Department of Conservation hosts gun shooting classes for women

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COLUMBIA - Women were the target of a gun shooting class hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation on Wednesday. 

"We're always looking for new audiences in the shooting sports, hunting and conservation. Women are a growing segment of the hunting and shooting population in this country, so it's a natural group to reach out to and to teach," said Conservation Outdoor Skills Specialist Brian Flowers. 

The "Discover Nature - Women's Basic Shooting Academy" will have three sessions in June. The first session focused on gun safety, and the other two sessions will focus on shooting guns. 

For class attendee Shirley Coke, she said she thinks the lessons the class provides are beneficial to people regardless of gender. 

"I think everybody ought to be concerned about the basics of gun safety, but I'm more interested in the hunting and being a better naturalist," Coke said. 

The class allowed girls between 14 and 17-years-old to take the shooting class as long as they had a guardian. Women 18-years-old and older could take the class with no restrictions. 

As a concealed carry instructor, Jim Hill said he believes in allowing young girls to learn about shooting guns. 

"The thing I truly believe is that the earlier they're exposed to it, the earlier they learn safety, and the mystique is taken away and they'll be safer for the rest of their life," Hill said. 

Flowers said there will be more gun shooting courses for women coming up in July. 

For more information on future sessions, call Flowers at 573-815-7901, ext. 3388, or email Flowers at