Andy Rhodes is a brave man. He was at the Fort Crowder Shooting Range on a recent evening with five shotgun-wielding women.

Andy Rhodes is a brave man. He was at the Fort Crowder Shooting Range on a recent evening with five shotgun-wielding women.

Actually, Rhodes was teaching the class “Basic Shotgun for Women,” with the women at the range to put all of their knowledge to work. Two nights before, the women submerged themselves in such things as gun safety, gun identification and handling ammunition.

One student, Gail Stephens of Neosho, was having a good time in the class. She took a similar class about four years ago and became hooked on shooting.

“I enjoy breaking things," Stephens said with a laugh as she eyed a stack of clay pigeons that were waiting to test the ladies.

Samantha Chavez said she was interested in learning gun safety and how to shoot. Chavez had never fired a gun before, so she was nervous. She admitted that learning to shoot was on her “bucket list.”

Rhodes, who is with the Missouri Department of Conservation, and helper Lauren Cobble took plenty of time and showed a lot of patience with each student. Before each shot, Rhodes helped the student take a comfortable stance and set the gun in the right position.

Rhodes and Cobble pulled the clay pigeons for the students and watched each firing. After each shot, Rhodes told the student if the shot was high or low or too far to the left or to the right.

Giving encouragement to the ladies seemed to help them shoot and gain confidence. As the evening wore on, Rhodes had them shooting better and better.

Two ladies from Oswego, Kan., were part of the class. Emily Horn, who is 20 years old, said a shotgun was new to her. She is used to hunting, but with a bow and an arrow. Horn said the class was very helpful and that she learned a lot.

Horn’s grandmother, Shirley Camfield, has been around guns all her life as her family always has owned weapons. Her goal in the class was to learn to shoot better. She is a referee at clay pigeon meets and thought that by actually learned to shoot well, she would be a better referee.

Rhodes enjoys teaching woman because they usually have fewer bad shooting habits than men. “They are better listeners, too,” he said, “but overall, I enjoy teaching everyone — kids, men and women.”

After a night of shooting, the women may not challenge Annie Oakley’s with their shooting talent, but they had a good time and learned to handle a gun with confidence and safety.