by Brian McCombie - Tuesday, January 17, 2023
The trio of friends started off with sporting clays and 5-stand shooting, and then enjoyed a little Olympic bunker trap to round out the day. This was a regular Veteran’s Day trifecta of free shooting sports opportunities for Marine Corps veteran Marty Teifke (pictured above) and his two veteran friends every November at Hillsdale College’s John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Education Center in Hillsdale, Mich.
As it has for the last five years, Hillsdale College’s Halter Center opened its door to veterans on Veteran’s Day 2022, offering a day of free shooting sports as a small “thank you” for the all-important service America’s vets have given to our nation. Other visitors were welcome to shoot, too, at the standard fees, and to enjoy free refreshments. The event drew approximately 25 veterans like Teifke and his pals in addition to another 50 friends, family members and members of the public to the world-class Halter Center, well-known as the official Home of the USA Shooting National Team and related sanctioned shooting sports development programs.
“We wanted to spend some time with each other,” said Teifke, referring to his friends, “and since we are all vets, we figured this was a great excuse to do something together.”
The trio spent three hours shooting, telling stories about their service days, and ribbing each other over misses. In other words, they had a great time.
“One of my friends is a decorated Vietnam War vet and he hadn’t picked up a shotgun in years,” Teifke noted. “He had a blast.”
Echoing the enthusiasm of event participants, Jim Dugan, manager of the Halter Center, said, “All the veterans really seemed to enjoy the experience and shared with us that they were thankful for the opportunity to be part of the day's activities. It was certainly our honor to host it for them."
As one of the most comprehensive collegiate shooting sports facilities nationwide, the 113-acre Halter Center features four trap fields, four international skeet fields, a 22-station sporting clays course, five Olympic bunker fields, a small arms range and an outdoor archery range. In fulfilling its educational mission, it also houses space for classes, conferences and seminars.
Such an event also aids Hillsdale College’s efforts to educate the public about traditional outdoor sports.
“During events like this, we're able to share with participants how hunting, fishing and target shooting help to fund wildlife management in this country,” said Al Stewart, Director of Hillsdale College’s Nimrod Education Center. “People are often surprised to learn how their contributions have made such a big impact in wildlife conservation. This event represents an opportunity to give back to the veterans of this country and to support the mission of Hillsdale College. Our staff are excited to host this annual event, and we will be doing it again on Veteran’s Day 2023.”
Regular readers of the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF) website, NRAHLF.org, will remember that Hillsdale College was featured in an August 2022 story promoting its newly formed Nimrod Center for Education in Areas of Consumptive Sport and Recreational Hunting and Fishing. The Nimrod Center for Education’s mission is to educate its students and the American public about the importance of wildlife conservation and stewardship and the key role played by hunters, anglers and recreational shooters.
“Scientific education has been among the purposes of Hillsdale College since its founding in 1844,” Stewart explained. “Through the Nimrod Education Center, we will continue to promote the natural sciences not only at the college but throughout the country. The center will educate the public about the contributions and leadership that hunters, anglers and target shooters make to wildlife management and conservation.”
Stewart underscored that the NRA HLF book “How to Talk about Hunting: Research-Based Communication Strategies” has been an important contribution to the center and its work. Based on a four-year research project funded by the NRA HLF, the book teaches hunters to be tactical, practical thinkers when communicating with non-hunters why hunting is important.
Hillsdale College is becoming a key education center for hunting, shooting and conservation issues. Its Veteran’s Day shooting event is just one of the things the college is doing to connect with the larger American public and people like Marty Teifke.
An avid recreational shooter, hunter and all-around outdoorsman, Teifke said he will be back in 2023 for the next Veteran’s Day event at Hillsdale College’s Halter Shooting Center. Actually, Teifke can be found there on a regular basis. He is a huge fan of sporting clays and said the facility is only an hour’s drive from his home in Toledo, Ohio.
“The facility is so awesome,” said Teifke. “The sporting clays range is exceptional, and the staff is first-rate, so polite and always so helpful.”
About Hillsdale College
A small Christian, classical liberal arts college located in southern Michigan, Hillsdale College operates independently of government funding and is home to students from all 50 states and a dozen foreign nations. It defines its inseparable purposes as “learning, character, faith and freedom.”
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