WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Class is in session for members of the Wichita County 4-H club.

A local gun range began their annual rifle and pistol class for 4-H members this Sunday, Oct. 18.

Instructors at Northwest Texas Field and Stream said they expected lower numbers this year because of the pandemic, but the members who did come out to participate said they certainly had fun.

Gun owners know, more than anyone, there’s more to firing a gun than just pulling the trigger.

Knowing proper gun safety is the first and foremost procedure students learn before anyone touches the weapon.

That’s what Northwest Texas Field and Stream instills in 4-H members every year as they teach them the right way to fire a rifle.

“We’ve done this for every year since I’ve been a member and that’s over 15 years now. It’s a long-going, long-standing program,” Roger Kroes, Pistol Director, said. “We go through everything. You’d be surprised. After a couple hours of training, they are safer and more competent than any shooter you’re going to see out on any public range.”

The five-week class runs in the fall and the spring, and at the end of April, there is an annual district shoot at the range.

“Over 100 shooters, 250 people in total. We utilize three ranges all-day-long, and they’re shooting for silver belt buckles. So it’s a heck of an experience for them,” Kroes said.

4-H members can participate in many projects, such as public speaking, photography and dog care training, but for those who choose to visit the shooting range, it’s about having fun while learning how to properly handle a gun.

“You can learn a lot of stuff here,” Wichita County 4-H member Destiny Binnion said. “There’s just a lot stuff you can learn, a lot of techniques and stuff. I just really like doing that.”

The perfect combination of fun, education and safety is exactly what makes this 4-H activity worthwhile.

“It’s gotta be fun for them or it’s not interesting,” Kroes said. “We’re competing against computer programs, games. And if it’s not fun, why are they gonna be here? They could be at home. So we like to keep it fun for them.”

Members who keep progressing through the program can be a part of the Northwest Pistol team, and Kroes says every year kid from that team go on to compete at the national level.