Broncos learn safety and marksmanship skills with the Sportsman’s Club

Boise State's Sportsman's Club, Sporting Arms Club
Photo courtesy of Emma DeRee

The Boise State Sportsman’s Club, also known as the Sporting Arms Club, missed out on their season last year due to COVID. Now, these marksmen are ready to get back on the line and give it their best shot.

“The Sportsman’s Club is a group of individuals who get together and learn safety, technique and how to properly shoot at a clay target,” said sophomore kinesiology major Emma DeRee. “There are two different events that the team participates in, trap and skeet.”

DeRee has been shooting for over six years and competed in many different tournaments, including state shoots and national championships in high school. Ever since COVID hit, DeRee’s season, as well as the team’s season, had been cut short.

“There were no tournaments last year because of COVID regulations,” DeRee said. “But now since COVID regulations have loosened their grip on the program, things are starting to go back to normal.” 

Boise State's Sportsman's Club, Sporting Arms Club
Photo courtesy of Emma DeRee

The Sportsman’s Club promotes gun safety in practice and tournaments. Before a member even picks up a gun, everyone has to take a safety class on how to properly handle a firearm. However, most students who join the club are already educated on how to use a gun.

The Sportsman’s Club offers to teach newcomers how to shoot even if you have never picked up a gun. Donations that are made to the team often go towards purchasing ammunition for members of the team.

According to junior environmental studies major Trevor Peck, members don’t need to have their own gun to shoot on the team. The team offers a choice to rent a gun for the day as long as they stay on the premises and follow safety guidelines. Members are also allowed to rent a gun for the day through the team itself.

Practice is held on Sundays at 2 p.m. at Boise Gun Club Trap and Skeet. However, many marksmen on the team go out to practice all throughout the week, meaning there are other times to practice than Sundays.

“During practice, we are all divided up into skill groups, and since … I’m in the newer skill group, our coaches will help by giving pointers,” Peck said.

Tournaments start in January, where the team will travel to different schools’ shooting ranges and challenge each other for who can shoot the most clay pigeons out of 100. 

The sportsman’s club doesn’t just teach how to shoot a clay pigeon or gun safety. Members of the team say that they have learned more.

“It’s helped me fix some of my tendencies from hunting and introduced me to a whole new culture of shooting,” Peck said. “I was really surprised about the culture. I was expecting others who just shoot shotguns, but they were different. They weren’t always my people to be around originally, but the team is starting to grow on me.”

One of the most mentioned problems from the Sportsman’s Club is that they don’t receive enough publicity and that students aren’t aware of the club.

“Since we are a club that uses guns and is a bit frowned upon, we could always just use a spotlight to just show others that our program is safe and fun,” Peck said.

One of the most unique aspects of this sport is that all participants need is a good eye and a steady hand. Competitions are gender-neutral, and members said that the Sportsman’s Club is accepting of anyone and everyone who has a passion for firearms.

“If you are looking for a sport that is very inclusive and everyone can participate, then the Sportsman’s Club is for you,” DeRee said.

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