Shooting zombies, making friends

For a growing number of gun enthusiasts across the United States, target practice and shooting competitions have taken a turn to the undead.

Americans have a continuously increasing infatuation with zombies thanks to movies like “Zombieland,” television shows like “The Walking Dead,” and books like Max Brooks’ “The Zombie Survival Guide.”  It makes sense that the next logical step would be for people to practice defending themselves from the undead horde.

Zombie shoots or culls are quickly becoming a favorite pastime for people who want to hone their aim and speed when firing on both stationary and moving targets.

Culls provide an excellent way for fans of shooting sports to get together to discuss and practice their hobby.  A diverse group of men and women who otherwise may never meet have the chance to make new friends in a safe, laid-back environment during the culls.

Although some larger culls across the country are centered toward experienced shooters, most local culls welcome everyone from first-time shooters to former military snipers. The more skilled shooters willingly assist the beginners with their form and accuracy and help assure they are safely handling their firearms.

During the culls, shooters use pistols, rifles and shotguns to shoot targets shaped like zombies in different scenarios.  The person who is the most accurate and the fastest wins the cull.

Scenarios are only limited by the shooters’ imaginations. For example, the Dubuque group PrepDBQ holds monthly culls with scenarios like “Zombies on the Lawn.” According to the PrepDBQ website, in this scenario, “you’ll need to throw open the front door and clear the lawn of zombies…stepping on the threshold will trigger some zombies to move, so be prepared to act fast!”

Another popular scenario is the long distance rifle shot. The shooter sees the zombie at about 100 yards and must uncase his or her rifle, load it, aim and shoot the threat before the zombie can infect the innocent bystanders (drawings of non-infected people).  However, if the shooter accidentally hits a non-threat, points are deducted from his or her score.

This scenario has the added benefit of teaching shooters to hit what they are aiming at while under pressure. This will come in handy in the woods during deer season when a big buck appears.  The hunter will be able to remain calm while taking the time to aim and assure a kill shot instead of panicking and missing or only wounding the deer.

With the entertainment and good company provided by zombie culls, anyone looking for an alternative to shooting circles on a piece of paper would greatly benefit from participating in a local zombie cull.