Jump to content
Mrs. Peel

"New" Hunter Safety Live-fire Class - anyone familiar with the details?

Recommended Posts

I recently decided to drop my outdoor range in favor of getting a NJ Hunting License (because one of the recently upgraded WMA 100-yard rifle ranges is only MINUTES from my house). I figured that scenario would suit me just fine this year while providing a nice cost savings over the private range I had joined the prior year. So, I was perfectly content with my decision UNTIL I got on the state website just 20 minutes ago, and realized with horror that they just changed the whole format... to my great disadvantage! THIS YEAR they are no longer having the rifle shooters do the live-fire portion with a RIFLE... you must use a shotgun!! What in the blankity-blank?!! :shok:

Now, I'm freaked out!! This is a problem. Even though I'm not terribly experienced with a rifle either, at least I was confident that I could hit whatever they put in front of me. Not so with a shotgun! I'm just terrible with a shotgun! I'm not even sure WHY I'm so bad: my cross-dominance? my less-than-quick-as-a-bunny-reflexes? the sheer uncomfortable "physicality" of shooting a shotgun? the fact that I don't enjoy it so I've only gone a handful of times? Whatever the reason, I'm now very worried about the live-fire test! (And worse yet, since I don't even own a shotgun, I'll probably have to use one of theirs - which means the gun might be too long, too heavy - and I'll shoot even WORSE!) Not only would it be humiliating to FAIL :facepalm: ... but it would throw a wrench into my whole plan!  

So, does anyone here have insights on the live-fire test this year? The website really doesn't describe it. Will I have to shoot moving clays? How many am I expected to hit? Is this something I'll have to practice for? Ugh... I can see the wheels coming right off my 2021 range plans! :cray:  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did the shotgun test years ago.  It's not bad - You don't even have to hit anything.  Just show that you know the rules and how to handle a shotgun safely.  They even quizzed me about the headstamp to make sure you know what you're putting in the gun.  

When are you planning on taking the test?  We'll throw another shotgun shoot to get you some more practice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just did mine last year, I was also nervous, nothing to worry about. I'm sure others will tell you their experience. 

Mostly about safety. Need to know how the action works, open close it and always use the safety if he stops to talk to you. You need to load correctly. Always point down range.

Don't even think the RO cared if I hit anything. If I remember correctly mine was 2 birds up high and a stationary target about 20-30 yards out at ground level.

One thing I did notice was he handed me a 20 ga shell when I had a 12ga not sure if that was a test or honest mistake. 

Don't worry about it. You got it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's a windy/rainy day they will just hang a clay target on a wire stand for you to shoot at.  However, most of the time you're shooting at clays thrown from a clay trap.

The good news is they want everyone to pass.  I don't remember how many shots each person gets.  It's either 3 or 5.  If you hit a couple, you'll be fine.  They are more interested in safety than accuracy.  They guys who teach the hunters ed classes are great and on your side.  If you just can't get it, they'll talk to you off on the side, help you figure out what's not working, and let you go again. 

I don't know what happens if you never hit any at all.  I don't know if anyone fails for that or not.

The other good news is that the traps are set up for you to be able to hit the target.  Hitting a clay that's moving left to right or  right to left is hard.  Hitting one that's moving away from you is much easier because the target is mostly stationary and just getting smaller. That's how I've always seen the hunters ed courses set up.

Grab a friend who knows how to shoot clays and hit the range before the class.   It doesn't take long to get the hang of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm... well, you're all giving fairly perky/positive answers, so thank you for that! 

Though I really don't agree with THIS statement: 

24 minutes ago, maintenanceguy said:

It doesn't take long to get the hang of it.

Ha! You probably think that because you're one of those folks who is naturally good at it! Honestly, of the 3 shooting platforms, I think shotgun is the MOST different from the other 2... and you either have a knack for it, or you don't. And I'm convinced that I don't! At one point, I had a personal goal to be proficient across ALL 3 shooting platforms... but then I picked up a shotgun for the first time, lol, and that dream evaporated pretty quickly! I've been at least 6(?) times now. And I saw ZERO improvement from one time to the next. For whatever reason, it just continued to feel like a humiliating struggle. One in a rare while I hit one, but I'm not even sure WHY I hit that one, and missed the others.  Ridiculous! NOT my platform!

Nonetheless, yeah, I'm going to have to definitely practice beforehand, just in case they expect me to hit one. :facepalm: Besides, each time I shot a shotgun, I used different guns, so I have to refamiliarize myself with their basic operation. I don't know if their "loaner" guns are over-unders, pump, semi-auto, etc? I'm guessing over-unders? Isn't that more of a "hunting" shotgun? I dunno!

@Krdshrk!  You've seen me shoot a shotgun before - it ain't pretty! I don't need an audience. :blush: Thanks for the kind offer though.  Since my uncle (all-around gun guy) is retired, I will ask him to meet me over at that range on a weekday (when hopefully it's really empty). We might have to go a few times. A quiet environment would make it MUCH easier for me to focus. Quite honestly, I find the Shotgun Shoots to be nerve-wracking. That's just ME mind-screwing myself, nothing more! I find it really hard to focus with a crowd, with a lot of noise... particularly when I'm struggling to learn a skill). EVERYONE was VERY nice! Again, it's just me getting in my own way. I don't have a class date yet btw... I still have to go through the online portion sometime this week.

Ugh, I still think it's RIDICULOUS that people who have NO INTENTION of shooting shotgun are required to TEST with a shotgun! What a stupid, stupid plan. :mad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I predict you'll do fine, but another practice session or two may put your mind more at ease.  In addition to hitting the WMA range with your uncle, consider going to an actual trap range.   Most, like the North Jersey Clay Target Club in Fairfield, will set the trap to throw only straightaways if they aren't busy...and I don't imagine they are on weekdays.   That is less useful for simulating hunting, but it might help you get the hang of hitting targets when every one is thrown precisely like the one before it.  

You're right, it is harder to diagnose problems with a shotgun, since when you miss you don't have to immediate, visible feedback of a hole in the paper to show where the shot went.  But, once it clicks, you'll find you get better really quickly.

If you can bribe your uncle to not only come to a practice session with you, but also come to the live fire test, you can borrow the same shotgun for both and avoid the 'unfamiliarity' problem.

  • Informative 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bklynracer said:

One thing I did notice was he handed me a 20 ga shell when I had a 12ga not sure if that was a test or honest mistake. 

That was part of it really - I got asked about the headstamp on the shell and how I know it's 12 vs 20.

 

25 minutes ago, Mrs. Peel said:

@Krdshrk!  You've seen me shoot a shotgun before - it ain't pretty! I don't need an audience. :blush: Thanks for the kind offer though.  Since my uncle (all-around gun guy) is retired, I will ask him to meet me over at that range on a weekday (when hopefully it's really empty). We might have to go a few times. A quiet environment would make it MUCH easier for me to focus. Quite honestly, I find the Shotgun Shoots to be nerve-wracking. That's just ME mind-screwing myself, nothing more! I find it really hard to focus with a crowd, with a lot of noise... particularly when I'm struggling to learn a skill). EVERYONE was VERY nice! Again, it's just me getting in my own way. I don't have a class date yet btw... I still have to go through the online portion sometime this week.

Ugh, I still think it's RIDICULOUS that people who have NO INTENTION of shooting shotgun are required to TEST with a shotgun! What a stupid, stupid plan. :mad:

You know we don't judge at all!  When we have experienced people including instructors like Rosey.  

The reason that they switched it to shotgun is that the majority of hunting possible with a firearm in NJ is done with a shotgun.  

I can also offer my thrower and time if you want to get some more practice in... and I have a 20ga which is easier to handle too..

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on your location, you might consider a trip up to Thunder Mountain in Ringwood.  If you can get there during the week, it's generally pretty quiet.  They have practice trap stations where the clays are just moving away from you, and the instructors will go through the mechanics of shotgun operation and have you breaking clays in no time, (at no additional charge).  Probably worth the trip, as it will surely allay your anxieties. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its been shotgun for a number of years, since at least before I took you to said WMA.

My friend recently went through this. He had to do the online bit, then scheduled the in person part. Test is simple enough most people would likely pass without having ever even studied any of the material IMO.

Live fire, I did not notice anyone having significant problems.  Gun I used was not one I am great with, and I missed at least one, but they were more concerned with safe handling. My instructor specifically was more interested in talking about my shotgun since it was similar to his.

Course is also for kids as young as 10 or 12, so there may be a youth shotgun available which will greatly help you. Unfortunately, a lot of us do not have options ideal for *you*.

I will say that a super light single shot 20ga is considerably  LESS pleasant to shoot than a normal weight 12ga. That mass of a 12ga helps make it more of a fast push than a sharp kick. I remember your issues with a front heavy gun, so you may have to endure some extra kick for a few shots.

You might want a semi auto 12 or 20ga if you can access one, will help absorb more kick. I have a few shotguns you are more than welcome to try (and a thrower) but none are really short models that would fit you properly, nor am I good at explaining how to hit with a shotgun. I am also very low on target loads of 12 or 20 (or .410), so you will need some of your own, but offer stands.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As some others have stated,, it's a safety test.  Not an accuracy test.

If I recall correctly from when I took the test a few years ago, you just shoot at the ground.  They want to make sure you know how to safely load, operate and shoot.  They provide a shotgun.

Keep in mind, they WANT you to pass.  Everyone there was very helpful and friendly.  Just study the material, take the test and do the live fire.  You'll be fine 

They had a "nature walk" before the test where they went over a lot of the material.  Even gave a few helpful hints like, "This MAY be on the test...so pay attention".

Good luck.  You'll do great!

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually just did mine last month at Hudson Farms. The whole session lasted about an hour. While I was given a gun I was unfamiliar with (Remington 1100) the proctor walked me through the operation just fine. I fired a grand total of three rounds as that's how long it took me to hit a clay:lol:. It was a very pleasant experience other than the cold wind LOL. They just want to see that you know how to safely handle the shotgun and follow instructions if/when prompted. Personally Ms. Peel I don't think you have anything to worry about it.

  • Agree 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/8/2021 at 11:36 PM, planenut said:

I actually just did mine last month at Hudson Farms. The whole session lasted about an hour. While I was given a gun I was unfamiliar with (Remington 1100) the proctor walked me through the operation just fine. I fired a grand total of three rounds as that's how long it took me to hit a clay:lol:. It was a very pleasant experience other than the cold wind LOL. They just want to see that you know how to safely handle the shotgun and follow instructions if/when prompted. Personally Ms. Peel I don't think you have anything to worry about it.

I completed my "live fire" yesterday at Hudson Farms.  I also used a Remington 1100 semi-auto (very nice gun BTW) and hit one out of three "birds".  I was done in less than 15 minutes.  When I finished, I went to the club house to get my license.  That process took five minutes.  A very pleasant experience!

  • Informative 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dilbert1967 said:

I went to the club house to get my license.  That process took five minutes.  A very pleasant experience!

Full license or just the yellow card?  The yellow card is just proof that you passed the course and that you're eligible to get the license.  You need that the first time you actually get it.  Not sure if Hudson Farm actually can issue licenses (the green printed ones)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Krdshrk said:

Full license or just the yellow card?  The yellow card is just proof that you passed the course and that you're eligible to get the license.  You need that the first time you actually get it.  Not sure if Hudson Farm actually can issue licenses (the green printed ones)

Hudson Farms can issue the green printed license.  The yellow card is issued to you when you report back to the check-in table to leave after successfully completing the live fire.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...