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


December 14, 2021 -

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and Michigan 4-H are committed to the safety and health of all youth and adults during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, adherence to all MSU Extension expectations for in-person engagements is required. In addition, Michigan 4-H offers recommendations for best management practices specific to 4-H shooting sports experiences for the protection of Michigan 4-H participants and volunteers.

Mask Wearing

Masks must be worn in alignment with the current MSU Extension guidelines. In spaces where masks are required, a "buff" style mask is preferred. Masks with dangling strings or strings around the ear may interfere with the operation of shooting equipment and are not recommended to be worn on the firing line. In addition, the following exemptions apply:

  • When on the firing line, shooters may 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 Accommodations

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 to ensure the muzzle or bow are always pointed in the proper direction. If parents/caregivers would prefer that the attendant wear a mask when working in close proximity with their child, parents/caregivers should make MSU Extension professionals and/or the event volunteer aware of this request in advance of the activity. Alternatively, an adult living in the same household as the member may provide this 1:1 support. 


Any individual requiring 1:1 supervision should follow guidance provided under the 8-year-old accommodations 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, encourage only one individual to approach at a time. 
  • Allow ample time between events or practices 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


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