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What Is Shooting Sports in 4-H?

4-H Shooting Sports is a comprehensive non-formal education, recreation, and competitive program focused on Positive Youth Development. 4-H Shooting Sports program utilizes the safe and responsible use of firearms to address youth social issues related to STEM, healthy living, and civic engagement.


In doing so, the 4-H shooting sports program provides opportunities for youth to gain valuable skills, practice leadership, and build relationships with non-parent adults. These three critical factors are the building blocks that enable youth to achieve mastery, feel a sense of belonging, explore independence, and act generously. When youth are engaged as resources worthy and capable of development, rather than objects to be fixed, they become competent, confident, connected, caring, character-driven, and contributing members of society.

Upcoming Events

April 29

Annual Banquet & Auction

NYS 4-H Shooting Sports Banquet and Fundraiser.  Hundreds of outdoor items focused on hunting, target shooting, archery, and fishing are available.  Seating is limited and reservations are required.  If you would like more information, please call 518-668-4881 or


May 13-14

Camp Wabasso - Jefferson County – Air/Rifle, Archery, Hunting (?)

This program is open to volunteers from the North Country and further away as needed.  Accommodations in camp cabins are available with limited food service.  Cost $150.  Stephanie Graf at (315) 788-8450 ext. 251,, or John Bowe at 518-668-4881.

May 20-21

NYS Championships – Steuben County.  Shotgun, Muzzleloading, and Hunting

Please reach out to Anne Marie Zschoche of Steuben County about this program. 

June 3-4

Wyoming County – Archery, Rifle or Pistol (TENTATIVE)

This location has limited rustic cabin space and does have some camper space.  Meals available. Cost $110  Please contact Holly Harwood at or 585-786-2251 or John Bowe at or 518-668-4881.

June  10-11

Camp Shankitunk – Archery, Hunting

Cabin space available, limited meals provided (Saturday evening on your own).  Archery training is focused on camp training, but covers all 4-H archery.  Cost: TBD

June 21-22

Long Island – Archery for Camp Staff 

This program rotates back and forth between Dorothy P Flint 4-H Camp and Camp Peconic Dunes (2023) for their respective camp staff.  Permission may be granted by the camp facilitators for a larger audience.  Cost:  TBD. 

September 8-10

 NYS Championships – Rifle, Archery, and Pistol (TENTATIVE)

Banquet & Auction


  1. To encourage participation in natural resources and natural resource science programs.

  2. To enhance the development of self-concept, character, and personal growth.

  3. To teach safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment.

  4. To promote the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship, and ethical behavior.

  5. To expose participants to a broad array of vocational and life-long vocational activities related to shooting sports.

  6. To strengthen families through participation in life-long recreational opportunities.

  7. To complement and enhance the impact of existing safety, shooting, and hunter education programs using experiential educational methods and progressive development of life skills and abilities.

National & New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Program Core Concepts
  • Safety

  • Ethical Development

  • Personal Responsibility

  • Family Involvement

  • Lifetime Recreational Skills

  • Life Skills Development


New York State 4-H Shooting Sports takes our responsibilities to youth, their families and the communities in which we all live very seriously. We are committed to offering the safest and best programming possible. All curriculum disciplines for archery and firearms are taught and supervised by New York State 4-H Certified Shooting Sports Instructors or Nationally Certified 4-H Shooting Sports Instructors. All 4-H Shooting Sports Instructors must also adhere to the National 4-H Shooting Sports Code of Ethics.

4-H Shooting Sports is based on the National 4-H Shooting Sports mandated curriculum and training regimen and offered in the following disciplines:

  • Air Pistol/Pistol

  • Archery

  • Hunting/Outdoor Skills

  • Muzzleloader

  • Rifle

  • Shotgun

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) components are incorporated into all 4-H Shooting Sports curriculum discipline

Natural Resources Projects

The New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Program is a broad-based, multi-faceted program that encompasses and brings together many aspects of 4-H Youth Natural Resources programming. Involvement in 4-H Shooting Sports fosters responsibility and helps youth acquire and enhance knowledge, skills, and abilities not just in Shooting Sports disciplines but in other project areas as well. Our Program can include many more opportunities for youth to be outdoors and engage in their environment:


Agriculture/Range Science • Bird Watching • Canoeing • Citizen Science • Citizenship • Civic Ecology • Clay Targets • Conservation • First Aid • Forestry • Habitat Enhancement • Home Firearm Safety • Living History • Outdoor Cooking • Map & Compass • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) • Survival Skills • White Water Rafting • Wild Edibles • Wild Game Cooking • Wildlife


For Instructors


ALL current New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Instructors are REQUIRED to update their Instructor Training to the NEW National 4-H Shooting Sports and New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Guidelines.

Instructors Have Two (2) Options: 

  1. Attend one (1) of the 14-hour programs to be offered this year in person (you may participate in a new discipline at that time); or

  2. Participate in a shorter in-person or web-based online retraining that is currently offered as needed (expected to be about 2-3 hours of online training). New manuals for the first two programs you primarily teach-in will be provided at either the in-person training or mailed to your county office.

All Instructors who have NOT taught in the last two (2) years OR who are NOT currently an approved members of their County 4-H Program have been REMOVED from the New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor list and their information has been placed in the inactive file.

Inactive Instructors seeking to regain active status MUST re-establish themselves as enrolled qualified 4-H Program Volunteer and complete the full New York State Training in order to become an active New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor.

PLEASE NOTE: Your County Cooperative Extension 4-H Educator MUST sign off on your Instructor Applicant Registration Form in order for you to qualify for admission into the New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Training program. Your County 4-H Educator’s signature verifies that you, as an applicant, have undergone: 1) a criminal background check; 2) a reference check; 3) an interview; and 4) a County orientation. A County's failure to comply with any part of the Volunteer Involvement Policy and Procedure (VIPP) practices of Cornell Cooperative Extension will result in the automatic disqualification and rejection of an applicant from the New York State 4-H Shooting Sports Program. Registration Forms without the appropriate County 4-H Educator’s verifying signature will not be accepted by New York State 4-H Shooting Sports.

For Instructors

State & County Contacts

William M. Schwerd

Saratoga County 4-H Shooting Sports Coordinator
Executive Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Saratoga County
50 West High Street
Ballston Spa, New York 12020
518-885-8995 Ext. 225

John F. Bowe

Warren County 4-H Shooting Sports Coordinator
Assistant Director/Association Team Coordinator, CCe Warren County
377 Schroon River Rd., Warrensburg, NY 12885
518-623-3291 / 518-668-4881

Dr. Keith G. Tidball


Senior Extension Associate
Department of Natural Resources, C
ornell University
Faculty Fellow: David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
118 Fernow Hall

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