State 4-H Shooting Sports Programs


  1. To encourage participation in natural resources and related natural science programs by exposing participants to the shooting sports curriculum content through shooting, hunting and related activities.
  2. To enhance development of self-concept, character, and personal growth through safe, educational and socially acceptable involvement in shooting activity.
  3. To teach safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment including sound decision-making, self-discipline and concentration.
  4. To promote the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship and ethical behavior.
  5. To expose participants to the broad array of vocational and life-long avocational activities related to shooting sports.
  6. To strengthen families through participation in life-long recreational activities.
  7. To complement and enhance the impact of existing safety, shooting and hunter education programs using experiential educational methods in the progressive development of skills and abilities.

Disciplines Offered

Shotgun, muzzleloading, archery, air pistol, rifle/bb and wildlife/hunting


Youth Participation

All youth who qualify under the Tennessee 4-H program guidelines are eligible to participate in the Tennessee 4-H Shooting Sports program. It is the adult leader’s responsibility to ensure that the participants have the physical, mental and emotional maturity to participate in the program. All participants in the program must comply with all rules of conduct set forth in the Tennessee 4-H program. It is the duty of all participants and adult leaders to set good examples by upholding ethical standards of conduct at all times. Any infractions of these rules are grounds for dismissal from the Tennessee 4-H Shooting Sports program.

County 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor

A Level 1 Instructor is an individual who has completed a state 4-H sanctioned shooting sports training and certification workshop. County instructors are eligible to conduct county level 4-H Shooting Sports programs in the discipline in which they have been trained. The Tennessee 4-H Shooting Sports program requires the use of trained and certified 4-H instructors at the county level to operate a live-fire range or to conduct any class in which firearms, airguns or archery equipment are handled. A maximum ratio of 10 youth per trained adult must be maintained to operate a live-fire range or to conduct any class in which firearms, airguns or archery equipment are handled. In order to be certified as a 4-H shooting sports instructor in any discipline (rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader/blackpowder, archery, air pistol, and hunting), the following category requirements must be met.

  1. Instructor: Must be at least 21 years old and have attended a state training (must be present at all live-fire events).
  2. Assistant Instructor: Must be at least 18 years old and a 4-H member/volunteer in a shooting sports discipline for a minimum of one year. They can only instruct youth under the direct supervision of an instructor and only if the instructor is present during the instruction.
  3. Teen Leader: Must be at least 14 years old and have leader approval. Teen leaders only function under direct supervision of, and request of, a certified instructor who is present during the instruction. A teen leader is not to be in charge of a live fire range.
  4. Volunteers/Parents: May be allowed to assist with approval from the county Extension agent and with approval of and under the direct supervision of a certified instructor in charge of the firing line at the time of instruction. Must be signed up as a current adult volunteer 4-H leader in the county in which they are instructing.

County Level 4-H Leader Certification

All instructors must be certified 4-H leaders through the local county Extension office before attending a State 4-H Shooting Sports workshop.

Certification at a State 4-H Shooting Sports Workshop

All instructors must successfully complete a 4-H Shooting Sports instructor training session administered and/or sanctioned through the state 4-H office. Training will consist of instruction using the National 4-H Shooting Sports curriculum, which includes discipline instruction (rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader/blackpowder, archery, air pistol, and hunting), safety, risk management, teaching methods and 4-H youth program management.

Maintaining State 4-H Shooting Sports Certification

To maintain certification an instructor/leader must be active one out of three consecutive years.  If inactive for three consecutive years, re-certification is required.

State Team 4-H Shooting Sports Instructors

State team members must apply and be approved by the state 4-H office before being a certified member of the state team.

  1. State team members must be trained and certified at a 40-hour national 4-H Shooting Sports workshop in the discipline they are teaching.
  2. State team member Shooting Sports instructors are eligible to conduct 4-H Shooting Sports programs at the county level as well as train and certify instructors as part of the state team.