The Bundaberg Sporting Shooters Association of Australia reopened their shooting ranges last Saturday after bushfires earlier this year and COVID-19 restrictions.
Club president, Barry Smith said it had been a few difficult months, but the break provided ample opportunity to put in new infrastructure and rebuild what was destroyed in the fires.
“The first thing was the fires and they hit us pretty hard,” he said.
“We lost a lot of our fencing, and of course we’d just started to get going again and then got hit by COVID-19 and that really put the squeeze on us for the last few months.
“We opened last Saturday and we’re up to full speed again now.
“We’ve been very successful in picking up a number of grants, so we’ve now got a new disability ramp with an all-access toilet, so we can now cater for all types of people down on the rifle range.
“Up on the pistol range we’ve done a number of improvements including a new under-cover area for entertainment, new kitchen area, and new air conditioning in our training area for safety courses.”
The club is situated 20km from Bundaberg and offers a rifle range, shotgun range, pistol range and an uncommon mover range.
That mover range was expected to be utilised at the Bundaberg branch this year when it held the national action match championships, but COVID restrictions forced the competition to be cancelled.
The cancellation does mean more shooting time for locals and new member Jess Wilkinson said the club welcomes all shooters to come and participate in their chosen discipline.
“I joined the Bundaberg branch last year and have only been a member for around 10 months,” Jess said.
“What made me join was I was looking for a hobby and I’d previously tried shooting and I came here and did the safety course and it was just so inclusive.
“You get a lot of hands-on attention to train you up and they get you used to pistol shooting or whatever your chosen discipline is, and it’s just a great bunch of people.”
Jess said that even first-time visitors to the club could come and have a go.
“We'll appoint a range officer who is trained in safety to help them out on the range with the safe use of a firearm,” she said.
“We can also arrange a loan of a firearm and basically they can get one-on-one training to see if they like the sport and then from there you can step into joining the club and getting your licence.”
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