About Ben

Rien – my late Wireharid Pointing Griffon on a 2010 duck hunt.

Helping hunters and clay target shooters have more fun since 2003.

Where I started

My shotgun journey started in college with an English Setter named Nina. She was a pheasant-finding machine, but I struggled to consistently kill birds. I was frustrated and had to find a better way. I attended Iowa State University and joined the ISU Trap and Skeet Club to improve my wing shooting and spend time with friends.

Nina - the English Setter that started my journey
Nina – the English Setter that started my journey.

The Game of Skeet

While in college, I was fortunate to make a friend in our bird-dog club who introduced me to registered skeet shooting. I was hooked and soon started competing in trapshooting, skeet and sporting clays, going to tournaments, and eventually earning AA classification as a skeet competitor.

1998 Iowa State Trap and Skeet Team – Our squad at the ACUI College National Championships in San Antonio

Work and Family Matters

Once graduated, I started a new career in plant genetics and also started my family. I quickly realized that it would be challenging to compete at a high level and also give my job and young family the attention they deserve. Rather than competing in the sport, I turned to teaching clay target shooting to stay involved. In 2003 AA Shooting Instruction was born.

My family.

Volunteerism

While teaching lots of shooting lessons I saw several kids come out with their parents and grandparents. They had great fun at lessons and shot well but did not always get involved in the sport. I wondered why. In 2005 I discovered the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and volunteered my time to coach a local youth team and help other volunteers around the state of Iowa create the same. SCTP has all the key elements to keep kids involved in the sport by creating a safe and fun team atmosphere that kids enjoy.

Ben with the winning team at the 2013 Iowa SCTP state trap championships. This group from Maquoketa, IA made a habit of winning.

Full Time in Shooting Sports

In 2006 I was fortunate to be hired by the Iowa DNR as their Shooting Sports Coordinator and have been grateful to work in the shooting sports industry full time ever since! I am currently employed by the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation helping youth across the United States enjoy the sports that have given me so much.

My journey has been blessed with opportunities to learn from my students and other top experts in wing and clay shooting. I work to apply that knowledge for the benefit of current and future students and the greater shotgun community.

Working on set. Video production for Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation Basic Shotgun Coach Education Program.

My Credentials

I am different than many instructors in that you will not find any certificates hanging in my office or badges sewn on my shooting vest. What matters most to my students are the experiences I have learned from the thousands of hours in the classroom, on the range and in the field.

That said, I do have Level II instructor certifications from the National Skeet Shooting Association and National Sporting Clays Association. I have been a member of the NRA National Coach Development Staff since 2007. I have taken advanced wingshooting education courses and have hunted upland birds and waterfowl all over North America. I have developed courses in shooting coach education and have taught shooting coach classes all across the United States.

My approach to teaching is friendly, concise, effective and tailored to the individual or group I am working with.  I encourage you to contact me to discuss how I can help you in your journey.

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