character, and to promote the highest standards of safety and ethical behavior.  In addition, with 60-80 million gun owners in America, and the vast majoring of them using guns safely and responsibly, America has a peaceful gun culture.
In a society that has chosen to possess firearms, all members, regardless of age should be provided adequate training to ensure safe, ethical and responsible interaction with firearms.

Isn’t easy access to firearms one reason for the violent behavior we’ve seen in Columbine and other school shootings?

The safest location for a responsible gun owner to store a firearm is the secure environment of his or her home.
  Firearms should be stored so that they are inaccessible to unauthorized users.

Isn’t hunting inhumane and unnecessary in modern life?

There are four primary values that arise from hunting:  societal, economic, ecological and historical.
Societal.  Hunting is a viable and healthy food source, promoting good sportsmanship and ethics.  It is a valued part of our American heritage and is exceptionally good mental/physical exercise.  Hunting is an ideal and common family activity.
Economic.  Hunting minimizes the economic loss of human life and property damage that may result from road kills and crop depredation.  Hunters spend millions of dollars each year to pursue the sport, and much of that money goes directly into wildlife management.
Ecological.  Hunting is a vital wildlife management tool.  Hunters’ dollars support wildlife habitat projects in every state in the USA.  Hunting improves the health of natural wildlife populations and contributes to the conservation of our natural resources.  A well-placed shot by a skilled marksman is a more humane cause of death than natural causes experienced by wildlife.
Historical.  Hunting was a necessary method of obtaining food and clothing by our forefathers.  The act of hunting and utilizing game animals, in similar ways, helps us to appreciate the demands and sacrifices that our ancestors faced in the historical development of modern civilization.