The Forbush Hunter Safety team is on its way to the state competition. After winning its district competition, team members took a brief hiatus and are now back in the saddle practicing according to the new rules for the 2017 state match.
Typically the rules for the district and state matches are the same, but this year there are many changes. For starters, the skeet thrower has now been pushed forward 16 yards in front of the shotgun line. This is just the one of several changes.
This year they also allow shooters to use scopes on their rifles. Most people thought this would be an unfair advantage, but when asked, Jordan Dinkins replied, “It is definitely not an advantage because we have to shoot from a farther distance and with the scope you can see all your movement while shooting, which can cause target panic.” Target panic is a phenomenon that is caused by one’s crosshairs floating over the target and the shooter jerking the trigger when he should be aiming and squeezing the trigger not jerking it which will result in a bad shot.
They also have made changes to bow, too. Typically they shoot five shots at 10, 15, 20 and 25 yards. Each shot is worth 10 points for a possible 200 points total. This year, however, they are starting at 15 yards and finishing at 30.
All of these changes are coming because the wildlife officers that run the competition are trying to make the district and state competitions more like the national competition. Most states don’t have to change how or what they shoot for the different competitions. North Carolina is one of the only states left that still changes what it shoots for different competitions and it is starting to slowly transition to how all the rest of the other states shoot.
This year they are not have a test a state either. They are having an animal ID trail instead, like they do at nationals.
The best part about all these changes is it puts everyone on the same playing field. Most importantly, it puts Grey Stone, Forbush’s biggest competition, on the same level as Forbush. In years past, FHS’s only weak point was the test, but this year without the test, Grey Stone has no advantage over the Falcons.
Forbush team members hope for the best this year, but for now all they can do is practice and wait to bring home first place.
Jordan Yale is a senior at Forbush High School.