Lafayette County 4-H Schedule
Teaching youth archery and air rifle with social distancing in place is a challenge. However, this can be good practice for adult instructors to learn how to develop future teaching strategies when working with groups of youth. During an adult certification workshop, instructors learn that placing their hands on a child is only necessary in unsafe equipment handling situations. Emphasis is placed on learning to teach basic shooting skills by using demonstrations, clear voice instructions, and diagrams to teach proper shooting techniques. Always provide beginners a safety orientation to equipment use, range commands, shooting/equipment terminology, and how instructions will be taught.
Attached is an approved program request from Washington County. This is a good example of how to manage a county shooting sports program during Covid. Washington County does have several certified instructors who can share the additional teaching time it takes when social distancing is required. The other major issue is having greater access to the ranges many county programs have traditionally used. Where we used to have 10 to 12 youth on a shooting line, with our limited numbers now, this may require a one-day practice to be a two-day practice, providing the county has certified instructors to cover the added time. Plus, with these additional days needed, access to the sportsmen’s clubs becomes a scheduling issue. This truly is a challenge for our awesome shooting sports volunteers.
Everyone will need to have on a mask for a county shooting sports event. Provide disposable masks for those who arrive without a mask. Have disinfectant wipes for equipment cleaning. Recommend not providing a food service. Have hand sanitizer in several locations especially at the entrance of the range and the building. A roll of tape to mark shooting line positions on the floor. Post signs for air rifle participants which read: Wash hands with soap and water when finished, pellets contain lead.
To manage participant numbers for practice, use an online pre-registration or sign-up system so families can see which practice times are available.
Each instructor must be certified in the discipline they are teaching and currently enrolled as a 4-H leader.
This will be a challenge. Traditionally, 2-3 beginners would have an instructor or an experienced older youth watching and assisting. Following present Covid guidelines, one certified instructor would be supervising 6-7 youth on the shooting line. In addition, standing next to them to demonstrate becomes a distance issue . Most of the safe handling procedures can be taught at a distance for archery and air rifle (6 feet). However, the loading of a pellet in an air rifle can be an issue for beginners. To demonstrate the loading procedure, numerous videos are available on the internet. Almost every air gun company has a video on how to use their equipment. Locate the video for your equipment and have the youth view it as a requirement prior to their first session.
Management of Shared Equipment
- Where possible, youth should use their own bows and arrows and not share these with others.
- When using county equipment, if possible, have bows and arrows in another room away from the range. Have an adult in that room handing out bows and arrows to youth while maintaining distance if there is a waiting line. This adult would need to be familiar with how well the bow fits the archer. Examples: Giving a Mini Genesis bow to an older youth. Giving out the wrong draw weight bow. Or, giving out arrows too short for someone with a long draw length….all are risk management issues.
- Arrows – Both hip quivers and ground quivers could be used. Suggest their own hip quiver be used so disinfecting quivers is not necessary. Youth should be instructed to only retrieve their arrows from their target. Often the older youth will help a younger youth pull their arrows – need to avoid both touching the same arrow surface.
- If paper targets are used, each child should take their target home when finished shooting. Have an adult put up targets and take them down and the adult should use disposable gloves to remove and replace target pins which secure the 4 corners of the paper target to the backstop.
- When finished shooting, each youth should return their county bow and arrows to the room where they received them. An adult will need to wipe down each arrow and the bow with a disinfectant before it is returned to the adult distributing equipment. Give special cleaning attention to the bow grip and the string where the arrow is placed at the nock point…which is the finger contact area on the bow string.
- Shooting with a mask on doesn’t appear to interfere with the anchor point. For beginners who are shooting fingers, this means pulling the bow string to the corner of the mouth for the proper anchor point. An adult must initially observe each archer checking to see that the mask does not interfere with the bow string when released. Suggest archers use their own mechanical release when possible. If county mechanical releases are used, they need to be disinfected upon return to the adult cleaning equipment. Arm guards, gloves, and finger tabs would likewise need cleaning if shared.
- Archers need to follow the required social distance on the shooting line and when retrieving arrows from their target. On the shooting line use tape on the floor to indicate where to stand. If targets are close together, have archers alternate walking downrange when retrieving arrows.
- All shared equipment will need to be disinfected after each use. Attention given to those areas where hands touch the forearm and the face touches the stock.
- As with archery, have a separate area to pick up and return shared equipment for cleaning that is managed by adults knowledgeable on the use of the equipment. One adult can help youth with proper equipment fit, the other adult cleans returned equipment.
- Have an adult designated to oversee the distribution of pellets/BBs to each shooter. If shared pellet blocks are used, cleaning after each use is needed. (Making a pellet block at home is a good project with a parent and then exhibit the pellet block at the fair.)
- Always have youth wash their hands when finished, pellets contain lead so washing is a must. Post a reminder sign to wash hands with soap and water.
- Shooting mats & kneeling rolls– it is almost impossible to disinfect shared shooting mats/rolls after each use. Suggest youth bring their own if they have them.
- Have an adult replace targets on backstops and remind youth to take their target home. The adult changing out targets need to use disposable gloves.
- Where to stand on the shooting line needs to be marked with tape on the floor using current social distance requirements. Good luck.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Randy Cushman 608-642-2771 Ryan Cushman 608-778-4164
Dave Zasada 608-482-1311 Tim Richardson 608-574-0463
Jeff McCarthy 608-732-2414
All members wanting to compete in the fair shoot must attend a minimum of 3 practices
For statewide shoots please go to:
If you have any questions, please contact:
Lafayette County UW Extension office at (608) 776-4820.