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West Virginia Wildlife
Sharp Shooters
Patrick McMurtry Learn From The Master Marksmen

October 17, 2012
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


One of the coolest things about the annual National Hunting and Fishing Days at Stonewall Jackson, is the chance to watch some of the best marksmen in the world showing off their skills.

Tom Knapp is one of the top shotgun shooters in the country...he can nail half a dozen clay pigeons before they hit the ground, so when he has some tips for beginners...listen up.

"Learning the rules and regulations to begin with, before they get out in the field is a big, big, plus." says Knapp.

Tom knows safety is the most important lesson anyone should learn before picking up a live firearm. The same goes for people getting their first taste of archery. Byron Ferguson is one of the most famous trick shot artists in the world, and he says before you begin even the most basic shooting in the woods, you need to get your practice in on the range.

"My advice to anyone who is just getting into archery, or is maybe already into archery and is not as accomplished as they would like to be, the most important thing to shooting a bow is to hold the bow still, on target. If you're moving the bow to see the arrow fly, all you're going to see is a bad shot." says Ferguson.

That's good advice, and something learned with practice. Guns are a little different. Tom says putting the right gun in the hands of a beginner is crucial.

"It helps to have the right person start the first timers out. Someone who has experience and you start them out slowly. This redneck stuff of handing a kid a 20 gauge and it knocks a kid down and the guy laughs, that's not good. You need to start them out gently so they understand." says Knapp.

Getting a novice out to a good, safe start gives them a better shot at enjoying the sport and that could keep them involved in something positive for the rest of their lives.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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