Gunsite Training for Hunters
Well after a week at Gunsite I now REALLY know what I didn't know! That is...in terms of rifle handling and shooting. After burning up over 400 rounds of ammunition I found out a lot about myself and my rifle.
I have been handling firearms and been in the hunting fields since a very young age. I barely remember the first time I fired a ''real gun''. I must have been about 6 or 7 years old. I have always been a fair shot, able to hit a lot of what I shoot at most of the time. I have missed my fair share which helped me learn how to hit a bit better. I always wanted to be a better shot, especially with a rifle. This past week at Gunsite may have given me the tools I need to improve my field shooting.
As an Arizona resident I am ashamed to say I have not been to Gunsite before this trip. I have always wanted to get training there but it never seemed to work out until now.
I have taken a number of shooting classes in the past but none of them were taught by folks as qualified as those that Gunsite employs. Our Range Master Il Ling New was outstanding. We have all seen instructors of one kind or another try to fake their way through a particularly tough question. This is not the case with Il Ling, she had a vast wealth of knowledge and answered even the most complex questions clearly. She is also one of the most skilled people I have ever seen handle a rifle. The smoothness and dexterity she employs is enviable. I am sure it came with a lot of practice.
The two coaches who assisted Il Ling were also excellent. Bill Halvorsen a retired law enforcement officer and Mario Marchman a current police firearms instructor are two Gunsite veterans with almost 40 years of instruction experience between them. They added a lot to the course and paid careful attention to the students to assure everyone was working to their ability.
The course we took was the 270 General Rifle Course which covers everything from the absolute basics to more advanced rifle shooting. The course is designed to teach you to hit an 8 inch kill zone at up to 300 yards. That is more than enough skill for African Safari Hunting or North American hunting. Since the weather was fair we were even able to shoot out to 400 yards. One or two students decided not to shoot at that distance for whatever reason but those that did were indeed able to hit the kill zone at 400 yards.
This is a very practical course and is the pre requisite for the more advanced rifle courses. Everything they teach in this course is applicable in the field.
Gunsite does not simply teach people how to shoot, they incorporate a "mind set" into the curriculum that can not only improve your shooting, it could save your life. To those not familiar with that ''mind set'' it is the mindset of the ''fighter'' not the ''victim''. What does the average hunter need with that? You ask. To those that hunt dangerous game it is obvious, when a buffalo or a leopard comes at you, you must have the mind set to (as they say at Gunsite) ''work the problem'' and ''stay in the fight'' you cannot allow yourself to freeze up lest you end up as food or a buffalo doormat.
So what does a deer or plains game hunter need with all of this? In some instances people will react to a high stress situation like chasing a wounded animal with the same paralysis one might encounter when being attacked, they freeze at exactly the time they must act. When an animal is wounded it is the responsibility of the hunter to dispatch the animal as humanely and quickly as possible. So freezing at that moment is undesirable. Gunsite instructors help you to maintain control of yourself and teach you the basics of continuing to ''work the problem'' until it is solved. Whether it be saving your life or ending that of your prey.
I am looking forward to returning to Gunsite in a couple of weeks for one of their Hunt Preparation classes which is a 3 day course designed to apply the skills learned in the 270 course to hunting.
I can recommend Gunsite without reservations. Whether you are an experienced hunter or brand new to the sport you will learn what YOU didn't know, you didn't know! - TJR
2900 W. GUNSITE ROAD
PAULDEN, AZ. 86334
Phone: 928-636-4565 Fax: 928-636-1236