April 7th, 2016

Hickory Groundhog Shoot — Report from North Carolina

Hickory Vale NC Ground Hog Shoot Competition

This past Saturday, April 2nd, the Hickory Groundhog Shoot was held in Vale, North Carolina. One of the nation’s most popular varmint competitions, the Hickory Shoot offers a host of valuable prizes. Here’s a report from Jonathan Trivette, who attended the Hickory Shoot for the first time this year.

A First-Timer’s Experience at the Hickory Shoot, by Jonathan Trivette
The Bullseye Groundhog Shoot, aka The Hickory Shoot, is one of the most unique groundhog shoots that I have ever attended. This event, held the first Saturday of April every year, is very well-organized — it runs like clockwork. This year was my first time attending this Shoot and I was impressed. There were 215 shooters and the match was over by 1:00 pm. After the main match they sell chances to shoot at an egg at 500 yards. Shooters that hit the egg receive a cash award and get their name on the Egg Hall of Fame Perpetual Trophy.

The shoot starts at 8:00 am and you are allowed to sign up the day prior and that morning until the match starts. The range is open the week prior to the match for practice so you can get familiar with the venue. The match has two classes: Custom (Open) and Factory. Entry fee is $25.00 per gun. The Custom Class permits any gun and caliber you would like to use and you can use most any type of rest. Some of the Custom Class guns can weigh 40 pounds or more. The Factory Class is limited to factory guns, and the only rest(s) you are allowed are bi-pods and sandbags. This year Clifton Odell won the Custom Class with a 95 score while Kevin Philbeck won the Factory Class with a 75 Score.

Hickory Groundhog shoot Bullseye sporting goods

The scoring is done in a different fashion than what I am used to but it works and eliminates any debate as to shot score value. A shot must fall completely inside a scoring ring in order to count as that score — it cannot touch the next farther ring at all. [Editor: The Hickory employs “worst-edge” scoring, meaning if you cut a scoring line you get the next lower score.]

Back in 2010, father and son Terry Brady (L) and Chris Brady (R) topped the Custom Class:
Hickory Ground Hog Shoot

The Hickory Groundhog and Egg Shoot is the richest varmint shoot East of the Mississippi. The 36th annual Hickory Shoot was held this past weekend. The event is hosted the first Saturday of April each year by Larry Willis of Bull’s Eye Sporting Goods, (704) 462-1948.

In years past over $7,000 worth of prizes and cash has been awarded. The normal course of fire consists of three sets of paper groundhog targets at 100, 300, and 500 yards, and NO Sighters. Shooters can also compete in an Egg Shoot for cash and other prizes. The basic entry fee is just $25.00 per gun. That’s cheap for a chance to win a bundle of cash, plus valuable prizes such as Shehane stocks and Nightforce optics.

Hickory Shoot Course of Fire
The course of fire is three (3) shots at the groundhog target from the prone position at three different distances, 100, 300, and 500 yards. They do have a bench for handicapped shooters that can not get down in the prone position. Most competitors will shoot at the head at 100 yards because the points are higher. The other two distances that are normally shot are 300 yards and 500 yards.

Relays Run Like Clock-Work
The shoot is run very smoothly with one relay shooting while the next relay waits outside the shooting area, ready to go. Once a relay is done, shooters grab their items and exit on one end of the shooting platform while the next relay comes in from the other end. You must quickly set up and get ready because as soon as the target pullers get back they are ready to shoot. When the fire command is given you have two minutes to get your three shots off at that distance. When the cease fire is called you quickly grab your gear and get off the shooting platform because the next relay is coming in.

Hickory Groundhog shoot Bullseye sporting goodsAcknowledging the Winners
At the prize ceremony Larry Willis presents the awards to the top shooters. He also acknowledges the Junior Shooters and even gives out prizes for best-looking male and female shooter and who drove the farthest. I had a chance to speak with Larry after everything was over on Saturday and you could tell that he really enjoys being able to put on this event for his fellow shooters. So whether you are looking to kick off your groundhog season or your summer shooting season, if you find yourself looking for something to do the first Saturday of April next year, make the trip to Vale, North Carolina for the annual Groundhog Shoot. The range is located at 8216 Will Hudson Road, Lawndale NC 28090.

CLICK HERE for 2016 Bullseye Hickory Groundhog Shoot Complete Match Results.

How to Get to the Hickory Shoot

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April 7th, 2016

Nielsen-Kellerman Launches New Ballistics Website

Kestrel Ballistics Website Nielsen-Kellerman

Nielsen-Kellerman (NK), makers of Kestrel® Weather Meters, has launched a new website, www.KestrelBallistics.com. The new mobile-friendly site features a Schoolhouse section with a wide range of information for long-range shooters of all skill levels. There you’ll find “How-To” guides and technical articles by respected ballistics and firearms experts. Along with the Schoolhouse, and a resource section offering free downloads of technical manuals, NK’s new Ballistics website will feature a webstore where customers can purchase long-range shooting accessories such as scopes, range finders, weather vanes, and Kestrel weather/ballistics meters. Along with Kestrel products, the eStore will offer Bushnell optics, MagnetoSpeed chronographs, and Accuracy 1st Ballistic Solvers.

The Schoolhouse resource offers articles from Kestrel’s own experts as well as Kestrel’s industry partners Applied Ballistics and Accuracy 1st. The purpose of the Schoolhouse section is to provide up-to-date information about industry advances and new techniques, as well as to provide comprehensive, detailed “how-to” guides for owners of Kestrel Weather Meters and Ballistics Calculators. Shown below is the Schoolhouse section that explains how to set up a Kestrel.

Click Image to Visit Information Page
Kestrel Ballistics Website Nielsen-Kellerman

CLICK HERE to Download 10-Step Kestrel Guide as PDF

“As Kestrel has progressed in the long-range shooting space, we have seen that there is a real thirst for knowledge among long-range shooters. Just as we never ship a product without ensuring that it will provide accurate, reliable information, we will ensure that KestrelBallistics.com only contains articles, advice and products that customers can rely on. We are truly enjoying expanding our customer offering in this area.” stated Nielsen-Kellerman CEO, Alix James. NK’s new Ballistics site provides information and resources that can benefit all long-range shooters, whether they are primarily interested in hunting, competitive, or tactical shooting.

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April 7th, 2016

First-Ever Fantasy Shooting Camp is a Big Success

Las Vegas NSSF Fantasy Shooting Camp Jerry Miculek Jessie Duff

Baseball and car racing have their fantasy camps, and now the shooting sports has its own successful version following the inaugural NSSF Shooting Sports Fantasy Camp last week in Las Vegas. Sold out just days after being announced, the Shooting Sports Fantasy Camp attracted 30 shooters from across the country. The big draw was the opportunity to work with top shooting champions Jessie Duff, K.C. Eusebio, Julie Golob, Jerry and Kay Miculek, and Dianna and Ryan Muller. The NSSF made sure that “fantasy” wasn’t just a catchphrase. Not only were Camp guests provided personalized instruction by top shooting pros, but the Fantasy Camp included a three-night stay at the luxurious Las Vegas’ Aliante Hotel + Casino + Spa, all meals from arrival to departure, as much ammo as Campers could send downrange for the weekend, a bevy of new guns to try, evening cocktail receptions, plus a swag bag full of shooting gear.

“It was awesome,” said camper Georgiann Pharis. “[This] far exceeded any expectations I ever had.” And she added, “When [the pros] ride to the range on the bus with you, that says a lot to me. They’re not above you. They’re here on our level showing us how to get to their level. That’s a big plus.”

Jessie Duff Was One of the Fantasy Camp Instructors
Jessie Duff Fantasy Shooting Camp

Industry Sponsorship Support
“We knew when this event sold out immediately that we were onto something big,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer. “We are always looking for ways to connect the industry with our customers, to show the public that shooting sports are on par with other major league sports[.]”

This first-ever fantasy camp was made possible through the support of many companies: SIG SAUER, Ruger, Taurus, PolyCase Ammunition, Hornady Ammunition, Winchester Ammunition, Federal Premium Ammunition, Kahr Firearms Group, HIVIZ Sight Systems, FIME Group/Arex, and LWRCI.

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