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FAQs for Parents


  1. What is the time commitment for my son/daughter in Shooting Sports?

You and your son/daughter will decide.  The first four meetings each year are most critical primarily for new club members to learn safe firearm handling rules and practice them with air rifles from the benchrest, prone, sitting and standing positions.  Upon successfully completing these training sessions, club members are encouraged to try different shooting disciplines if they have an interest.

Virtually everyone finds shooting fun.  4-H strongly emphasizes safety in shooting sports and provides an opportunity for youngsters to have fun in a safe, supervised, and structured environment.  When young people no longer have fun shooting, they will scale back their participation level.

Practices in prior years have typically run from April through September as follows:

Archery –                    Thursdays  from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Rifle & pistol –           Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Shotgun –                   Fridays from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Attendance is not mandatory but a participation record is maintained.

Directions can be found here to Elrod’s farm:


  1. Are there events or shooting disciplines in which my son/daughter will be required to participate?

First year members must complete the first 2 firearm safety and familiarization meetings;  other than that, no.  Even at the first few meetings, new members will begin shooting air rifles with their own individual coach by their side the second day.

Your son/daughter will have the choice to decide in which disciplines they wish to participate, how frequently, and whether or not they wish to participate in competitions.


  1. Who are the coaches?

Shelby County Shooting Sports has approximately 12 shooting sports coaches and 2 coordinators for this season.  As in most 4H club activities, all are unpaid adult volunteers who have passed a criminal background check and been trained in their respective disciplines.

An additional requirement for 4-H Shooting Sports coaches, coordinators, and Teen Coaches is that each must have enrolled in and successfully completed a Kentucky 4-H State Shooting Sports training and certification course for each discipline in which they are certified to coach.  The semi-annual certification courses are sponsored by the Kentucky State 4-H Shooting Sports Committee and taught by nationally certified 4-H instructors.  Some coaches also hold additional coach/instructor certifications from the National Rifle Association and/or Boy Scouts of America, and all have many years or even decades of hunting, shooting sports competition, and youth marksmanship training experience.

All of your Shelby County coaches recognize that youth firearms safety and marksmanship skills training have exceptionally significant benefits for young people well beyond the shooting range.  Participants in shooting sports tend to have better concentration skills, be more organized and individually responsible, are better able to prioritize, and in short are better students at school.


  1. What is the coaching philosophy in Shooting Sports?

Shooting safety, youth development & fun.

Gun safety and archery safety are always the first priority!

Everyone in 4-H Shooting Sports recognizes that there are individuals who just want to come out and bang away at targets and, as long as they do so safely and responsibly, this it is what shooting sports is all about.  There are other young people who take their shooting very seriously and aim, quite literally, for a college scholarship, or the National Matches held a Camp Perry, Ohio, or even the Olympics.  Most young people are somewhere in between.  The coaches and coordinators recognize that each young person is an individual with their own self-defined goals.

The Shooting Sports coaching philosophy of Shelby County 4-H is safety first, and then to provide each individual club member with the level of support and instruction the individual club member chooses in order for them to safely achieve the level of success they have defined for themselves.  The coaches will lead club members but will not push.


  1. Can I coach my son/daughter at 4-H Shooting Sports practices?

Respectfully, no.

It is certainly a good thing for you to participate in shooting sports as a recreational activity with your family and child(ren) and 4-H Shooting Sports can be an extension of those activities – for your child(ren). However, structurally, there are clearly insurance and certification issues for the 4-H program to have non-certified parents on the shooting line.  We certainly welcome, solicit, and appreciate parent participation in Shooting Sports, in fact the program could not survive without it, and note that the state certification workshops are scheduled for Spring & Fall.

Functionally, a primary objective of Shelby County Shooting Sports is to have all of the club members think of  themselves as members of the Shelby County Shooting Sports “team.”   A large part of that perspective derives from everyone having the same set of coaches.


  1. What equipment is provided?

Shelby County 4-H Shooting Sports has been an active component of Shelby County 4-H for more than 20 years.  Over that time, the club has received generous monetary grants, contributions and donations, and donations of equipment from national and local outdoor sporting organizations and clubs (NRA, National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Unlimited and others), as well as local businesses and individuals.  The club owns  a variety of bows (w/ arrows), BB rifles, air rifles & pistols, shotguns, and .22 rifles for the exclusive use of club members.  The club also has limited supplies of accessories such as required personal protective equipment (safety glasses and disposable foam ear plugs), and archery arm guards and archery gloves in various sizes.


  1. Are there any supplies I will need to bring for my son/daughter?

Yes.  Everyone should bring the following to every practice:

  • Sunscreen – shooting is an outdoor sport.
  • Insect repellent – there are usually lots of 6 and 8 legged critters on the ground and flying about.
  • Hat – to keep the sun out of eyes.
  • Something to drink – bottle(s) of water are best. (Note: caffeinated or carbonated beverages of any kind are not conducive to accurate shooting and are very much discouraged).
  • Folding chair, hat and possibly an umbrella for shade – for the club member’s transportation personnel.

The following are considered each shooter’s personal equipment.  The club has a limited supply available for members use but most participants opt to acquire their own.

NOTE:  Firearm ammunition is NOT provided and each shooter must bring their own or purchase from club.

  • Arm guard – to protect the archer’s bow arm from string slap.
  • Archery glove or finger tabs – to protect the archer’s fingers while drawing the bowstring.
  • Archery trigger-type string release – significantly improves archer’s success.
  • Belt quiver – to hold the archer’s arrows.
  • Eye protection – either clear, non-tinted safety glasses or prescription glasses with plastic lens.
  • Ear protection – either ear muff-type hearing protectors, reusable plastic ear plugs (which need periodic cleaning), or a supply of disposable, single use foam ear plugs (most common).
  • Shooting pad or mat – beach towel, sleeping bag pad, exercise mat, blanket, carpet remnant, etc.
  • Ammunition (depending on which discipline a club member chooses to shoot)
    • BB’s – standard steel.
    • .177 pellets – flat nose target-type only; may not be pointed or domed.  Sold in tins of 500 pellets – on average, a 90-day supply.
    • .22 long rifle – standard velocity, solid point preferred.  May not be hollow point per state rules.  Specific requirements will be discussed before practice and posted on website. Average use is about one box (50 shots) per person per practice.NOTE:  .22 LR ammunition has been very difficult to find anywhere and is very expensive if located.   ATK (Alliant Techsystems, Inc) is the parent corporation of Federal Premium Ammunition and Omark / CCI, two of the largest ammunition manufacturers in the United States.


      ATK continues its long-standing commitment to support youth shooting sports organizations by making available .22 LR practice ammunition directly to clubs such as Shelby County 4H Shooting Sports which dramatically reduces the consequences of the ammunition shortage for our club.  If fact, their assistance is so critical that without the ammunition ATK makes available, it is unlikely we would be able to continue to participate in smallbore rifle and pistol training, practice, and competitions.

  • Small spiral note pad & pen/pencil.
  • Small plastic fishing tackle box or ammunition can large enough to contain the above.
  • Eye protection – either clear, non-tinted safety glasses or prescription glasses with plastic lens.
  • Ear protection – either ear muff-type, reusable plastic ear plugs (which need periodic cleaning), or a supply of disposable, single use foam ear plugs (most common).
  • A shooting vest, game belt, or shell pouch to carry ammunition while shooting.
  • Ammunition – specific requirements will be discussed before practice and posted on website. Shotgunners will typically have the opportunity to shoot up to 100 rounds (4 boxes) per practice.
  • Clay targets – each shooter must bring one case  of clay shotgun targets to each practice.  There are no targets at the trap range.  No targets = no shooting!   No exceptions!

All of these supplies are available at local, big-box retail stores,  specialty retailers in and around town, and online.


  1. Should I consider purchasing a bow or gun for my son/daughter?

Generally no, especially if this is your son or daughter’s first or second year participating in 4-H shooting sports.  The club already owns a variety of bows (w/ arrows), BB rifles, air rifles & pistols, shotguns, and .22 rifles for the exclusive use of club members.  All club equipment shoots very accurately and is consistently well maintained.

Bows or guns can also be a relatively expensive investment.  If your intention is that the bow or gun will be used by your 4-H club member, keep in mind that the bow or gun must conform to the state 4-H Shooting Sports rules, which are rather specific about what constitutes equipment we are allowed to use (http://www2.ca.uky.edu/4-H/shooting-sports/policies )  While these rules are perfectly appropriate for 4H purposes, the broader utility of some conforming equipment may be more restrictive than you might like.

Another thing frequently overlooked is that a bow or gun must be size-appropriate for the individual using it.  Ill-fitting equipment can make shooting very uncomfortable, will definitely make successful shooting more difficult, and may actually present a safety concern.   Well fitting equipment, on the other hand, will make the shooter more comfortable, successful and safer.  Additionally, youngsters in the 4-H age range are growing rapidly and any equipment that may fit an individual today may or may not fit them next year, or in some cases, even by the end of the shooting season.  Using club equipment allows the coaches to fit club members and gives the young people an opportunity to try all of the different shooting disciplines 4-H has to offer, as well as trying different brands and models of bows and guns.

Coaches will be happy to discuss any these issues with you any time.


  1. Does a parent/adult have to be present at practices?

Yes, this is required.


  1. What happens if our family goes on vacation during the summer or we are otherwise unable to come to practices?

You’re going to have a great time!  We’ll miss you and look forward to picking up where we left off when you get back.


  1. May my son/daughter use a bow/gun that we already own?

Possibly.  Please bring your bow or gun in a suitable case or box to any practice and consult with one of the coaches.  There have been club members who have successfully used equipment that was actually older than the coaches – please allow this observation to pass without undue comment.

The criteria the coaches will use when examining your bow or gun will be:

  • Does it conform to the state 4H equipment rules?
  • Is it in fundamentally sound, safe operating condition? Any question about the condition may require the item to be referred to a professional bowyer or gunsmith at your expense.
  • Is it appropriately sized for your son/daughter?
  • Has it been well maintained? How worn is it?
  • Will shooting it enhance or detract from your son/daughter’s enjoyment of shooting sports?
  • Will shooting it enhance or detract from your son/daughter’s likelihood of success at shooting?


  1. How do you communicate with parents/club members if practices are canceled due to weather?

Shooting practice may be canceled in the event of inclement weather.  Notice of weather cancellation will be posted on the website one hour prior to the starting time of the scheduled practice.  You may also call one of the coaches to find out as well.


  1. What are the optional competitions?

4-H Shooting Sports clubs are organized in Kentucky by each county’s Extension Office.  The clubs in some counties have access to substantial range facilities and choose to hold open or invitational matches for other 4-H Shooting Sports clubs in Kentucky.  You will find links to many of these events on the Shelby County 4-H Shooting Sports website.

The host club is usually charges a fee for each event in which a club member participates (maximum of 3 events per member per day).  The fees usually run from $8 – $12 per event ($20 – $35 per event for shotgun).  The fees are used to cover insurance, range costs, targets, and awards (trophies and/or ribbons, sometimes T-shirts or other recognition).  All event organizers, range officers, registration and scoring personnel are 4-H adult volunteers.

Participation in these events is totally voluntary, however the coaches must be certain that each club member wanting to participate knows and consistently adheres to the safety rules and has sufficient experience at practices in the particular shooting discipline.  No Shelby County club member, however, will ever be required to participate in competitions.

Where there is sufficient interest by our club members in attending specific events, the coordinators and coaches will organize a car caravan to the event location and supervise our club members’ participation.  These events are usually all day affairs, usually on Saturdays, and a lot of fun for the club members and their families.  Competitions also represent an excellent learning, youth development, and team building opportunity.

There is also a 4-H state shooting match for all disciplines held in September, each year.  There are usually 75 to 80 counties from all over the state that send over 1,000 4-H Shooting Sports club members who compete in almost 2,000 events.


  1. Are there any additional fees or costs for participating in Shooting Sports?

Yes, one required and one optional.

A $10.00 fee is charged all Shelby County Shooting Sports club members – without exception – for 2019-20, to cover the cost of club insurance.  No one will be allowed to participate or practice without first having paid this fee.

Shooting Sports Team T-shirts.  The official Shelby County club team T-shirts – selected by a Shelby County 4-H Shooting Sports Committee in 2020.  Club members can purchase shirts.  Parents, grandparents, and younger siblings are all encouraged to wear team T-shirts in solidarity with your Shelby County 4-H Shooting Sports club member, especially if she/he is interested in participating in competitions held in other counties.


15.What else do I need to know?

You’ve already found the website.  You may access the 4-H registration forms online at the Shelby County Extension Office website.  This website is the primary means of communication with club members but you will also receive periodic email notifications of upcoming events and meetings.  Please be sure that your registration form lists at least one email address that someone in your household checks regularly.

If you have more questions and would like to speak to an individual, you may call the Extension Office at  (502) 633-4593

Shelby County Extension Office

1117 Frankfort Road

Shelbyville, KY   40065

If you would prefer email, just send an email to:  [email protected]