DNR Campers Blast Into Muzzleloading

Drew Hall | July 24, 2006

The thunderous echo of a muzzleloader from the shooting range at Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center (CEWC) almost caused me to drop the box of GON magazines I was bringing to the campers. I laughed at myself for not expecting it as laughter and enthusiatic voices filled the silent void after the boom. As I approaced the range the other campers were anxiously discussing their chance to shoot a muzzleloader with GON there to record it.

These kids, ages 11 to 14, were participating in a week long DNR camp. They’d been studying herpetology, geology, wilderness survival, water-safety, hunter-safety and many other essentials any outdoor-oriented youngster needs to know. But all of the campers apprehensively awaited this day when Dave Meredith of Black Powder Products Inc. spent an afternoon at the shooting range with them. Several of the campers had shot guns before the 90-degree day on July 12, but none had ever experienced muzzleloading.

After a brief lesson in gun and shooting range safety, all of the campers took turns shooting the muzzleloader at targets around 20 yards away on the range. Some campers complained about having to wear ear protection but soon learned its importance as the next shot echoed into the trees. Most of the campers were anxious to shoot the gun, but there were a few reluctant ones.

One small girl was afraid of the gun and noise at first, but after seeing the other campers shoot she decided to give it a try. She liked it so much she even asked to shoot it again. As the campers’ shooting practice concluded, the counselors decided to give it a shot. They seemed to enjoy it almost as much as the campers. When Dave asked for help cleaning up targets, the campers all announced, “Range Cold,” before entering the range as instructed to do in Dave’s safety demonstration.

Afterward Dave game campers outdoor bags containing safety whistles, space blankets, and other survival tools. GON also gave away magazines and decals. This was Dave’s third time visiting with the campers at CEWC. He stated, “I really like spending time with the kids and look forward to doing it again.”

All who participated thanked Dave for his efforts and excitedly departed bragging of how well they’d shot the gun.


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