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On-Target Collection

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Photo By Adam Campbell.
Photo By Adam Campbell.

Pursue your target. Track it down. Shoot it.

I was getting closer to the target. I eased off the gas and slowed down to a crawl. According to my GPS, the target was somewhere out there hiding amongst the sagebrush and juniper trees.

I edged the ATV farther along the trail, and there it was about 20 yards away. I dismounted, unholstered my pistol and crouched behind the ATV, keeping it between me and the gnome-sized steel target. I fired and hit. I holstered the pistol, took a look at the GPS screen and fired up the ATV. There were more targets to track down in the desert chaparral and the GPS would lead me to them.

The popular outdoor sport of geocaching involves getting some GPS coordinates from someone that has hidden a “treasure” out in the woods. You plug the coordinates into your GPS and set off to find the treasure. Usually it is a waterproof box where people swap some trinkets and sign and date a logbook leaving comments like, “Great hike with nice scenery” or “Sneaky spot—clever hiding place.”

The great thing about geocaching is that it gets you off the beaten path and encourages you to explore places you normally wouldn’t know even existed. The coordinates could lead you to hidden valleys, lost waterfalls or even a forgotten cemetery.

At Gunsite, the 2,000-acre firearms academy near Paulden, Ariz., Ruger firearms and Yamaha four wheelers were added to the mix. A Garmin GPS would lead you to the treasure and the treasure was the target. The satisfaction was locating and navigating to the target in the middle of the high desert and then making the shot.

Like geocaching, geoshooting can be anything the course designer dreams up. Locating the treasure/target could involve a brutal hike or pleasant walk in the woods. Anything is possible with this new, perhaps unintended, shooting sport.

The Means of Pursuit in Geoshooting

You must reach your target somehow. It could be 200 yards away or two miles. The event I attended and could be used as a geoshoot blueprint had ATVs and UTVs, and they added an element of excitement. The terrain and available space can make getting around half the fun during a geoshoot.

  • On foot: The simplest of all. This geoshoot could be a hike in the woods or a grueling test of endurance.
  • ATV/UTV: Perfect for a geoshoot that requires you to cover lots of ground. Could be timed to test driving skills.
  • Backpacker: See you in two days. The geoshooter must carry everything on his back over mountainous terrain.
  • Watercraft: The GPS leads you into a dark and maze-like swamp. Pick up your paddle and hunt for the targets.
  • Skis: Replicate a biathlon course where the winter snipers must stalk targets in the snowy woods.
  • Snowshoes: A perfect match-up with a muzzleloader to mimic a trapper hunting through a frozen forest.
  • Horseback: Obvious for cowboy-action shooters. This geoshoot could be a multi-day trail ride or a quick shoot-out.
  • Snowmobile: Like ATVs, these are fun, and half the battle is keeping your eyes on the trail while looking for the target hidden in the thickets.

Gun Digest the Magazine, Aug. 8, 2014This article appeared in the August 7, 2014 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I would like to try setting up a geoshooting site in Gardnerville NV.. Do you have any sites that i can post the details to? It will probably start with a few pepper poppers at 100-125yds and end with a 300yd gong.. This sounds like a lot of fun.. And obviously will need to be maintained to ensure that no one takes the highly expensive targets.. But if it’s well thought out and out of the way enough there may just be a good chance it could catch on..

  2. Mr. Card.

    Thanks for a very good article on the burgeoning sport.
    However … I have called Gunsite and absolutely NO ONE knows anything about Geoshooting.
    I explained that you did an article in late August and that it was online September 15. Again, none of the staff there knew anything about it. I left a message for their “Director of Training” and he hasn’t called me back in 3 days. That has me very puzzled.

    Q. Can you tell me who you dealt with there?

    I am planning a trip to Phoenix and Sedona in February and my wife, my oldest daughter, and myself (all avid Geochaching folks) would all like to invest a day doing this.

    HELP!
    Thanks.
    Travis West