Quoted directly from Page 16 of the AAFTA handbook....
"The Open Division rules are intended to promote diversity and innovation as a means to advance the state of the art in the sport of Field Target."
Diversity and innovation require change.
After participating in the sport for 10 years shooting equal time in OPEN and HUNTER, and now challenging myself further in WFTF, serving as a Match Director, and the last few years as an AAFTA Governor, I've been spending a fair amount of time examining the sport from an organizational level. In my observations, Hunter division has done an excellent job at meeting its mission.(copied below) It has promoted accessibility to the sport and it clearly has been valuable to the sport's growth. The Open class on the other hand, not so much. Whenever "innovative ideas of diversity" have been presented, despite AAFTA's intended purpose, they are quickly shut down. Most of what I see and hear on this subject has been based on personal preferences or a obscure sense of tradition.
Hunter division is AAFTA's limited equipment class and I think that has been one of its most successful attributes. After 10 years of implementation however, I don't think Hunter style shooters should be forced to "only" shoot in only a limited equipment class. There needs to be a place for Hunter style shooters to shoot with the same rifles and scopes as OPEN style shooters. OPEN division is the appropriate place for that to happen. Bumbags and straps or stools and sticks is enough diversity to innovatively provide a viable method to satisfy for anyones eagerness to shoot with the best rifles and scopes available to them.
Mission statement for HUNTER quoted from Page 16 of AAFTA's Handbook.
The Hunter Division rules are intended to promote accessibility to the sport of Field Target, and the use of typical hunting equipment. As such, the rules shall enforce limits on type of allowed equipment, and shall allow for a broad range of competitor physical fitness and conditioning.
"It doesn't get done til someone does it"