Editor’s Note: Patrick Flanigan, a native of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, holds nine world records for exhibition shooting. He's been shooting exhibitions for 15 years and has traveled the world shooting exhibitions for the last 12 years. But Flanigan’s more than an exhibition shooter – he’s an Xtreme Sports shooter. This year he’ll be putting on shows in Europe, Peru and all across the U.S. Each year he participates in 60 to 75 live exhibitions. “I try not to try to impress people with my shooting,” Flanigan says. “I want to entertain them.” Flanigan’s show starts with some modern rock music, explosions and fireworks. Then he entertains people shooting shotguns, rifles and revolvers. Flanigan is one of the newest members of the Mossy Oak team. When he's not traveling the world producing shows, he's an avid waterfowl hunter and upland bird hunter. His favorite pattern to wear is Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades. He believes that Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades can’t be beat for waterfowling or upland bird hunting and explains, “I've worn Mossy Oak camouflage my entire life. I really feel fortunate to be a part of Mossy Oak’s national Pro Staff.”
I started shooting professionally when I was 24. Now at 36, I’m producing an average of 60 shows per year all over the world. My first 5 years with our show, I was in Europe more than I was in the United States. But after 9/11, I decided not to do international shows, mainly because of all the hassles we had to go through in the countries we visited to get our guns into the countries. However in 2014, I decided to return to doing international shows. This year we’ll be going to Sweden and Peru as well as North America.
The history of my being a professional shooter and putting on shows all over the world has its roots in my hunting background. My hunting career started with an unloaded .410 shotgun walking behind my dad, Michael Flanigan, and my Great Uncle Zeke, when they went hunting. We primarily hunted small game – rabbits, squirrels and deer. Dad taught me and my brothers to hunt by taking us with him, or Uncle Zeke would take us with him. We walked behind them carrying unloaded guns. They taught us to observe all the safety aspects of hunting and how to aim and squeeze the trigger when we thought we had a shot, even though the guns weren’t loaded. As youngsters, we practiced hunting and gun safety for several years before we ever took our hunter’s safety tests and were able to hunt with loaded guns. Many times, I’d be walking in snow up to my waist, when I was 5 and 6 years old - the earliest I can remember hunting. I’d try to step in my dad’s footsteps when we were walking in 4 feet of snow hunting rabbits, with Dad breaking the trail for me. Sometimes my dad would get way out in front of me. I’d have to yell to him to let me catch up. I don’t think there's a better way for a young person to learn to hunt than to go out with his dad or other relatives and walk behind them with an unloaded gun and learn to hunt and practice shooting.
Dad also taught me to call ducks and how to trap. I’d sit in the deer stand with Dad, and he’d tell me everything I needed to do when the deer came in until he took the shot. I believe so strongly in this method of teaching hunting and shooting that I started taking my 2-year old daughter with me. She has an orange tip plastic gun. I’m teaching her the same way my dad taught me. By the time I legally could hunt, Dad had no problem letting me hunt the places I wanted to hunt by myself, because he knew that my brothers and I knew how to handle guns safely and how to hunt efficiently. Also, he had seen all of us shoot. We had shot so much before we were allowed to hunt that Dad knew we would take only ethical shots, if we had the opportunities.
To learn more about Patrick Flanigan and to see him perform some of his incredible shots, go to his YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/xtremeshooter or his Facebook team page www.facebook.com/flaniganxtremeteam where you’ll find more videos and pictures, or his webpage at www.patrickflanigan.com.