Pennsylvania Gunsmith School offers alternative career option

At the 2020 SHOT Show, Ron Spomer introduced me to Robert Thacker and Jamey Wojtaszek. Robert owns the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School and Jayme works there. PGS is doing fine but they’re concerned about the dropping numbers of students across the country in the majority of the gunsmithing schools.

Due to this concern they’re encouraging young people to choose gunsmithing as a career. I hear similar concerns among the gun experts that the numbers of hunters/shooters are dropping and the current ones are an aging group.

So as not to start off as a Negative Nancy, here’s some encouraging news. I attended a seminar at the SHOT Show put on by Safe Shoot, which is an Israeli company. One of the speakers said that actually, shooting is the No. 2 sport in America, even ahead of golf. That surprised me.

If that is the case, then it’s alarming that the number of kids going to gunsmithing schools is dropping because there will obviously be a need for more, not fewer gunsmiths on the not too distant horizon.

I’m about to say something that up until the last few years I was on the opposite side of the aisle. In the past, I encouraged kids if at all possible to go to college. If they couldn’t afford that then at least work and attend a junior college and get an associate’s degree. I no longer hold that stance. Let me explain.

Higher learning institutions have lost their compass. Their goal is no longer to teach kids to graduate work ready. They now have too many hidden social changing agendas. Kids go off to college conservatives and return as socialists. The colleges spend way too much time teaching/pushing these agendas. Many kids no longer graduate with useful skills.

I used to hire a lot of college kids when I was the director of quality control for Con Agra. I had five large beef plants and a cooked plant under me so I had a large QC staff and hired a lot of college kids. Even back then the colleges thought that they knew more what the kids needed to be taught than the industry did. I only had one professor inquire what skills their graduates were lacking in. Is that not bizarre? Would any business survive if it didn’t do customer service audits? Investigate open markets?

Due to my ignorance, I thought trade schools were for kids like in my high school that would have dropped out but due to shop classes they hung in and graduated (Yes, this was all nearly 50 years ago).

Then 15 years ago I started learning what some of the skilled workers were making. Such as linemen, electricians, dental assistants, etc. It costs an arm and a leg to hire a good maintenance man — if you can even find one. So now, if a kid can’t afford college, I recommend they go to a reputable trade school. They may graduate right off the bat $200,000 ahead of the normal college graduate because of no student loans and have an extra two and a half years of wages already in the bank by the time their college buddies graduate.

So, let’s play this out. They could work for an established gunsmith after school and learn the ropes.

After four or five years they could then open their own shop while their college graduate counterpart is still in some menial job barely getting by with no hope in sight and a huge student loan hanging over their head.

So what I’m saying is, if a kid is a hustler but for whatever the reason doesn’t have the option of going to college, I don’t see him/her as being handicapped. There are a million options. Go to beauty school. Same scenario. Work for someone else, learn the ropes and then in a few years open your own shop. When you have a few employees then you are making money off of them as well as your own labors.

Before you think I’m nuts, think about it for a minute. A high percentage of kids go to a four-year school and graduate with a degree that is not in demand and come out with huge debt. On the other hand, a kid could go to somewhere like the PGS and graduate in 16 months. With a part time job, they may be lucky enough to graduate with no/low debt.

It takes four semesters to graduate. Students of any skill level can expect to complete the program. Every student starts at the same spot and being a course hour program, they typically finish at the same time. They have graduates in all 50 states and 18 countries.

I’ve never been to the school but here’s what I’d loosely suggest if you attend the PGS school or another trade school. Get a part-time job so you’re not racking up loans. After you graduate, get a job with a reputable gunsmith that you can learn from. Work for him a few years and learn the ropes instead of opening your own business right off and making costly mistakes at your expense. Then in a few years when you’re comfortable open your own shop.

I stand to gain nothing if you go to the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School or not. If gunsmithing isn’t for you, find what you like to do and be the best you can at it. The moral to the story is don’t feel like a second-class citizen if you can’t afford or have no desire to go to college. Be a hustler and sharpen your skills and you may actually end up better off.

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop.

Raptor rehab: Fish and Game helps rescue, rehab injured raptors

It often starts with a phone call from a concerned person to Idaho Department of Fish and Game. A large raptor is suffering along the side of the road.

Eagles, hawks and owls are attracted to the roadside. The living can be easy — and dangerous. Fish and Game estimates several are hit each month.

Matt Proett, diversity biologist with Fish and Game, said they have had as many as 20 or more reported in a month. Fish and Game partners with the Teton Raptor Center in Wilson, Wyoming, to nurse the birds back to health and release them back into the wild. As of March 13, the center had taken in 14 birds this year.

“I just picked one up yesterday,” said James Brower, regional communications manager for the Upper Snake Region. “It was another rough-legged hawk in the Rigby area. It looked like it had been hit by a car. It had also been sprayed by a skunk. Insult to injury, absolutely.”

Eagles are attracted by an easy meal of roadkill. Owls and hawks perch on roadside fenceposts or power poles and target rodents bolting across borrow pits or open roads. Then a car comes and hits the distracted bird.

Fish and Game recently released three rehabilitated raptors back into East Idaho wildlife management areas — a bald eagle, a barn owl and a rough-legged hawk.

The bald eagle had recovered from a mild case of lead poisoning.

“The barn owl had some head and eye trauma from a car strike,” Brower said. “The rough-legged hawk had some soft tissue trauma and a sore wing, likely from a vehicle collision.”

You can find a short video of the birds being released at tinyurl.com/pr-raptor.

Fish and Game volunteers and Teton Raptor Center volunteers play the role of bird ambulance, delivering the sick or wounded to the center.

“The bird species vary depending on the season and which ones are migrating through the area,” Brower said. “Right now it’s a lot of rough-legged hawks.”

He said saving the birds is not necessarily a matter of protecting the population, “but there are some birds such as great gray owls and golden eagles that are of great conservation need which puts them higher on the priority list. Their numbers are fairly low. This is one way we can make sure they persist on the landscape.”

Once the ill or injured birds arrive at the Teton Raptor Center, experts swing into action.

“They really have state-of-the-art facilities over at the Teton Raptor Center which is the reason we take all our birds over there,” Brower said. “They have X-ray machines and a top-notch vet that works for them. They are second to none when it comes to rehabin’ these raptors.”

Because of donations, the price is also right.

“They do all of it free of charge for us,” Brower said. “They do all their own fundraising.”

To learn more about the Teton Raptor Center and to donate to the rehabilitation of raptors, go to tetonraptorcenter.org.

Fish and Game offers these tips should you find an injured raptor:

• Give it space. Keep your distance to avoid undue stress.

• Get an accurate location and description of what you have observed.

• Call the nearest Fish and Game office.

Scooter’s Youth Hunting Camp always a blast

In 2005, my wife Katy, who is a school teacher, came home from school one day and told me that there were two kids in her school and their dad had been put in prison. She told me that she’d signed them up for some youth hunting camp named the Scooter’s Youth Hunting Camp, and she wanted me to take them to the camp and then take them both deer hunting.

What? I don’t want to sound self-centered, but the camp is held the first Saturday in May. Spring in Idaho is a flurry of outdoor activities. It’s the ultimate for the outdoorsman. Bear hunting is hot, turkey hunting is on, crappie are going ballistic, whistle pigs are coming out in the droves and the morels are popping up. I about died.

Well, I was stuck. The day came and we headed up to the little mountain town of Emmett, Idaho, where the camp was being held. Whoa, this was going to be a big event. The kids were divided into six groups and rotate to the six different stations. In between stations, seminars are conducted. This camp was awesome. I had to help with this deal.

Fast forward 15 years. The camp has grown and we had to go to an online registration. Last year, it filled up with 260 kids in 47 seconds. In a nutshell, here’s how it runs. The kids show up and even though they’re preregistered, they still sign in. They’re given a bracelet that signifies which one of the six groups that they’re in and given a bag filled with goodies donated by various companies. For instance, Swab-ITS gives them some gun cleaning swabs, MyTopoMaps gives them coupons for maps and Blue Lizard gives them a package of sun screen.

The Pledge of Allegiance is said, many times led by an enlisted serviceman about to head out for duty. A prayer is then given by a local pastor and it’s off to the races. Group one starts at the shotgun station, group two at the .22 range, group three at the blackpowder range, group four at the archery range, group five at the knife-sharpening/gun-cleaning station and group six at the survival station.

After the allotted time for that session is over, they gather in the commons area for a seminar put on by a pro-staff member. The seminars are excellent. There are some top-notch presenters like Rockie Jacobsen the owner of Rocky Mountain Game Calls who puts on the elk & turkeys calling seminars and Fowl Weather Custom Calls puts on a waterfowl calling seminar.

After the seminar they rotate to their next station. At noon, volunteers serve lunch to the kids. Due to local donations and volunteer help the kids eat free and have snacks throughout the day. A local donut shop, HeBrews Coffee sets up a donut trailer. I love their sugar/cinnamon donuts.

There’s a raffle table set up that helps fund the camp. At the end of the day is the kid’s drawing. Every kid wins a prize. And I don’t mean a rinky dink Chinese finger pulling gizmo. Last year there were 25 guns, 10 bows, backpacks, knives, etc., given away.

I hesitate to list the generous sponsors since there is no way that I can include them all. Riton Optics, Knives of Alaska, Smith’s Consumer Products, Spyderco, Otis, Swab-It’s, Birchwood Casey, Adventure Medical Kits, MyTopoMaps, Buck Knives, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Blue Lizard and the list goes on and on.

I know it’s business and companies do it for advertisement, but I’m touched by the generosity of the outdoor world. The kids get to attend this all-day camp for free due to the generosity of all the volunteers and sponsors.

Some of the lucky kids draw a hunt. Volunteers take them elk, deer and duck hunting. Where was SYHC when I was a kid?

I finally figured out why Scott McGann aka Scooter is so passionate and developed this camp. If it hadn’t of been for his grandad, him and his brother probably would have never ended up being the sportsmen that they are today. He originally drew up the camp to help single mom’s but couldn’t very well disallow kids with two parents to attend.

I do 50 to 60 seminars and shows per year from Texas to Vegas on up to Alaska. This is the coolest event I participate in all year.

It might be a five-hour drive but you ought to think about enrolling your kid in the camp. Registration is April 1, and you can register here: scootersyouthhunting.camp. Your kid would love it!

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop.

City of Rocks lifts total ban against highlining

The total ban against highlining at the City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park has been lifted.

Park superintendent Wallace Keck said Tuesday that after an assessment of the activity, certain areas away from the historic California Trail viewshed, roads and trails will be allowed to accommodate highlines.

Highlining is similar to slacklining where practitioners walk along nylon webbing stretched between two cliffs or trees. Slacklines are usually only a few feet above the ground. Highlines can be several hundred feet above the ground. Highliners wear climbing harnesses with safety tethers to catch them should they fall.

Keck issued a temporary ban on highlining late last summer after seeing photos of a group highlining between two pinnacles at the state park and personally observing another party highlining at the City of Rocks. Both areas are popular with rock climbers, who make up the majority of visitors during the summer months.

“When there is a new visitor use, there is a requirement of the superintendent to see if it potentially impacts not only the resource but other recreation opportunities or the original opportunities for which the park was set aside,” Keck said.

He said the park was not set aside for highlining, but for its historical significance. A segment of the California Trail, used extensively during the gold rush of 1849, passed through the area on its way to the Sacramento, Calif., area.

“(City of Rocks) was set aside for the California Trail and the cultural history and landscape,” he said. “Any new form of recreation can’t encroach upon the value of the original purpose for which the park was set.”

Keck said after the assessment marked off all the places where highlining was not going to be allowed, “there are still places where highlining would be acceptable.”

Jeremy Shive, a 10-year highline veteran of East Idaho, said people should not expect highlining to become as popular as rock climbing.

“It’s never going to be like climbing,” Shive said. “It takes a lot of skill and knowledge of gear and rigging. And it’s challenging. It’s easy to get on (an easy) 5.7 climb and have fun, but highlining is always going to be hard, even if it’s short. It’s scary being up there. If it was going to take off in popularity, it would have taken off by now.”

Shive said he and friends have highlined at the City of Rocks occasionally in past years, but have rarely seen others doing the same.

There are precedents for highlining in national parks and state parks. Yosemite National Park in California and Smith Rock State Park in Oregon allow highlining with specific restrictions, such as seasonal closures to protect nesting raptors, no highlines over lakes or watercourses or roads or trails, no leaving highlines unattended and protecting trees with padding to prevent damage. An annual highline festival is held at Smith Rock State Park.

Keck said in his assessment that highlining will be managed similar to rock climbing with no application or written permit needed to construct a highline in approved areas with temporary anchors. Areas involving fixed anchors will require park permission.

March trout stocking schedule for Idaho’s Southeast Region

Is it that time of year again? Yes, it’s fish stocking time! Personnel from Idaho Fish and Game’s hatcheries in the Southeast Region will be releasing over 21,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at various locations during March.

Here is the stocking schedule:

  • Bannock Reservoir at the Portneuf Wellness Complex: March 16 to 20 (500 fish)
  • Bannock Reservoir at the Portneuf Wellness Complex: March 30 to April 3 (500 fish)
  • Bear River (Oneida Narrows at Red Point and first bridge below Oneida Dam): March 9 to 30 (750 fish)
  • Bear River (below Alexander Dam): March 16 to 20 (250 fish)
  • Bear River (Oneida Narrows at Red Point and first bridge below Oneida Dam): March 23 to 27 (750 fish)
  • Crystal Springs Pond: March 16 to 20 (250 fish)
  • Edson Fichter Pond: March 16 to 20 (625 fish)

The number of trout actually released may be altered by weather, water conditions, equipment problems or schedule changes. If delays occur, trout will be stocked when conditions become favorable.

March trout stocking schedule for Idaho’s Southeast Region

Is it that time of year again? Yes, it’s fish stocking time! Personnel from Idaho Fish and Game’s hatcheries in the Southeast Region will be releasing over 21,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at various locations during March.

Here is the stocking schedule:

  • Bannock Reservoir at the Portneuf Wellness Complex: March 16 to 20 (500 fish)
  • Bannock Reservoir at the Portneuf Wellness Complex: March 30 to April 3 (500 fish)
  • Bear River (Oneida Narrows at Red Point and first bridge below Oneida Dam): March 9 to 30 (750 fish)
  • Bear River (below Alexander Dam): March 16 to 20 (250 fish)
  • Bear River (Oneida Narrows at Red Point and first bridge below Oneida Dam): March 23 to 27 (750 fish)
  • Crystal Springs Pond: March 16 to 20 (250 fish)
  • Edson Fichter Pond: March 16 to 20 (625 fish)

The number of trout actually released may be altered by weather, water conditions, equipment problems or schedule changes. If delays occur, trout will be stocked when conditions become favorable.

Fish and Game to host Southeast Idaho fisheries open house on March 18

POCATELLO — Anglers are invited to join Idaho Fish and Game staff for an open house to visit about current fisheries management issues and happenings in Southeast Idaho. Pizza and refreshments will be provided, and Fish and Game fisheries staff will share updates on the region’s fisheries and activities planned for 2020. The open house is scheduled for March 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Southeast Region Fish and Game Office, 1345 Barton Road in Pocatello.

Anglers and other community members interested in the status of the diverse fish stocks in Southeast Idaho are encouraged to attend several short presentations by Fish and Game staff followed by a question-and-answer session. Biologists will share the latest population trends and research related to some of the popular fisheries in the area such as the Blackfoot River, Bear Lake, American Falls Reservoir and the Snake River. Several fisheries staff will be on-hand during and following the meeting to field questions and visit with attendees.

This is the first time Fish and Game has hosted this type of event in the Southeast Region, and the fisheries staff looks forward to your involvement. The meeting is not centered on regulation scoping or development at this time but, rather, on engaging with local anglers and increasing public participation in fisheries management.

For more information, contact the Fish and Game Southeast Region office at 208-232-4703.

Fish and Game to host southeast Idaho fisheries open house on March 18

POCATELLO — Anglers are invited to join Idaho Fish and Game staff for an open house to visit about current fisheries management issues and happenings in Southeast Idaho. Pizza and refreshments will be provided, and Fish and Game fisheries staff will share updates on the region’s fisheries and activities planned for 2020. The open house is scheduled for March 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Southeast Region Fish and Game Office, 1345 Barton Road in Pocatello.

Anglers and other community members interested in the status of the diverse fish stocks in Southeast Idaho are encouraged to attend several short presentations by Fish and Game staff followed by a question-and-answer session. Biologists will share the latest population trends and research related to some of the popular fisheries in the area such as the Blackfoot River, Bear Lake, American Falls Reservoir and the Snake River. Several fisheries staff will be on-hand during and following the meeting to field questions and visit with attendees.

This is the first time Fish and Game has hosted this type of event in the Southeast Region, and the fisheries staff looks forward to your involvement. The meeting is not centered on regulation scoping or development at this time but, rather, on engaging with local anglers and increasing public participation in fisheries management.

For more information, contact the Fish and Game Southeast Region office at 208-232-4703.

What’s the fuss about airguns? Part 2

Last week, we did an introductory article on airguns. This week, let’s go a little deeper and assume that you’re interested and want to get into airguns and see what it is all about. If you listen to me, I’ll talk you into buying one of everything! But everyone has some kind of budget that they have to live within so, here’s what I’d recommend to get started.

Buy a decent break barrel to get started. They’re relatively inexpensive, at least as compared to a decent PCP (precharged pneumatic) and way less expensive to operate than a CO2 or a PCP. One word of caution, though: Don’t buy a cheap piece of junk spring-action from China, or you’re just going to get frustrated with its inaccuracy and give up on airguns. I know that about happened to me. You can spend as much as you want, but you should be able to get a decent one for around $225.

Actually, I have two words of caution: Of the airguns that I’ve tested, many of them come with a cheap piece of junk for a scope. I understand their reasoning. Companies are trying to keep the price point down so people buy their airguns, but if it is a super cheap scope on your gun, you’re going to get frustrated and not have fun. It is a dilemma. You don’t want to spend $1,000 on an airgun scope but at least buy a functional one. My Sig Sauer and Crosman/Benjamin have all come with good scopes. If yours doesn’t come with a good one, then check out the Riton Optics Primal X1 3-9×40 or, better yet, their Primal X1 4-16×44. But whatever scope you buy, make sure that it is airgun compatible because a lot of scopes aren’t.

Next topic: Pellets. We all know that it is important to buy not only good ammo but also exact ammo to get good groups and have the ultimate performance out of big game rifles. It is just as important to do the same when selecting pellets.

Some airgun companies are trying to make them cheap pellets so they’re affordable, but many are lightweight and flimsy and impossible to get a good group with. I don’t usually rag on companies because everyone is trying to make a living, but one popular airgun company makes horrible pellets. You might as well throw rocks at your target. The best is made by JSB, but Sig Sauer and Crosman also make good pellets. And then I am about to start testing pellets for two companies out South America: Rifle Ammo and Air Boss. To adequately cover pellets will be a whole article in and of itself, so for now let’s move on.

So what are the opportunities to use airguns? Limitless. I see a lot of options. Let’s list out a few.

Airguns are a great avenue to get your kids into hunting if they’re non-hunters. If they don’t want to hunt, just shoot, then airguns are a great place to start. They’re real guns so kids need to be taught gun safety rules because they can hurt or kill you, but hopefully if they make a mistake it won’t be as dangerous as with a big caliber gun. The good deal about starting out kids on airguns is that they don’t kick and don’t make a loud report. So they’re less intimidating.

You’ll need something to shoot. Sig Sauer makes a lot of cool airgun targets, but if you’re a kid on a paper route budget, don’t forget the all-time favorite: tin cans! Or bottles filled with water.

Hunting options abound. Groundhog hunting is about to hit full speed ahead, and opportunities to shoot pigeons in agricultural settings abound. All farmers and ranchers need them thinned out. They poop in their barns, on their equipment and in their livestock feed bunks and spread diseases.

I saw a video of an airgun guide in Africa and they hunted rats at night while spotlighting. That’d be a blast in a barn, wouldn’t it?

Also, now that a lot of people are buying ranchettes out in the country, there are always varmints to thin out. Starlings, pigeons, rats, etc. It is probably not prudent to blast around your neighbors with your ole 30-06, so why not use an airgun?

Well, once again those pesky editors are limiting my word count so I had better shut down, but you can see why airguns are so popular. Plus, some companies are making some cool ones that your kids would love. Sig Sauer makes some cool modern sporting rifles on the AR platform. Ruger made one that mimics their ever popular 10/22, and Springfield made one that mimics the old .30 M1 Carbine.

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop.

What’s the fuss about airguns? Part 2

Last week, we did an introductory article on airguns. This week, let’s go a little deeper and assume that you’re interested and want to get into airguns and see what it is all about. If you listen to me, I’ll talk you into buying one of everything! But everyone has some kind of budget that they have to live within so, here’s what I’d recommend to get started.

Buy a decent break barrel to get started. They’re relatively inexpensive, at least as compared to a decent PCP (precharged pneumatic) and way less expensive to operate than a CO2 or a PCP. One word of caution, though: Don’t buy a cheap piece of junk spring-action from China, or you’re just going to get frustrated with its inaccuracy and give up on airguns. I know that about happened to me. You can spend as much as you want, but you should be able to get a decent one for around $225.

Actually, I have two words of caution: Of the airguns that I’ve tested, many of them come with a cheap piece of junk for a scope. I understand their reasoning. Companies are trying to keep the price point down so people buy their airguns, but if it is a super cheap scope on your gun, you’re going to get frustrated and not have fun. It is a dilemma. You don’t want to spend $1,000 on an airgun scope but at least buy a functional one. My Sig Sauer and Crosman/Benjamin have all come with good scopes. If yours doesn’t come with a good one, then check out the Riton Optics Primal X1 3-9×40 or, better yet, their Primal X1 4-16×44. But whatever scope you buy, make sure that it is airgun compatible because a lot of scopes aren’t.

Next topic: Pellets. We all know that it is important to buy not only good ammo but also exact ammo to get good groups and have the ultimate performance out of big game rifles. It is just as important to do the same when selecting pellets.

Some airgun companies are trying to make them cheap pellets so they’re affordable, but many are lightweight and flimsy and impossible to get a good group with. I don’t usually rag on companies because everyone is trying to make a living, but one popular airgun company makes horrible pellets. You might as well throw rocks at your target. The best is made by JSB, but Sig Sauer and Crosman also make good pellets. And then I am about to start testing pellets for two companies out South America: Rifle Ammo and Air Boss. To adequately cover pellets will be a whole article in and of itself, so for now let’s move on.

So what are the opportunities to use airguns? Limitless. I see a lot of options. Let’s list out a few.

Airguns are a great avenue to get your kids into hunting if they’re non-hunters. If they don’t want to hunt, just shoot, then airguns are a great place to start. They’re real guns so kids need to be taught gun safety rules because they can hurt or kill you, but hopefully if they make a mistake it won’t be as dangerous as with a big caliber gun. The good deal about starting out kids on airguns is that they don’t kick and don’t make a loud report. So they’re less intimidating.

You’ll need something to shoot. Sig Sauer makes a lot of cool airgun targets, but if you’re a kid on a paper route budget, don’t forget the all-time favorite: tin cans! Or bottles filled with water.

Hunting options abound. Groundhog hunting is about to hit full speed ahead, and opportunities to shoot pigeons in agricultural settings abound. All farmers and ranchers need them thinned out. They poop in their barns, on their equipment and in their livestock feed bunks and spread diseases.

I saw a video of an airgun guide in Africa and they hunted rats at night while spotlighting. That’d be a blast in a barn, wouldn’t it?

Also, now that a lot of people are buying ranchettes out in the country, there are always varmints to thin out. Starlings, pigeons, rats, etc. It is probably not prudent to blast around your neighbors with your ole 30-06, so why not use an airgun?

Well, once again those pesky editors are limiting my word count so I had better shut down, but you can see why airguns are so popular. Plus, some companies are making some cool ones that your kids would love. Sig Sauer makes some cool modern sporting rifles on the AR platform. Ruger made one that mimics their ever popular 10/22, and Springfield made one that mimics the old .30 M1 Carbine.

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop.