Within a week, more than 85 students had joined and 30 attended the initial shooting event. The need for the club and desire among students to support it are evident.
Of the 30 students in attendance at the inaugural event, 13 had not shot previously. The club utilized shooting range safety officers to brief shooters on gun safety, range etiquette and basic shooting skills. By the end of the day, smiles were rampant and clays were busting.
"Having never been around guns before, they scared me," said new shooter Anisha Khanna. "However, after my first time shooting, I found guns are safe when used correctly in a safe environment... not to mention, how much fun they can be when aiming at clays. My first experience definitely left an impression and I'm looking forward to the next time I can go shooting."
"Club members are grateful for DePauw's willingness to allow students who love to shoot and those who wish to learn a structured club environment in which to participate, learn and grow," said founding member Mitch Strobl, a DePauw senior.
"Before the club was approved students had to try and find places to shoot, connect individually with landowners near school or forego enjoying the shooting sports due to a lack of opportunity," Strobl added. "In addition, because firearms are not permitted on campus, personal relationships had to be developed to store firearms off campus."
The hurdles resulted in students losing their motivation to shoot and hunt. Through membership in the DePauw Trap and Skeet Club, students have the connections and resources needed, from their first day at DePauw, to enjoy the shooting sports throughout college.
DePauw, like many schools, was distanced from hunting and the shooting sports. The establishment of the trap and skeet club is a historic step by the university and an even bigger step for recruiting new shooters and teaching them in a safe, ethical and collegial environment.
The club also plans to develop competitive shooting teams that can represent DePauw at national and international scholastic shooting competitions.
On top of that, Plainfield Shooting Supplies donated land for the club to build a practice range. In order to get started, the club is pursuing funds and sponsors to build the range, buy a club gun safe and other equipment.
"As a young club, we welcome input and support from shooting sports industry experts, local businesses and Greencastle residents," Strobl said. "We've also set up an account for the DePauw shooting program through the Scholastic Shooting Trust Fund for anyone who would like to make a contribution in the name of DePauw's shooting program."
The fund, which is part of the MidwayUSA Foundation, Inc., was created by Larry and Brenda Potterfield, founders and owners of Midway USA. The mission of the fund is to raise money for high-school, college, and university shooting teams across America.
Because the MidwayUSA Foundation is a public charity, contributions are tax deductible. The best part of donating to the DePauw team through this charity is matching donations made to the team by the Potterfield family.
For more information or to donate to the DePauw Trap and Skeet Club, visit the DePauw University Trap and Skeet Club at www.depauw.edu/orgs/trap-skeet/.