What’s the deal with this Zombie craze?

Today’s blog post comes from Jim Braaten of Sportsman’s Blog.  Jim has been writing outdoor articles since the late 1980’s and continues to share his stories with others through his blog, podcasts and the occasional article for regional newspapers and magazines.

Zombie pub crawls! Zombie preparedness! Zombie apocalypse! Zombie attacks! Zombie movies! Zombie games! Zombie cocktails! Zombie burgers! Zombie songs! And now, Zombie shooting? What gives?

Unless your name is Rip Van Winkle and you’ve been asleep for the past 20 years, you’ve undoubtedly experienced something Zombie related. More and more, Zombies are popping up just about everywhere in our culture. It’s a craze…it’s insane…and for some of us it’s a bit difficult to fully comprehend.

Indeed, there’s no doubt about it that Zombies have been quickly taking over our world during the past three of four years. They’re everywhere…they’re in your face…and in some ways, they seem to be slowly sucking our brains out. Could the inevitable apocalypse already be underway? Perhaps!

Think about it this way. In just two short months the ancient Mayans predicted nearly 5,000 years ago that their calendar would abruptly end on December, 21, 2012. Many scholars believe the reason the Mayan calendar suddenly ends is because a unique planetary and solar alignment points to doomsday—and folks, this date is just days away! On December 21st, the night of Winter Solstice, speculation has long been predicted how this will be the “Final Winter.” Yikes!

If this truly is a day time will fail is it a coincidence Zombies are now pervading our world leading up to this event? Who knows for sure, but it’s time for even the non-believers to start taking notice.

I’ll be honest, in the past I’ve found it hard to embrace this silly zombie fever. It’s disgusting, it’s grotesque and I’m just not into the sci-fi movies that have helped perpetuate this cult-like following. Nevertheless, a person cannot discount the fact zombies appear to be in our lives to stay.

The SHOT Show in Las Vegas this past January 2012 convinced me just how our shooting world is transforming into a zombie nation. This is the industry trade show that displays the apparel and equipment that will be on the shooting and hunting shelves months later. This past year the show had a very distinct zombie influence. Manufacturers are catching on.

While attending the 2012 SHOT Show the blogger, in an unprovoked and vicious attack, had to fend off a Zombie by using a machete slicing at the creature’s throat.”

While at SHOT I overheard some seasoned show veterans lament on how “this (SHOT) show is quickly going to the zombies.” Indeed, for the dyed-in-the-wool gun dealers who have only been accustomed to selling over/under shotguns to upland bird hunters and bolt-action scoped rifles for big game, the thought of shooting zombies can be a bit hard to swallow.


But those old notions about marketing are dying nearly as quick as the neighborhood bookstore. Truth is, the exciting sport of zombie shooting is creating a whole new universe of shooting buyers. I suspect there is a large cadre of zombie shooters who have no qualms about pulling the trigger on a bleeding, attacking, spooky-looking creature. Yet, that same person might not be similarly inspired to kill a deer, a turkey or some other wild game animal.

And that’s okay. Actually, it’s great! Seriously, how can finding new ways to introduce non-shooters to the fun of sport shooting be a bad thing? Who am I to judge if a person would rather shoot a zombie-like target than a duck or a goose. Therein lies the beauty of our shooting sports. There are several options of fun available to suit nearly everyone’s taste.

Of course, as someone who admittedly is not zombie obsessed, I had to explore first-hand what fuels this zombie shooting passion. In June I attended one of the largest organized zombie shoots held anywhere in the U.S. It was called Outbreak Omega 2012 (http://www.outbreakomega.com/) and from the moment I parked my truck I could see this was serious business. The clothing, the guns, even the ammo being used that day was all very much zombie inspired.

Some participants were dressed over the top to expertly play the zombie shooting part. Others, well, let’s just say they were there simply to use the opportunity to shoot their guns. That’s when it finally dawned on me. My “ah ha” moment suddenly came and this zombie craze all started to come more clearly into focus.

Zombie shooting isn’t about some whacked out people with strange ideas shooting their guns at simulated movie creatures. Absolutely not! Instead, the zombie craze is simply all about using the excuse to shoot guns and have some fun.

For many people shooting quarter-sized groupings at a concentric circle (standard paper) target is exciting. Other people want a bit more. They want to shoot something 3–dimensional or unorthodox. They thrive on the fantasy how this target could be attacking. But above all, it’s important to understand the satisfaction of pulling the trigger on a zombie can be just as fulfilling to a large group of zombie killers as shooting a trophy deer can be to a serious hunter.