Right on Target
to get maximum performance."
As team captain, Malotte is responsible for securing team funding from the SMSU Student Activities Association, scheduling the orientation seminars and recruiting.
Malotte said competitive shooting changed his life. It taught him discipline and helped him choose a career path. He is now majoring in political science, with a minor in geography. He said he plans to join the U.S. Marine Corps and enter their officer candidate school after graduation.
Sandi Kirkwood of Cameron, a petite, soft-spoken photography major, has been a deer hunter since age 11, when she bagged her first buck. Kirkwood doesn't keep track of the number of deer she's taken, but she's quick to point out they were all one-shot kills. She said she joined the shooting team because she loves to shoot, and to prove that she is as good or better than any of the guys.
"I got interested in the shooting team when I saw a story about it in the newspaper," Kirkwood said. "I've been hunting since I was a little kid, but I'd never been exposed to actual target shooting, so I decided to try out."
As a member of the shooting team, Kirkwood said she not only represents the university, but the shooting community at large.
"Some people are afraid of firearms, but I don't notice a lot of opposition to them," Kirkwood said. "A lack of understanding maybe, but for the most part, people I know think the shooting team is pretty cool. It's nice to know people think well of it, and the team definitely has a good reputation throughout the rest of the school.
"Of course, we're in the Midwest, and hunting is huge here," she added, "and I come from a farming community where everyone shoots."
Like Malotte, Kirkwood said competitive shooting has given her confidence and instilled in her the importance of teamwork.
"Competitive shooting is kind of like a track meet," Kirkwood explained. "Each individual needs to be at the top of his or her game and, together, you excel as a team. If one person has a bad day, it brings the rest of the team down. You have to always work to improve yourself and to help each other out."
Bulls-eye for Conservation
Recreational shooters are among America's most generous supporters of wildlife conservation. They not only contribute to conservation through the one-eighth of one percent conservation sales tax, but they also pay a 11 percent, federal excise tax on all purchases of sporting arms, ammunition and archery equipment, as well as a 10-percent tax on handguns.
These taxes are mandated by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, passed by Congress in 1937.
The money, which the federal government redistributes to states, is dedicated solely to wildlife restoration projects and cannot be used for any other purpose. In 2002, Missouri received nearly $5.1 million in Wildlife Restoration Act funds.