Figuring out where to shoot just got a lot easier, thanks to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
It's common knowledge in the hunting community that taking your weapon out of storage early, dusting it off, and taking it to a shooting range for some much-needed target practice is one of the most essential hunting season preparations you can make. Unless you have somehow figured out a way to hunt year-round, you are going to have to shake off some rust in the fall before you head out into the woods to take aim at some deer.
However, if you are new to your area or to the sport of hunting in general, you might not have the first idea of precisely where to go to practice shooting. Bowhunters have an advantage in this regard because they can easily just stroll out in an open field, set up a target, and start shooting. Target practice for guns is more regulated, and you can bet you are going to be paid a visit by your town's finest police officers if you try to start shooting at a woodpile in your backyard. Quite simply, you have to get out there and find a shooting range.
If you don't know where to find a shooting range near your home, you have a few options. For many, the easiest way is to ask around among local hunting friends. However, if you've just moved to a new area, the "asking around" strategy might not be a good idea. Unless you luck out an move in next-door to a die-hard hunter, going up to your neighbor's front door and asking for directions to the nearest shooting range might be a good way to kill the relationship before it even starts. Imagine being asked, by a complete stranger, where he can discharge his lethal firearms, and you'll probably understand where we're coming from.
The solution is WhereToShoot.org, a website and mobile application maintained by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and touted as "the web's most comprehensive directory of shooting ranges." The site gives shooting range owners a place to update their location, business name, contact information, and other data so as to facilitate information that is almost 100 percent accurate.
As for users, WhereToShoot.org is a very intuitive and easy-to-use tool - even for the technologically challenged hunters among us. When you direct your browser to the site, you will greeted by a homepage offering a wealth of resources for shooters. Click the "Find a Place to Shoot" tab and you will be directive to a simplistic finder tool. By simply entering your location information and your weapon of choice, you will be able to find a nearby shooting range that meets every one of your needs.
The search is also helpfully open-ended, so that you can find shooting ranges in different ways. For instance, you can browse all shooting ranges by state, like if you are looking for a new hunting-centric town to call home. You can also enter your zip code and search all shooting ranges in a certain mile radius from where you life, good if you have already settled on a new home and need to find the shooting ranges that are most accessible to you.
Interested in trying it out? Head to www.wheretoshoot.org to experience a new way of finding shooting opportunities.