I had the opportunity this weekend to swing by the NRA’s Whittington Center located just outside Raton, New Mexico. To say that the Whittington Center is one of the finest shooting facilities in the United States would be an understatement. The grounds are beautiful, the scenery absolutely breathtaking, and the amenities top notch.
Founded in 1973, the crown jewel of shooting facilities anywhere in North America, the 33,000-acre Whittington Center is home to the NRA’s finest events. Located near beautiful Raton, New Mexico, the Whittington Center hosts many competitive, educational, and recreational activities in all shooting disciplines. This world-class hunting venue provides shooters with the finest and most comprehensive facility in America year-round.
The Whittington Center Gun Club offers its members a variety of shooting ranges, including ranges for smallbore rifle, high power rifle, black powder, trap, skeet, sporting clays, hunter sight-in, PPC, smallbore rifle silhouette, highpower rifle silhouette, long range pistol silhouette, hunter pistol silhouette, benchrest, and practical pistol.
For young men and women, NRA Whittington hosts an annual Adventure Camp. It offers the chance of a lifetime for youths to learn about firearms and experience the thrill of tracking and stalking big game. All activities are under the guidance of the most skilled firearms instructors and outdoor specialists in the nation. Situated on some of the wildest country left in the West, there is no summer camp experience quite like it in the world.
Back into the Pages of History…
Imagine yourself in wild mountain country near Raton, New Mexico, where cougars still roam and the skies are so wide you can almost see back in time. Back to the days when Ute raiding parties rode over the mesas. Back to when legendary mountain men like Jim Bridger and Kit Carson knew every trail between Raton and Santa Fe. Puffs of black powder smoke drifted into the clear mountain skies as buckskin-clad hunters brought down mule deer and elk, antelope and bear. These men were marksmen, some of the finest America has ever known. Their very lives depended on shooting and wilderness skills. Bridger and Carson are gone into the pages of history, but their spirit lives on. You’ll find it in the wild Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico, where the NRA Whittington Adventure keeps the legends of our frontier history alive.
You Can Experience America’s Wild Frontier
How would you like to experience some of the wildest country left in the West, learning to hunt, shoot, and sharpen your outdoor skills? This is exactly what the NRA Whittington Adventure offers; a chance for young men and women to learn about firearms and experience the thrill of tracking and stalking big game, all under the guidance of the most skilled firearms instructors and outdoor specialists in the nation. There is no summer camp experience quite like it in the world.
Where Shooting & Outdoor Adventure Come Together
The NRA Whittington Adventure instructors will teach you the fundamentals of pistol, rifle, muzzleloading, and shotgun shooting skills with safety always foremost in mind. They’ll introduce you to the fine art of competitive shooting, rifle and pistol silhouette, and bullseye disciplines plus skeet and trap shotgun savvy. Or, how about learning to shoot black powder muzzleloading rifles, much like those the mountain men used? How about firing high power rifles at targets 1,000 yards away? Or even the thrill of a deserted mining town in Van Houten Canyon?
Experience the Outdoors in the Shadow of the Rockies
All good outdoorsmen know the fundamental skills crucial to the hunt. During the NRA Whittington Adventure you’ll learn more than just the basics. You’ll learn skills like wilderness map reading, how to prepare a hunting camp, animal tracking, how to use game calls, care of downed game, and an understanding of wildlife management techniques. The counselors want you to experience the magnificent Rocky Mountain back country during this adventure. You’ll go on a simulated big game hunt with a few days and nights under the stars. When this adventure is over, you will have gained knowledge and some of the outdoor skills needed to survive in wild mountain terrain. You will also have the opportunity to become Hunter Safety qualified in New Mexico. Maybe most important of all, the NRA Whittington Adventure is designed to encourage leadership and team spirit. You’ll be involved with a group of young people willing to cooperate in a true outdoor learning experience, an adventure like no other in America, in a setting that will take your breath away.
Come to the Best of the Rocky Mountain West
The NRA Whittington Center is without a doubt the most complete shooting center in the nation. The camp includes 33,000 acres of rugged western terrain, 10 miles southwest of Raton, all in the scenic high mesa country of New Mexico. As you might have guessed, the beautiful landscape abounds with wildlife. You’ll sleep in the Whittington Center’s log cabin housing units and eat in the dining facility.
A Total Equipment Package Plus Expert Training
The NRA Whittington Adventure supplies all firearms and ammunition. Pistols, rifles, shotguns, and blackpowder guns will be provided at the camp. You will be asked to bring your own shooting glasses and hearing protection, as well as your own personal outdoor items such as sleeping bags and hiking boots. But don’t worry, the Whittington Center will provide a complete list of equipment and travel information needed for this unique outdoor experience.
Skilled People Ready to Make Your Stay Worthwhile
The NRA is proud of the staff assembled for the NRA Whittington Adventure. All of the adult instructors possess tremendous outdoor and shooting skills. They were chosen because of a demonstrated ability to work with young people. A camp health officer will be on site (each camper will be asked to provide a current physical prior to the camp).
If you can’t take advantage of the lodging offered on site, local hotels are easy to find, and the one I stayed at offered an NRA discount.