Kids shoot free, enter license raffle at Sportsman Club

michael karlik/ torrington telegram Caleb Sauer of Torrington, second from left, won a lifetime hunting and fishing license. He is with, from left to right, Jasen Kaufman, Larry Eaton, Jr., and Casey Babbitt. Photo by the Rooster Boosters.

TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Sportsman Club hosted an open house and a youth shooting event on Sept. 8, with one participant winning a lifetime hunting and fishing license.

Uncle Dave’s Youth Shoot began in honor of David Eaton, the former president of the Sportsman Club who died in 2010. That prompted the Rooster Boosters to enter into an annual arrangement.

“Any of the kids under 18 could come up and get a t-shirt, two boxes of shells, and enter their name into a drawing for a lifetime hunting, fishing license,” said the club’s Ron Miller.

The kids bring their own firearms, go over safety with a club member, and receive a wristband to shoot.

The Rooster Boosters began almost a quarter century ago, and a committee of approximately 20 people raises money generally for youth hunting and shooting.

“We have a banquet once a year. That’s how we generate our money,” president Jasen Kaufman said. “We’re almost at $30,000 this year that we’ve spent back.”

He said the Boosters in the past have given money to the Wyoming Department of Game & Fish for habitat preservation.

Describing the fundraising activities, Kaufman said “We have a bunch of gun raffles. We have a lot of artwork at live auction, silent auction. We started doing a mini-carnival in the back” for the kids at the banquet.

He also said Wyoming Game & Fish Commissioner Patrick Crank chose the Rooster Boosters to receive big game licenses under the state’s commissioner complimentary license policy. Each commissioner receives licenses to give away to nonprofits, which can generate more than $1 million annually when auctioned. The Boosters’ license brought in over $19,000.

Kaufman estimated the Rooster Boosters give the Sportsman Club $1,250 annually.

On the trap range, Craig Allen watched his three grandsons shoot clay targets under adult supervision.

“He’s still learning,” he said of the youngest, Liam Haffner. “He shot his first quail last fall.”

“It’s almost too big for him but you’ve got to start somewhere,” he said of the shotgun in the tiny boy’s hands.

He said teaching them gun safety was his priority. 

“That’s the key thing about it. Because it can do so much damage.” he said, “We don’t have all these mass shootings like what’s going on in the country. They’re brought up because they know the damage that can be done. Taught to respect the gun.”

Julie Ostrander of Lingle watched her husband, Randy, assist Allen’s grandsons.

“He enjoys it,” she said about his relationship with shooting. “It’s really a mental kind of sport. It seems like you have to really be focused. You think you got it and then you miss a few.”

Kaufman said the Youth Shoot sees anywhere between 12 and 50 kids show up. Just after noon, the number this year was at 22.

Caleb Sauer of Torrington won the raffle for the lifetime hunting and fishing license.

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