Investing in Shooting Sports: Near- & Long-Term Benefits for Affiliate Clubs
The expansion of the North Dakota State High School Clay Target League (ND CTL) has provided many North Dakota Wildlife Federation (NDWF) affiliates an opportunity to invest not only in the rapidly-rising popularity of shooting sports in the state, but also secure a longer-term return in the creation of competent shooters, hunters and conservationists who will become future members of their clubs.
This year, nearly 1,700 student athletes participated in the ND CTL’s spring league, and approximately 1,300 of them shot at the two-day State Tournament in Horace, N.D. on Jun. 15 and 16. Many top placings by individuals and teams sponsored through NDWF grants and money from local affiliates represented those groups’ efforts to engage more young people in shooting sports, and ultimately the outdoors.
“The thing that we see, for a lot of these young shooters and for those not growing up around firearms, is that it makes them comfortable with their firearm,” said Joe Courneya, ND CTL State Director, “the thing we see next is how they connect it to hunting in the state…[CTL] is a nice transition for young people who want to explore getting out in the field and taking advantage of the hunting opportunities we have here in North Dakota,” he concluded.
While the conversion rate isn’t necessarily one-to-one, a far greater percentage of ND CTL participants will have a chance to become hunters - and find success earlier due to their increased skill, which spurs return trips into the field - than those who do not engage in organized shooting sports. With more shooters leading to more hunters, clubs will see an increase in membership from those adults five, ten or twenty years from now who participate in shooting sports today as kids, and will create fond memories of a logo on a jersey or a sponsorship sign behind a trap house, which builds brand awareness for those groups investing in these early years of local trap and skeet shooting teams.
For more information on the ND CTL, or to help start a team at your local high school, visit ndclatyarget.com.
By: Nick Simonson