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Take Aim at a New Challenge
Shooting Sports are a popular part of any Scout summer or winter camp, and with properly trained adult supervision can be offered as part of an individual Scout unit’s weekend campout. Rifle, shotgun, pistol, BB (for Cub Scouts), sling shot (for Cub Scouts), or archery activities can challenge a Scout’s concentration and patience while developing target shooting skills.
Safety is critical, so our council maintains a committee of highly trained volunteer leaders who will help you should you wish to develop your own weekend activity. The Shooting Sports Committee maintains its own website with additional information at http://www.cacshootingsports.org/.
Whichever activity you choose, it’s important to make sure you’re providing a safe environment. The Boy Scouts of America requires at least one adult leader to first complete a Range Safety Officer training course before planning or conducting a shooting sports activity. These courses are offered several times throughout the year, typically at the shooting or archery ranges at our Lost Pines Scout Reservation or Camp Tom Wooten in Bastrop.
Approved Shooting Sports Activities
BB Shooting (Cub Scouts only)
BB guns are a part of the Cub Scout Shooting Sports program. They are a great way to introduce young Scouts to the skill and discipline necessary to take part in shooting sports. Scouts will have fun with this activity, but it’s also important that they learn the safety rules that come with how to handle and care for a BB gun as well as how to act on a shooting range. Cub Scouts may only take part in BB shooting at a district Cub Scout Day Camp or council-hosted camp or activity. Individual Cub Scout Packs may not offer these programs on their own.
Your pack may use the BB gun range at Camp Tom Wooten’s Fort Sam Houston activity area. But, you must have an adult trained as a BB gun Range Master in order to use that facility.
Archery (Cub Scouts level)
Archery challenges young Scouts in ways mentally and physically different from BB guns. The equipment used for Cub Scouts is age-appropriate while emphasizing a serious approach to safety and respect for proper behavior on and around the shooting range. Just like with BB shooting, Cub Scouts may only take part in archery at a district Cub Scout Day Camp or council-hosted camp or activity. Individual Cub Scout Packs may not offer these programs on their own.
Your pack may use the archery range at Camp Tom Wooten’s Native American Village activity area. But, you must have an adult trained as an Archery Range Master in order to use that facility.
Archery (Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouting, Exploring level)
As Scouts become older, their options and opportunities increase for taking part in shooting sports activities. With properly trained adult supervision, Scouts BSA Troops, Venturing Crews, Sea Scout Ships, and Explorer Posts may offer their own archery activity on a unit camp out. The key phrase there is “properly trained adult supervision” – you’ll need an adult who has completed the Level I Archery Instructor certification course in order to operate a unit-level archery activity.
Youth in a Scouts BSA Troop may earn the Archery Merit Badge; you can find the requirements here. To earn a merit badge, a Scout must work with an adult who is a registered merit badge counselor. This can take place as part of a troop’s monthly activity or, perhaps more commonly, during summer camp or winter camp.
Rifle and Shotgun Shooting (Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouting, Exploring only)
This is what most people usually think of when they hear the phrase, “shooting sports.” Shooting rifles and shotguns are one of the activities that interest youth the most in our outdoor program. While we want our Scouts to have fun with every activity we do, use of these firearms carries an increased need for maturity and adherence to safety rules and practices.
With properly trained adult supervision, Scouts BSA Troops, Venturing Crews, Sea Scout Ships, and Explorer Posts may offer their own rifle and/or shotgun activity on a unit camp out. To conduct one of these unit-level shooting activities, you must have:
- an adult present who has completed Rifle Instructor or Shotgun Instructor Training
- an adult present who has completed the Range Safety Officer (RSO) Training
These adults cannot be the same person; you need two separate people, each with the aforementioned training, to satisfy this requirement. Additionally, if you are conducting your unit shoot at our Lost Pines Scout Reservation you’ll need additional instructors and Range Safety Officers to meet ratios required by the Lost Pines range.
Youth in a Scouts BSA Troop may earn the Rifle Shooting Merit Badge (see requirements here) or Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge (see requirements here). To earn a merit badge, a Scout must work with an adult who is a registered merit badge counselor. This can take place as part of a troop’s monthly activity or, perhaps more commonly, during summer camp or winter camp.
Pistol Shooting (Venturing, Sea Scouting, Exploring only)
Only Venturers, Sea Scouts, and Explorers may shoot pistols.
Your Venturing Crew, Sea Scout Ship, or Explorer Post may hold your own pistol shoot, but there is an extra step required to satisfy our safety rules. You’ll need to have an adult present who has completed the Pistol Instructor Training course; you can’t take this course until you have completed Rifle or Shotgun Instructor Training. Just like with a rifle or shotgun shoot, you’ll also need an adult who is a trained Range Safety Officer (and remember, these must be two separate people).
Additionally, if you are conducting your unit shoot at our Lost Pines Scout Reservation you’ll need additional instructors and Range Safety Officers to meet ratios required by the Lost Pines range.
Statement on the use of National Rifle Association training courses
The Capitol Area Council and every other Boy Scouts of America (BSA) local council follows the policies and procedures of the BSA National Shooting Sports Manual. The manual requires that shooting sports events for Scouts must be staffed by properly certified instructors and range safety officers. This is an essential element of ensuring a shooting sports event that is safe for youth participants.
As part of developing the safety standards and policies and procedures set forth in the manual, BSA has determined that all BSA shooting sports events should be conducted according to a national standard. This includes a national standard for the training of instructors and range safety officers. In the absence of such a national standard, different councils would be able to develop their own standards, not all of which would necessarily ensure the safety of shooting sports participants.
While there are local organizations that provide such instruction, the National Rifle Association (NRA) Training and Education Division is the only nationally and internationally recognized certification body for such training. This group provides the materials and standards for training both instructors and range safety officers. These courses and materials are presented in our council by trained, certified volunteer Scouting leaders. There is no requirement that instructors and range safety officers become NRA members, nor that they subscribe to any political views of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (the political arm of the NRA). Our council and the BSA are both apolitical organizations that do not promote or advocate for any interest group’s political views.