Three women head out to the shooting range |

Three women head out to the shooting range

Summit Daily/Brad SutorElusia Andrus (left), Jennifer Harper and Kimberly Nicoletti pose with their shotguns at the shooting range near Kremmling.

When Tom Long visited the Summit Daily News for a brownbag lunch last week, the conversation slowly turned to trap shooting. While our publisher mentioned planning a day at the shooting range for Summit Daily team building activities, us girls wanted action now. Long made shooting sound like so much fun, by the end of the afternoon we couldn’t wait to hold a shotgun in our hands. So we made a call, and the next thing we knew three of us were squealing in delight over shooting a Beretta. Here are a few of our thoughts from the experience.At home on the rangeI don’t care how un-politically correct this sounds, but I don’t like guns. Since I was a child, I’ve been scared of them, because you can kill someone with a gun.I’ve heard all the arguments to the contrary like, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” and, “Guns are safe as long as you know how to use them.” It’s not that I don’t believe these sentiments; I just don’t like guns.So imagine how surprised I was to find myself at a shooting range preparing to shoot guns at little clay pigeons for a story. I’ve never even held a shotgun, much less had any desire to shoot one.

I changed my mind about agreeing to do this when I saw Commissioner Tom Long bring his wife’s gun out for us. I let both of my coworkers volunteer to shoot before me. Elusia bravely went first. I screamed, clapped and jumped up and down like the girl I am when she hit one of the pigeons. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. After Kimberly knocked a few of the pigeons out of the sky, it was my turn. I placed the gun against my shoulder and tried to steady myself. The barrel of the gun was shaking slightly. When the pigeon went flying into the air, I closed my eyes and shot. Probably not the best idea, but it was an impulse.”You hit it!””I did?” I asked incredulously. “I did!”It was such a rush. I jumped up and down (after I handed Tom the gun, of course) and was ready to go again.I hit three pigeons out of five. Not bad for a beginner.I had a great time, but my shoulders are still sore. It’s either from the recoil of the gun or the fact that I was so incredibly tense while shooting. My bet is on the latter.

– Jennifer HarperFun gunnin’It was fun, it was a challenge and I got to wear my flip-flopsWe definitely stood out on the gun range. Maybe it was my flip-flops or the cheering that came when each of us killed a pigeon, who knows. But the fact that a neighboring gunman made sure to point out that it would be loud when the shooting started, let me know everyone could tell we were first-timers.I found myself first in line to shoot clay pigeons with a Beretta shotgun. I had done the shooting beer cans in the backyard with my brothers thing, but this was professional – safety glasses, ear plugs and the right stance and gun positioning.I paid attention to the directions given, then I yelled, “Pull!”The amount of power that came out of the “weapon” in my hands was impressive. I was thrown back a bit, but not enough to hurt. It was exciting and fun, and I was ready to load another shell.

I actually managed to hit a few pigeons, too.The team building and camaraderie between my coworkers and I were apparent almost immediately, and it certainly was an empowering feeling. We laughed and felt strong, and maybe even a little “manly.”- Elusia AndrusGirls gone gunnin’See, that’s the great thing about gunnin’ with women. They lie for ya. Truth be told, I only shot one clay pigeon to smithereens. And it was my first shot.After that, I was so immersed in the experience of hearing the “POP” and feeling the gun recoil into my body, the pigeons didn’t even register.

I mean, who cares about silly orange discs flying in the air when you’re holding a Beretta – or any shotgun for that matter – in your hands for the first time. And not just holding it, but pressing it against your chest and cradling your face against it.Yes, I know this goes against the sportsmen spirit – “How can she miss the entire point of trap shooting?” they ask.I know the little clay critters mean a lot to the sportsmen; they count the ones that get away. But to me, they were merely an excuse to experience something so outside the realm of my ordinary life, that to call it “intimidating,” “empowering” or “really, really cool” would be to downplay it.I’d hate to feel the recoil on a shotgun that wasn’t gas operated; Tom Long was kind to us, lending us his wife’s Beretta. As he said, “This has much less recoil than some other ones which would knock you off your keister.” Indeed, a female coworker said firing a gun knocked her off her “keister,” so I was a little apprehensive. But my keister escaped harm – only my wrist hurt (apparently, I wasn’t keeping my elbow high enough).Long warned us about hootin’ and a’hollerin’ when we hit a pigeon because voices trigger the thrower. He’s had to train the women in the Blue Valley Sportsman Club to temper their celebrations so pigeons don’t fly out when they’re busy jumpin’ around joyously.But we didn’t have that effect on the pigeon thrower. We didn’t hit many pigeons to begin with, so there wasn’t a whole lotta cause for makin’ noise about our achievements.- Kimberly Nicoletti

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