Shooting For Glory And Love On The Bethel Gun Range

Sep 5, 2017

Travis Burks with his wife Dr. Judith Burks and their son Thunder.
Credit Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Bethel’s shooting range provides a place for hunters to sight in their rifles before moose hunting, for kids to learn gun safety, and for law enforcement to practice gun training. It’s also a place where Bethel Sportsman’s Club members compete for trophies. In late August the club held a .22 rifle shooting competition where Travis Burks took first place.

Burks: We’ve got a 25 yard range for pistols, the 100 yard range that we’re on now, and a 200 yard range.

Yeah, that trophy over there, that’s basically going to be my trophy. I was just telling Jerry, though, that I’m going to have to figure something out because it doesn’t have a beard on it.

We’re doing a .22 shoot, so people can show up and pay five dollars and get a target, and they’ll come up here and they’ll get their ammo, and they’ll take five shots and hopefully win some money.

There’s a lot of different animals you can hunt with a .22: rabbit, ptarmigan. Back home I used to hunt a lot of squirrel with a .22. Me and my wife’s first date was squirrel hunting. Hooked her.

KYUK: How long have you been together?

Burks: Four or five years now. We met for coffee the first time. I said, ‘Hey, do you want to go squirrel hunting next weekend?’ She says, ‘That sounds like a good time.’ So we went out.

KYUK: How many squirrels did you get?

Burks: On the first time we didn’t get any. We were talking too much. And then our third date we went squirrel hunting again, and I think we got about five. She shot more than me, because she’s a better shot than I am.

KYUK: Do you all ever come out to this range together?

Burks: Yeah, probably about once a year we’re here together. I get out here more than she does, but we come out here for our anniversary every year and shoot. We got matching pistols for our wedding anniversary from my dad. They’re 1911s, big, heavy, .45 caliber pistols. One’s got her name; one’s got my name; our wedding date.

KYUK: So is it like, 'the couple that shoots together stays together?'

Burks: Yeah, something like that, I think.

After Burks took first in the rifle competition, he said he’d like to thank his wife Judith for letting him go out and shoot for the day. They’ll be celebrating another wedding anniversary, complete with custom .45's, next week on September 12.