High Caliber
    Category: Forbes Life By : Renjani Puspo Sari Read : 1449 Date : Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 23:45:23

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Noted activist and entrepreneur Fahira Idris, 45, has a unique hobby: shooting. Not just shooting for sport, but also for game hunting. Aside from shooting at a range, she travels to the jungle, such as in Kalimantan and Sumatra, to hunt boars. Fahira says his famous father, politician and tycoon Fahmi Idris, also likes shooting and hunting, and inspired her hobby. As a child she would accompany her father to a sports club while he practiced shooting.

    Fahira appears to be part of a trend, as more urban dwellers take up the hobby. In Jakarta alone, there are 45 clubs with thousands of members. The Aries Club, a shooting club next to the Hotel Mulia, was started in 2005 by Fahmi Idris and a journalist with only 10 members but now it has 5,000 members, making it one of the biggest clubs in Jakarta. The Aries also has a foundation and operates a shooting academy.

    Shooting is an expensive hobby. While clubs often rent guns, most members have their own, which can start at Rp 15 million but run as high as Rp 70 million. Membership fees also run into the millions of rupiah. Members must buy bullets and related gear such as holsters. Given its dangerous nature, there are some rules to those wishing to shoot. Aries has a strict screening process for prospective members, including a psychological test and running a background check with the police. Members join for many reasons. One is security, as knowing how to use a gun could be a lifesaver, especially for those who might work in high-risk areas of the country. Others are thrill seekers.

    Most members shoot at fixed targets. Others join in competitions, where they try to hit as many targets as fast as possible while moving around an obstacle course and shooting from various angles. Such competition mimic the training used for police and military, and look something like a videogame, except all of it is real.

    Another reason to learn to shoot is to go on hunting expeditions. Indonesia offers plenty of opportunities but the wealthier and more adventurous members will travel overseas to hunt as well. Some go as far as Africa to experience shooting African big game, such as water buffalo or even elephants. For example, Rann Safaris in Botswana organizes hunting trips in which an elephant can be killed for $15,000 (which is legal there by permit). “The club doesn't arrange hunting packages. Members do those by themselves,’’ says Fahira, who is also chief executive of floral company PT Nabila Parsel Bunga Internasional.

    Fahira's first experience of shooting was by accident. In 2004, a friend asked her to go to a shooting club and she discovered, to her surprise, that she was pretty good at hitting targets and enjoyed the sport. She then committed herself to a training regime to become more skilled.