Roger Scheel, a member of Daniel Boone Conservation League in Hubertus, Wis., looks through a rifle scope during a sight-in clinic at the club’s shooting range. (Photo: Paul A. Smith)
Under the cloud of the coronavirus pandemic for most of 2020, data has shown at least one healthy trend in the U.S.: an increase in participation in outdoor recreation.
Here in Wisconsin that has included a rise in campground use and sales of fishing and spring turkey hunting licenses, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The boost is being seen among the ranks of both experienced and new participants.
State officials expect the wave will also carry over to the 2020 Wisconsin deer hunting seasons.
It’s likely, then, more first-time hunters will be sighting-in firearms this month. The practice is central to ethical, safe and successful hunting.
And due to COVID-19 physical distancing concerns this year, more hunters of all experience levels may be attempting the DIY path to mounting or adjusting a scope.
The good news is a wide range of options is available in-person and online.
Many clubs throughout the state will once again hold sight-in clinics at which hunters can, for a modest fee, use a range facility to test their equipment.
Assistance from volunteers is available, if desired.
“We’ll be running pretty much as normal,” said Vince Gorichan of Fin ‘N’ Feather Sportsman’s Club in Palmyra. “We’ll have experienced club members on hand to help them make sure they’re safe and on target.”
Instead the company bolstered its online offerings in advance of the gun deer season.
“It’s different than hands on, but in the digital age we think people are more open to getting it that way,” said Sawyer Briel, Vortex marketing communications manager.
Vortex held a Facebook Live event in late October to cover the steps associated with proper scope mounting and zeroing a firearm. The session, including questions and answers, is available for viewing on YouTube.
The company also maintains free educational material on its website, including a scope mounting primer.
All firearms, whether with a newly-mounted scope or old reliables, should be fired and checked for functionality and accuracy prior to this year’s hunt.
The following businesses and clubs in southeastern Wisconsin are once again offering gun sight-ins.
Various levels of features are offered, such as bore sighting, scope mounting, scope adjustments and types of targets available.
For details, including cost and features offered, visit the websites or call the numbers listed below.
» Daniel Boone Conservation League: 4694 Highway 167, Hubertus; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 8, 11 through 15 (closes at 3 p.m. on Nov. 15); visit dbcl.org for more information.
» Fin ‘N’ Feather Sportsman’s Club: N2765 Hardscrabble Road, Palmyra; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 8, 14 and 15; (414) 350-7029 or Fin-N-Feather.org
» Lakeview Rod and Gun Club: S80-W14401 Schultz Lane, Muskego; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Nov. 8, 11, 14 through Nov. 20; (414) 422-1760 or lakeviewrgc.com.
» McMiller Sports Center: S103 W38754, Hwy. NN, Eagle; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; daily through Nov. 22; (262) 594-5900 or mcmillersportscenter.com.
» Menomonee Falls Rod & Gun Club: W249-N8500 Hillside Road, Sussex; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 8, 14 and 15; call (262) 246-8971 or visit mfrgc.com.
» Milford Hills Hunt Club: W5670 French Road, Johnson Creek, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily (sometimes closes later), (920) 699-2249 or milfordhills.com.
» Oconomowoc Sportsman’s Club: N5799 Mill Road, Concord, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 8, oscinc.org.
» Ozaukee Fish & Game Association: 5123 County Road Y, Saukville; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 8, 14 and 15; (262) 692-2807 or ozcfg.com.
» Racine County Line Rifle Club: 8922 Rifle Range Road, Racine; 7 a.m. to dusk Nov. 8, 14 and 15; (262) 977-1114 or racinecountylinerifleclub.com.
» Saukville Gun Club: 4191 Blue Goose Road, West Bend; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 8, 14 and 15; (262) 675-6977 or saukvillegunclub.com.
» Schultz Gun Club: W146-S8025 Schultz Lane, Muskego; 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Nov. 8, 14 and 15; (262) 377-9196 or schultzgunclub.com.
» Wisconsin Sportsman’s Association: 16010 Durand Ave., Union Grove; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Nov. 8, 14 and 15; (262) 878-1599 or wisconsinsportsmanassociation.com.