CATTARAUGUS - Many local families enjoy hunting and target shooting as a sport.
This means, of course, that their homes probably have guns on the premises.
That's why the Cattaraugus Rod and Gun Club, in a joint effort with the Cattaraugus Police Department, has planned a shooting safety event for interested parents and their 12- to 18-year-old sons and daughters.
"We feel this will be a great opportunity for young people to learn how to handle and use weapons safely,'' said Don Veith, Cattaraugus police chief. ''It's also a chance for parents, either Mom or Dad, or both, to bond with their children while participating in an activity they enjoy."
The meet will be held Saturday at the Cattaraugus Rod & Gun Club, just north of the village on Route 353. It will get under way, rain or shine, at 10 a.m. with a range safety course that will certify youngsters for participation in an afternoon of 5-stand shooting, in which both they and their parent get to shoot at clay birds from various angles and positions.
The firearms used will be 12 or 20 gauge shotguns. People may bring along an old favorite if they prefer, or they may use one of several which the club will make available. All guns will be inspected for possible safety issues before being discharged.
To make the experience as financially accessible as possible, the two cooperating organizations will furnish free ammunition to all the young people taking part. Adults, however, are expected to purchase their own ammunition from the club for a nominal fee. Due to potential safety concerns, shooters are not allowed to bring ammunition from home.
Capping off the day at about 3 p.m., several master shooters, including Ken Kessel of Springville, will put on some demonstrations and possibly shoot a competitive match on the 5-Stand course. Since Saturday will be the first day of turkey season, turkeys may be given out as prizes.
Since the meet will take most of the day, refreshments will be available on site. Children may eat free, while adults will be asked to make a nominal donation.
Contributions are helping pay for the event. Ken Vanderbosch, Cattaraugus Rod & Gun Club president, said organizers are still accepting donations to help pay for ammunition, prizes and other expenses. Those who'd like to help finance the project can send checks to the Cattaraugus Rod and Gun Club, P.O. Box 123, Cattaraugus, NY 14719. Any profits realized from the venture have been pre-pledged to the Cattaraugus Free Library fund.
Due to its emphasis on teaching youth, the two cooperating organizations refer to their venture as "Investing in Our Future." Their primary goals are to instill in young people a healthy respect for firearms and a working knowledge of safe shooting practices, along with a love for the outdoor life.
"Gun safety is an important issue today," said one of the meet's organizers, Cattaraugus Police Officer Cochise Redeye. "We want safety for our kids, and this is one way to achieve that."
Persons wishing to learn more about this family happening or to sign up may call Andy Barr at 257-0831.
Anyone leaving a message should leave a call-back number.