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Inglis man aims to keep kids shooting

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By JEFF BRYAN
Riverland News

The repoire breaks the silence of a crisp fall morning.
The smell of gun powder wafts through the air.
Light chatter abounds, so not to break the concentration of the shooters.
That's how it goes at Robinson Ranch Trap and Skeet Club in Inglis, nestled off of State Road 40, 1 mile west of Dunnellon.
The facility features trap, skeet, five-stand and Fitask shooting.
There are seven trap fields in which trap is shot from five stations arranged in an arc 16 yards behind the trap house. Targets are thrown at random angles from 40 degrees left to 40 degrees right. Shooters fire five shots from one station, rotates to the right and fires at five more targets until each shooter has completed five rotations and fired at 25 targets.
On this particular day, owner Tom Haynes is working with a group of young shooters from the Citrus County Claybusters, a new 4-H club organized in January. Throughout the past 10 months, club members have been coming to Robinson Ranch Trap and Skeet Club to perfect their shooting techniques under the guidance of Haynes or Les Schroll, the club’s supervisor.
“We’re really trying to get young people involved in the sport,” Haynes said as he kept a watchful eye on the four members of the club present, noting in December a local Boy Scout Troop will be provided lessons.
Haynes spends a few minutes helping the youths on tracking their targets, stance and position. He provides Tyler Ogle with a additional pointers.
“Tyler is stuck having issues with the different weight of the gun he is using,” Haynes explained. “He was used to one gun, but he’s trying a different one today.”
“It takes a lot of concentration,” Ogle said.
He and fellow club members, Blake Muscott Joe Gould and Ophelia Hibbard, one of three girls in the club, have been shooting guns for a long time, they explained. But when Schroll, an ‘old skeet guy’, sought interest in a 4-H shooting club, even he was surprised by the response.
“We had our first meeting in January,” he explained. “In the first month, we had 21 people sign up.”
His reason for starting the club was to get younger people involved in the sport.
“I’ve got the time, the interest and the background,” he said, noting he’s excited about the enthusiasm from the youth involved.
Schroll praised the support Haynes has provided in opening the facility to the Claybusters as well as to Amy Duncan, the extension service agent in Citrus County. With her help, the club secured a National Rifle Association (NRA) grant to purchase six shotguns for the club to use at practice and competition.
“I love it because it’s challenging and fun,” Hibbard, 15, said.
While Haynes keeps tabs on the teenagers, the trap range is in full swing with club members firing away at the various targets. But the trap range isn’t the only busy area.
A cluster of members are gathered at the skeet stand, where skeet is fired at from eight points around and in the center of a semi-circle with targets coming across the shooter from a high house on the left of the circle and a low house on the right of the semi-circle. Targets come directly across the field requiring precision and quickness.
Right next to the skeet, another group of shooters gather at the five-stand, which is set up to establish specific patterns allowing would-be hunters to perfect their skills while shooting for live game such as ducks, quail and rabbits. Five-stand is designed to simulate the random targets one might encounter while hunting. There are 13 different machines positioned around an open field and shooters will fire at targets away, across, up, in, high low and bouncing on the ground at distances from a few yards to 50 yards.
With hunting season rapidly approaching, business is expecting to pick up. The facility also hosts several ATA (Amature Trapshooter Assocation) events throughout the winter months. During an average event in the winter, the club will go through up to 80,000 targets during a three-day event.
For more information about Robinson Ranch Trap and Skeet Club, call Haynes at 352-489-7988 or 352-572-7339 or visit www.robinsonranchtrapandskeet.com.

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