Sights locked on the future


By samuel darroch

Rick Foster can still recall the excitement of his maiden shot more than 50 years after discharging his first firearm.

The initial buzz was quickly tempered by a healthy respect for safety, instilled vehemently by his instructors, a message the 69 year-old Field and Game Australia board member now diligently conveys to a new generation of shooters.

“I had safety instructions drummed into my thick skull… I learnt how to safely handle a firearm and learnt respect for firearms, property and wildlife,” Foster said.

“I’m a hunter but I had it drummed into me that marksmanship was what it was all about, the clean kill was being looked for, wounding an animal was frowned upon.”

The FGA stalwart’s great nephew and grandson, both approaching their teens, will be among a host of new faces following in Foster’s footsteps at Morwell FGA’s come and try day on 6 October at its Hernes Oak Marretts Road facility.

“When you go right across FGA there’s lots of young people looking for something more than playing computer games and more than run of the mill sports,” Foster said.

“We’ve got right across the board, – older people, 12 year olds, ladies – you name it, all age groups are represented, it is very much a family sport.”

Participants on the day will receive firearm handling instructions and shoot at clay targets, which simulate live game, under the supervision and guidance of experienced shooters.

Foster said the club hoped to see a similar turnout to last year’s come and try, which attracted more than 60 people, about 12 of who became members.

“They can expect to come along and under instruction fire a 12 gauge shotgun at clay targets, learn safe gun handling techniques and learn what an enjoyable sport and past time it is,” he said.

The marksman likened the sport to “golf with a shotgun” for its social appeal, but said its technical nature meant it could also be highly competitive.

“You go around in a group of six, you help one another, you rubbish one another, it’s a good social day. It can be very competitive or very social, it’s up to you,” he said.

“On the clay target side its among the most challenging of the shooting disciplines; (You have to consider) trajectory, speed of target, type of target, terrain, chokes in the shotgun and all those things – there’s just that many variables and to have a successful round and put all those things together is a real challenge.”

FGA is also heavily involved in conservation, and heads one of the largest wetland revitalisation projects in Australia at Heart Morass in Sale.

The come and try day is open to anyone over the age of 12, and children are required to be accompanied by an adult.

For more information phone Rick Foster on

5163 1494 or 0427 631 494.