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COVID-19 Modifications to Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports Programs


May 20, 2021 - Author:

Adherence to all MSU Extension guidelines for in-person engagements is required. The following are additional guidelines specific to 4-H shooting sports experiences.

Additional Guidance for 4-H Shooting Sports Programs 

  • Shoot on lanes at least six feet apart.
  • If equipment is stored in a trailer, only one person is permitted in the trailer at a time.
  • It is recommended that clubs purchase electronic whistles for use at the shooting line, rather than whistles used in the mouth.
  • If archers share targets, archers should individually go to the target line to score and retrieve arrows.

Mask Wearing

Masks must be worn in alignment with the current MSU Extension guidelines. When masks are required, the following exemptions apply:

  • When on the firing line, shooters must remove their mask and place it into a back pocket or on a clean surface within reach. After the firing session, shooters must put their mask back on before moving from their place at the shooting line. 
  • Range and safety officers may remove masks to give rules and commands.

These exceptions are permitted for the safety of participants, for the following reasons: 

  • Masks may cause safety glasses to fog, creating low visibility on the firing line.
  • Masks could become entangled with the bowstring during archery events.        

Eight-Year Old Participants

Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports policy requires a 1:1 ratio of adults to youth for all 8-year-old participants. These members require an adult in close proximity (within the six-foot physical distancing guidelines), to ensure the muzzle or bow are always pointed in the proper direction. Under these circumstances: 

  • Preferably, an adult living in the same household as the member will provide this 1:1 support. 
  • Adults from a separate household assisting the youth must wear a mask at all times. 


Any individual requiring 1:1 supervision should follow guidance provided under the 8-year-old participant section.       


Individuals should use their own gear/equipment (eye and ear protection, firearms, bows, etc.) whenever possible. When that is not possible: 

  • Items should be thoroughly sanitized between each user.
    • When retrieving or returning bows/firearms to the rack or storage table, only one individual should approach at a time. If the range has multiple bow racks, they should be spaced at least six feet apart to allow multiple individuals to pick up and place equipment. 
  • Ample time must be allotted between events or practices to allow for proper cleaning and sanitization of the facilities and equipment.
    • Target backers and bases should be sanitized at the end of practice.
    • Apply sanitizer to target tacks/pins when done.
  • Ammo should be distributed for shooters using gloves. Shooters should shoot all ammo provided to them.

Research what sanitization products are safe and effective for the equipment being used. Before storing equipment, clean it and re-oil the surfaces because alcohol will remove the oil coating. Here are some potential sanitation options:

  • Thoroughly wipe down equipment surfaces with denatured ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (70% or more is best). Alcohol wipes will work as well. Test the cleaning method on a small section of the equipment to make sure it doesn’t damage the surface. Bleach may damage metal finishes. 
  • Shared bows, arrows and firearms should be sanitized between each user. To sanitize, the CDC indicates, "Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work". This includes:
    • Soap and water 
    • 60% or greater alcohol wipes 
    • Caustic agents such as bleach should be avoided on bowstrings


Tags: 4-h, 4-h environmental & outdoor education, 4-h shooting sports, 4-h state shooting sports tournament, msu extension

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