Shot chases regulation birds hurtled from two voice-activated traps at Coeur d’Alene Skeet and Trap Club, where guests take aim at clays on three trap fields, a five-stand course, and four skeet fields, one of which is also voice activated. Each field hosts two annual shoots and tournaments for its 55 league teams, while visitors and more than 700 members test their clay-shattering skills with a variety of wobble games. Elsewhere, novices boost shotgun skills during lessons, ladies brush up on gun know-how at instructional clinics, and kids sample clay-target sports in the youth program. In between rounds and lessons, customers can visit the pro shop to restock on ammo or pick up a shotgun to mount and hang above the mantel.
At Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop—an NRA affiliate range—certified instructors teach firearm courses focused on safety and defense. In the introductory handgun safety and marksmanship course, instructors cover essential aspects of shooting such as stance, grip, and aim. Other options include women's self-defense and two levels of handgun education. After imparting these skills, the instructors turn their three eyes toward the range, where 22 individual shooting positions let guests practice with nearly all handgun calibers. Away from the practice area, the gun shop sells handguns, rifles, and accessories.
As soon as young Ed Dickson could swim three laps in an Olympic-size pool, he earned his free time on Lake Michigan; his mother gave him a 12-foot aluminum motorboat and told him he could fish anywhere, provided he was home by sunset. Reflecting back on his childhood, Ed suspects his family ate more fish than they wanted to.
Nowadays, Ed is the owner of Diamond Charters and a Coast Guard captain with more than 15,000 hours on the water, which he accumulated on Lake Michigan, the waters of California and Mexico, and in his current lake of choice: Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille. Since 1992, he has been cruising the landlocked lake for its rainbow trout, famed for growing to record-breaking sizes and skirting predators by blending into nearby rainbows. Ed also showcases the lake to his guests on fishing expeditions through Diamond Charters. On any given excursion, he steers passengers to the best fishing spots aboard his 32-foot Twin Volvo Turbo Carver yacht, outfitted with amenities that include a TV, microwave, and a set of more than 1,000 lures.
Joe Roope, Sr., and his son have grown Castaway Fly Fishing Shop into an full-service fly-fishing shop abounding in guided trips, classes, and high-end tackle from the likes of Loop Tackle Design and Action Optics by Smith. They proudly carry locally tied flies, offsetting a selection of fly-tying materials to accompany single- and double-hand rods. Though hunkered down in scenic Coeur d'Alene, they lead fly-fishing trips in a number of area waterways, shepherding groups through Idaho, Montana, and Washington during guided jaunts down rivers such as the Blackfoot, Clark Fork, and Upper Columbia. They share their passion for perpetuating the wild-trout fisheries of the Inland Northwest in each of their classes, advocating responsible catch, release, and contract-signing techniques whenever dealing with fish.
When you're rafting with ROW Adventure Center, you can float leisurely down a stretch of river, stopping to get out and swim when the mood strikes—or, you can conquer the Devil's Toenail. The oddly named segment of rapids is on the Spokane River and constitutes part of a whitewater rafting trip through the river's lower gorge.
It's one of many scenic locales that the company's guides visit as part of planned day trips or multiple-day vacations. With families in tow, they navigate bike trails and bodies of water throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana, and other surrounding areas, planning excursions that have been lauded by National Geographic magazine.
Many of their voyages take place on the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Here, kayaks set off on picturesque sunset journeys near the pines, and paddleboard tours split their focus between proper balancing technique and nature facts, such as which bird is most likely to mistake you for a gigantic salmon. Guides also lead fly-fishing trips on Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe, accommodating total beginners as well as the advanced anglers.
For those who would rather stay dry, bike trails traverse several miles of historical and awe-inspiring landscapes. The Hiawatha Trail, for example, follows the path of the Old Milwaukee railroad across 7 trestle bridges and through 10 tunnels, including the 1.6-mile Taft tunnel. Certain trip packages even cover admission to Silverwood Theme Park, balancing the thrill of ecological exploration with that of riding roller coasters and fighting over the fastest horse on the carousel.
A member of the United States Archery Association, Spokane Valley Archery grants bowmen plenty of room—10 acres’ worth—to safely sling their arrows at a host of targets. Visitors can knock their arrows and take aim on a 100-yard practice range with targets placed every 5 yards, a broad-head range, or an 18-target, 3-D range that mimics shooting at live game or vogueing woodland creatures. Beginners can learn the sport through the Introduction to Archery class led by Level II USAA–certified coaches, who demonstrate safe use of equipment, proper technique, and standard range setup.