Dakota County Gun Club held annual rifle sight-inConnor Day bends low over his rifle. A camoflauged baseball cap shades his eyes as he peers through a scope at his target yards away. He steadies the rifle against his shoulder and squeezes the trigger. Bang!
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Connor Day bends low over his rifle. A camoflauged baseball cap shades his eyes as he peers through a scope at his target yards away. He steadies the rifle against his shoulder and squeezes the trigger.
100 yards away, a hole appears in an orange-and-white target. It’s high and to the left. Another few shots give similar results. Something’s wrong with the scope.
That’s OK, though. It’s the kind of information day and about 170 other eager hunters were looking for when they showed up at the Dakota County Gun Club Saturday for the club’s annual deer rifle sight-in. Better to know now that the scope is off than next weekend when Day will be in Great Falls, Mont. and the paper target could be replaced by a living, breathing white tail deer.
The 14-year-old Dakota County Gun Club, located off of 170th Street in Empire Township, has held the rifle sight-in events nearly as long as it’s been around. It invites the public in on the four weekends before the start of the hunting season to help hunters make sure they’ll hit what they’re shooting at when they head out into the woods.
“It’s a safe place to make sure they can sight in their deer rifle ... so when they go out deer hunting they’ll be able to hit their target without wounding an animal and having a deer go out and suffer,” club member Leroy VanBrunt said. “We don’t want that to happen.”
The club has targets set up a 25, 50, 100, 200 and 300 yards. On Saturday shooters are lined up from one end of the range to the other. Some fire small-caliber rifles that make a quiet pop. Others have shoulder high-powered weapons that startle even people wearing earplugs.
“It’s like a small war,” club member Mike Larson said.
The club charges adults $7 to shoot. Kids under 16 who present a certificate from a gun safety course shoot for free.
Putting the event on takes a lot of work. Larson said the club tries to have as close as possible to a one-to-one ratio of shooters to club members ratio. Club members keep the range safe and use spotting scopes to let people know where they’re hitting. They suggest adjustments.
It typically takes 10 to 12 shots to get a rifle properly sighted, Larson said.
“If we’re not busy or don’t have a shooter backed up, we’ll let them shoot as long as they want to shoot,” Larson said.
Some of the shooters who come out to the deer rifle are trying to fine-tune rifles that have gotten out of whack. Others, like Day, are getting used to new weapons.
“He’s gotta be able to hit the target or there’s no sense in going,” said Kevin Day, Connor’s father.
The gun club will hold its final rifle sight-in events of this year Nov. 1 and 2. The events run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The club is located at 17501 Station Trail. For more information go to www.dakotacountygunclub.org.