Against this backdrop was the sound of children and teenagers living the experience with their parents, learning guns and archery from the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club.

“It’s a really good, fun experience. It’s a really good time, and it teaches people who don’t know how to use a gun how to use a gun,” said Xavion Scott, 19, who is first came to the event three years ago. since.

Scott traveled to the event with his mother and two younger siblings from Morristown, about an hour away.

Volunteer Jon Christensen helps Bennett Kramer, 9, of Pine Island, safely shoot a shotgun at a flying clay target during the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club youth shoot on Saturday, August 21, 2021, near from Mantorville. “Our goal here is to introduce children to shooting sports and to emphasize safety,” said Henry Schultz, club communications and membership director and one of the event coordinators. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

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According to Henry Schultz, the club’s director of membership and communications, the event has been going on since the early 2010s. It often draws a solid crowd of young shooters, with attendance typically between 250 and 300 youngsters and parents.

Greg Leth, one of the volunteers helping to organize the event, said it was a way for young people to learn important concepts.

“The responsibility of needing to be safe with a gun is a good learning experience for children,” he said.

There were plenty of options. In one area, students could use a shotgun to shoot clay pigeons. In another firing range, they could fire a Remington 223 rifle at pins up to 300 meters deep. There was an archery range and a field of 22 rimfire rifles. For the younger and more inexperienced shooters, there was even a range of BB guns and a video game option, allowing kids to try out their digital poultry hunt by hand.

Volunteer Taylor Scholz helps 7-year-old Levi Peterson of Byron with archery and arrows during the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club youth shoot on Saturday, August 21, 2021, near Mantorville. "Our goal here is to introduce children to shooting sports, and to emphasize safety," said Henry Schultz, club communications and membership director and one of the event coordinators.  Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Volunteer Taylor Scholz helps 7-year-old Levi Peterson of Byron with archery and arrows during the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club youth shoot on Saturday, August 21, 2021, near Mantorville. “Our goal here is to introduce children to shooting sports and to focus on safety,” said Henry Schultz, club communications and membership director and one of the event coordinators. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

At each station, club volunteers helped students learn. How to hold arms. How to aim. How to muster enough strength to pull the bowstring.

Some parents not only provided marginal support, but actively helped their children in the learning process.

As they lined up for their 22 rimfire rifle turn, Marilee Theobald taught her 5-year-old son Wesley how to determine which eye was dominant. She taught him to hold his arms in front of his face, creating a rough triangle-shaped opening with his index fingers and thumbs to mimic a bezel. Then she taught him to close each eye, one at a time, to see which was stronger based on its alignment with the triangle.

“Looks like you’re dominant in the left eye,” Marilee told Wesley.

Later, Wesley tried archery. He said it was his favorite part of the day.

“I really like hitting the balloons,” he said.

Volunteer Matt Skinner helps Maggie DeCook, 7, of Mantorville, shoot a .22 rifle for the first time during the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club youth shoot on Saturday August 21, 2021, near Mantorville. "Our goal here is to introduce children to shooting sports, and to emphasize safety," said Henry Schultz, club communications and membership director and one of the event coordinators.  Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Volunteer Matt Skinner helps Maggie DeCook, 7, of Mantorville, shoot a .22 rifle for the first time during the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club youth shoot on Saturday August 21, 2021, near Mantorville. “Our goal here is to introduce children to shooting sports and to focus on safety,” said Henry Schultz, club communications and membership director and one of the event coordinators. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin