SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota is a popular destination for hunters, young and old, and the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls is putting kids on the path to hunting safely and successfully.
The Outdoor Campus has its sights set on teaching kids the basics of hunting.
“They’re going to be learning the parts of the gun, how to shoot it, and safety all along with it,” Naturalist Intern Sunni Josephson said.
“Our main focus is always going to be safety and then obviously getting them used to shooting an air rifle and a BB gun and helping them get better at it,” Naturalist Intern Mckenzie Metzger said.
After a short tutorial, the class of 14 kids stepped onto the range to take aim at a series of targets.
“I do have a lot of nerf guns, but I have not shot a real gun,” 9-year-old Brian Witte Jr. said.
9-year-old Brian Witte Jr. picked up a real gun for the first time today with a goal in mind.
“I want to go hunting someday with my dad,” Witte Jr. said.
“So he’s very interested in going hunting and getting into guns and I’m just trying to make sure he understands proper gun safety and we’ll maybe get him a little bit older before we’re out doing some real hunting, but we’ll start with pop cans or something,” Brian Witte Sr. said.
Metzger and Josephson are hopeful the kids walk away with more than just a souvenir target.
“Once they get their first BB on the target, their face lights up and that’s really cool to see so getting them comfortable with the BB gun and seeing them walk away with their target and seeing how many bullseyes they got or how many clays that they were able to shoot, that’s kind of our main goal and that keeps them wanting to come back to learn more,” Metzger said.
“If we start them when they’re younger, they’re more likely to go out when they’re older and then we can create that tradition of them coming back and teaching their own kids and this is exactly what we want with hunting,” Josephson said.
The Outdoor Campus offers a long list of free classes, ranging from hunting and fishing to bird watching and cooking.