Shaw native hits mark at MSU
by Andy Collier
Jan 13, 2013 | 3402 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shaw native Austin Davis takes aim as he holds his shotgun. Davis has had success competing on the Mississippi State University shotgun shooting team.
Shaw native Austin Davis takes aim as he holds his shotgun. Davis has had success competing on the Mississippi State University shotgun shooting team.
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Austin Davis (left)  shows his trophies that he earned last year competing in the Mississippi Trap Association State Championship in Corinth. Davis won the B-class division as well as earning handicap junior gold and doubles junior gold. With Davis is MSU shooting sports coach Jim Porter (right).
Austin Davis (left) shows his trophies that he earned last year competing in the Mississippi Trap Association State Championship in Corinth. Davis won the B-class division as well as earning handicap junior gold and doubles junior gold. With Davis is MSU shooting sports coach Jim Porter (right).
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Shaw native Austin Davis has found a new sport that he has embraced with a passion.

The 22-year-old is currently on Mississippi State University’s shotgun shooting sports club. The team competes in skeet and trap shooting competitions.

Since he has been in college, Davis has participated in his share of athletics as he played football at Mississippi Delta Community College and rugby at MSU. The ability to handle a gun is something that Davis is used to as he has been an avid hunter since he was a kid.

Ever since joining the shooting team, Davis has had the time of his life.

“Usually, you have to wait until hunting season before you get to do a lot of shooting,” Davis said. “When hunting season is over, that’s about the most depressing day of the year. Now, you get to go over there and the fact that you get to be in school and do something that is that fun, it means a lot to be able to do that. Hunting and shooting has been a pretty big part of my growing up.”

Davis said he has also gotten the chance to meet a lot of different people and that alone has been a rewarding experience.

“There are folks from California that like to shoot and people from the state of Washington that like to shoot,” Davis said. “You have the same mindset, and you get to meet a lot of nice folks. It’s very enjoyable, not only to shoot and compete, but it’s enjoyable to be around the people who are involved in it.”

According to Davis, the people that compete in skeet and trap shoots are concerned about safety at all times.

“You don’t have any safety issues at a big shoot,” Davis said. “The more people you have at a shoot, the safer it is. Everyone is safety conscious. You don’t have just one man walking around trying to keep everybody safe. Everybody checks their stuff. You have a really good time, but safety is paramount at these shoots. When everybody is safety conscious and safety oriented, it’s very enjoyable.”

From his days growing up hunting, Davis had a knowledge about guns before joining the team. His time on the shooting team has increased his knowledge and his skill.

“This took what skill I had and how little it may have been and refined it very well,” Davis said. “Just because you can go out there and shoot a duck pretty well, does not necessarily mean that you will be outstanding at skeet or trap. It is very, very helpful, but it does not always translate immediately. You do learn skills and learn more things about the equipment that you use. You actually learn an appreciation for what some of the things mean.

“You learn what type of shell you’re shooting. You learn what you expect that shell to do once it reaches the target and the impact on the target.”

In May of last year, Davis shined in the Mississippi Trap Association State Championships at Corinth. He won the B-class division while earning handicap junior gold and doubles junior gold.

To be able to compete well in skeet and trap shooting, a person must be accurate and precise. According to MSU shooting sports coach Jim Porter, Davis shot targets three and a half inches in diameter moving at a speed of 43 miles per hour at distances of 35 yards or further. He scored a 196 to take the top spot in B-class.

“He missed four targets out of 200 to win his class,” Porter said. “He towed the bar against the best shooters there and prevailed. You can’t miss targets and do that.

“When you shoot games of perfection, it comes down to fundamentals. You’ve got to do it the same way every time or you go home.”

Davis is a member of the AIM (Academics, Integrity and Marksmanship) program for shooters ages 23 and under which is part of the Amateur Trap Shooters Associations.

The current shooting sports club at MSU is in its second year. The club will host a shooting invitational at the Starkville Gun Club in March.

The program is open to any student or anybody on staff at MSU. For more information on how to get involved with the program, contact Dr. Mike Brown at (662)-312-2608.