"hunter class was created to accommodate the beginning shooter"
When first introduced to field target years ago when living in West Virginia my only purpose was to get in some off season "squirrel sniping practice". The normal field target "pretzel sittin' classes" had absolutely nothing to do with either still hunting or stalking squirrels so for the first couple years my brother and I shot only "standing class" with the goal of scoring "double digits" some day (LOL...more than 9/60).
When shooting some field target matches outside Harrisonburg, Virginia (club no longer there) the rangemaster offered the "new to us" hunter class where shooting could be done sitting on a "bucket" and the gun rested on cross sticks. My brother and I were immediately attracted to the class because the "bucket and sticks" class could be directly applied to our late fall squirrel season where the bare trees and noisy dry leaves on the ground made still hunting more successful.
My brother and I enjoyed "real squirrel sniping practice" so much that during one DIFTA match at Damascus, MD years ago that I asked the rangemaster if my brother and I could simply pay our entrance fee and shoot "hunter style" without awards and such. The rangemaster said that if we shot "hunter style" he would add a hunter class to the match if I supplied the general rules and here is a link to a post I made on July 22 2004 using the same rules from the Harrisonburg, VA club....
Some personal disagreements.........
"Stop trying to sugar coat things for the beginner and tell it like it is. Its a tuff sport but can be great fun and rewarding if a shooter has the right mindset and willing to work at it"
The new shooter usually wants to have an enjoyable time shooting and if it's "tuff" to begin with they won't be too inclined to return till they have "the right mindset"! When I first started shooting field target I would have quit after a couple matches because I really didn't want "the right mindset", I only wanted some off season squirrel practice! LOL....at the beginning I was squadded with an "upper level shooter" and I asked how long it took him to develop his "sitting style". The answer was "2 yuears of constant practice till I got comfortable with my sitting"! LOL....if it weren't for the standing class I would have dropped field target all together!
"The open classes should be EVERY shooters goal"
shooters preferred shooting "the open class" they would be doing so!
"Nationals should be contested by only open class shooters. This may send a message and begin to reverse the current trend."
Hummm.....what trend are you reversing, growth in one of the classes that's actually growing (hunter class)? I find it interesting that another of the classes seems to be WFTF which I've been told is a more difficult class than the "open classes". Hummm......wonder why that's happening.
"Anywhoo......if I was forced to shoot "a pretzel sitting class" I would have left field target for over a decade ago when I was younger, much less now that I'm 70!