Prairie Post (West Edition)
Marksmen hone skills at weekend black powder shoot at Fort Whoop-Up
The Fort Whoop-Up Black Powder Club hosted a Black Powder Cartridge Rifle silhouette shoot July 16-17.
Shooters were using an old 1800s Buffalo Rifle with black powder cartridges that were loaded with cast bullets to shoot 500 metres at cut-out animal silhouettes.
“So they’re able to knock down our steel targets at that range,” said Aden Martens, organizer.
“Some guys do shoot them out to 1,000 or 1,200 yards, but we don’t really have targets at that distance here. But, yeah, they’re effective to that sort of range. It definitely takes a lot of practice and as you see from what we’re doing, to hit one or two out of ten is really good for most of us.”
Martens said it was a modification of a game that was invented in Mexico in the 1960s or 1970s.
“I guess originally they would have a barbecue and shoot the animals that they were going to cook and make a contest out of it,” said Martens.
“But we’re a little more humane than that and use steel cut-out of chickens at 200 metres, pigs at 300, turkeys at 385 and rams at 500 metres.” Shooters shoot the chickens at 200 metres but are shot off hand, while the rest are shot off cross sticks.
“So, shooting off hand is pretty difficult,” he said.
“So to judge the range and wind out to 500 is difficult. The turkeys are a little skinnier than the other ones, so they’re usually considered the most difficult. But the scores aren’t very high on any of
them. They all have quite a challenge.”
He said a good marksman out here is lucky to hit half of them.
“Mostly to see if you can do better than your average, better than what you did last time, and give each other a rough time and see who can out do the other,” he said.
Each member puts in $10 and the prize money is divided between the top three shooters.
Scores are calculated by a point for a hit and no points for a miss.
A random gong shooting and a .22-rifle silhouette shooting were held on Sunday.
“So that’ll be another 40-80 rounds,” he said. “Like I said, we get a lot of people who are not serious shooters come out to that.”
The July 17’s off-hand event was at shorter range with chickens being at 40 metres, pigs at 60 metres, turkeys at seven metres and rams at 100 metres. The September long weekend will see the club host their 50th anniversary rendezvous.
“We’ve had the same amount of members for quite a while,” said Martens. “When it was really popular in the 1970s and 1980s, we’d get 100 people coming to a shoot and like a big club rendezvous.
Now we don’t get very many people going as far between the cost of gas and it’s harder for people to come across the border from the U.S.”