The Aurora Sportsman’s Club, not even an hour west of Chicago in Waterman, Illinois, held its tenth annual Zombie Shoot on Saturday. With ten stages and opportunities for everyone, it proved a big hit for 210 registered shooters ranging from novices to skilled experts. One hundred twenty-five volunteers from the club stepped up to help make sure the event went smoothly and safely for all involved.
While often-windy Windy City Democrat politicians love to blame the presence of guns for the insane violence on display in America’s largest outdoor shooting gallery they call Chicago, strangely enough there were no injuries, much less deaths at this family-friendly event chock full of guns, big and small.
The day started off with a steady drizzle and temperatures in the low-60s. But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of early arrivals. They wanted to shoot.
And after a safety briefing, shoot they did just that.
As the day wore on, the sun came out and people were stacked up as far as the eye could see.
One of the stages had been set up with the option of shooters to use suppressed firearms. Thanks to SilencerCo, the American Suppressor Association and the Firearms Technical Group for helping to make this happen.
There were a couple of opportunities for folks to shoot from elevated positions.
First, a pair of towers fired on targets at 200 yards.
And a “firing from a rooftop” position firing at targets from 400-600 yards, including a 600-yard headshot.
The headshot target is the bright green speck just to the right of the shooter’s muffs.
Two stages in particular offered a great time for novice shooters. The first was the “Shooting Gallery” that kids and adults both loved shooting everything from bowling pins to plastic bottles.
Lots of people took souvenir photos and videos.
Then there was the “Crazy Quail” throwers which provided shoot-till-you-drop opportunities. The computer-controlled throwers were a lot of fun and the Crazy Quail people brought four of the machines, loaner shotguns and cases and cases of ammo. The Aurora Sportsman’s Club provided a pallet of clay birds.
These were wicked fun.
Kudos to club volunteers who helped keep things going smoothly.
Todd Vandermyde, right, orchestrated this year’s event, including a lot of the new structures built for this and future Zombie shoots, as well as training and competitions at the Aurora Sportsman’s Club.
While some stages had shooters on a timer, the scores and times weren’t recorded – it was a very non-competitive “bragging rights only” event. I saw lots of big smiles and very few frowns. More than a few ladies and young folks came out to shoot, which is always good to see. Better still, the entire event was family- and novice-friendly from start to finish. The range officers/stage bosses all knew their stuff and cheerfully assisted those who needed a hand.
My first impressions from watching the shooters was that some might be better served buying less multi-cam and fancy gear and spending a few dollars on training. Anyone who can burn through a whole 30-round magazine and not hit but one or two stationary clay birds at less than 25 yards (from a supported position!), might benefit from Appleseed. Other folks tested their kits and found them wanting in one manner or another. But it’s better to learn about problems in a fun event such as this than when the real zombies are knocking at the door.
More often though, many of the zombie-hunters brought a big grin to my face, showing skill and confidence as they smashed clay bird after bird, with little or no wasted movement. Watch out, zombies. You don’t stand a chance against those folks.
All photos by John Boch.