Plinking…The Lost Art
Some of the best memories my dad and I made were of those warm afternoons spent on my uncle’s farm plinking. Now a plinking episode for us was something to behold. I spend all month collecting pop cans, coffee cans, and whatever else would make a suitable receptacle for those tiny lead bullets. After our usual safety briefing we would poke holes in pop cans and watch them fly off the saw horse, falling back toward the backstop. For shotgun shooting we would throw cans in the air and shoot them out of the sky. Pistols, rifles, shotguns, every firearm had a place at the bench of this time honored tradition. At the ripe old age of 10 I really enjoyed those outings where it was just me and dad. Man to man….
These summer months are the perfect time to get kids excited about the upcoming fall hunting season by taking them out to the shooting range for some family fun. Your shooting range can be a formal facility with benches, shade and target holders or it can be a time honored location on the family farm with a safe backstop just waiting for tin cans. When it comes to sighting in for the hunt I really like benches and shooting at paper targets. Such effort allows me to know where the gun is shooting and what changes if any I need to make. Once I am confident I can hit the broad side of the barn from the inside…I like to have a bit more fun plinking.
Plinking has different meanings to many people. For me it is a whole lot more fun to make cans dance and charcoal burst than it is to simply poke holes in paper. For many, I think we have forgotten how much fun creative plinking can be. Ever watch a charcoal briquette explode in the air. Chances are your supermarket has a back room full of rotted fruit that can really make for fun shooting. Such targets are biodegradable and require little clean up. Kids love instant gratification. Odds are their smart phone allows them all sorts of fun activities. Plinking allows such gratification to be shared with friends and family. Racing tin cans with a 22 caliber rifle is a blast (pun intended)! Even at the target range we can simulate plinking with the various “fun” paper targets that have become available. Tic-tac-toe takes on a whole new meaning with pistols. Ever play Battleship as a kid? A new paper target called “Battleship” will entertain the whole family for hours! Sink your opponents ship before they sink yours! Now that is serious fun!
In Lincoln, there are a few options for shooting enjoyment. The Lincoln Trap and Skeet Gun Club located just northwest of 48th and Superior offers trap, skeet and now sporting clays to the public. If you have never tried sporting clays…my friend you are missing out. The club recently launched a new sporting clays range on the north end of Boosalis Park and it is a neat one for sure! Within 15 minutes, you and the kids can be walking a wooded course shooting clay targets from the air in a simulated hunting fashion. They also offer limited instruction for new shooters so call for details. Also located in Boosalis Park just west of Lincoln Trap and Skeet is one of the finest public archery ranges in the Midwest. The Lincoln archery range boasts two 14 station field courses and a target range that is as nice as I have ever seen (thanks to the maintenance provided by the good folks of the Lincoln Prairie Bowmen Archery Club). On the south end of Lincoln, the Lincoln Izaak Walton League offers handgun, rifle, shotgun and archery shooting opportunities galore on several shooting ranges. The facility is open to members and their guests and is a real treasure for Lincoln. Southwest Lincoln hosts the Prairie Bowmen archery range open to members of their club. This is another great group of folks that love archery shooting and teaching new participants. Just a few miles outside the Capital City is the Roger Sykes Outdoor Heritage Park located in scenic Platte River State Park. This is a great place for families and new shooters to learn the basics, especially if you don’t yet own a gun. This facility offers shotgun, rifle, archery and air gun opportunities by trained staff that really know how to teach shooting sports. For more information go to www.outdoornebraska.org as this new facility is one of the finest in the nation.
If you have never shot before, I encourage you to participate in a firearms safety workshop or Hunter Education class. These programs teach proper firearms handling, safety and a whole lot more. Hunter Education classes are a lot of fun, you will learn a ton and registration can be had online at www.huntsafenebraska.org.
Plinking is just a great way for families to spend time together and enjoy time honored traditions. It will also prepare you well for the upcoming hunting season. Observe the rules of firearm safety and just have fun. Don’t forget the eye and ear protection! Come to think of it…those days dad and I spent plinking taught me a whole lot more than just sight alignment.