Ottawa Sportsmen's Club News

MUCC Magazine Michigan Out-of-Doors Article

January 2003 Issue


Jan 2003 Issue

Ottawa Club's Turkey Shoot
Major Event in Western U.P.


By Lee Arten
Photos by the Author
Lee Arten Article

The 41st Annual Ottawa Sportsmens Club Turkey Shoot, a fall highlight in the western Upper Peninsula, drew a large crowd September 29 at the club outside Baraga.

"A lot of real smart people put their heads together and came up with a real enjoyable experience," said Bill Lahti, a range officer from Ontonagon.

Ottawa club member Bob Gardner readies the cannon.

Forty-two turkeys and 25 chickens were given away. Raffles ran throughout the day and generated much of the cash needed for the club's programs. One program supplies the MUCC magazine, Tracks, to upper elementary classrooms in Baraga, Houghton, and Ontonagon counties.

Another places books on conservation and nature in area libraries. The club also offers scholarships and grants to high school seniors who go to study conservation, natural resources, or the environment in college.

Carole Williams, who handles public relations for the club, said local merchants donated thousands of dollars worth of prizes for the raffles. She noted that the 340-plus-member Ottawa Sportsmen's Club was one of the first local clubs to affiliate with MUCC in the 1930s.

At this year's Turkey Shoot, range officers stresses safety as shooters competed with shotguns, handguns, black powder rifles, .22 rifles, and centerfire rifles.

The black powder cannon shoot was a crowd-pleaser. Attendees paid $2 to sign their names on "slices" on a pizza tray. When the tray was filled, it was put up downrange and Bob Gardner fired at it

with his cannon. The person whose name was struck by the two-inch lead ball won cash. With a roar, the cannon recoiled and a cloud of gray smoke floated down range.

Black powder shooters used Hawken-style .50 caliber rifles to try splitting a ball on an ax blade and breaking two clay targets with the pieces. The ax and clays were mounted on a large stump a few yards from the firing line. At $1 for 10 shots, youths shot .22 rimfire rifles on the indoor range at clay target centers, paintballs, and swinging targets. Ron Haka, rangemaster, said 140 kids shot during the day, many for the first time.

Another popular event was .22 silhouette. For $2, shooters got 4 rounds to shoot at four steel animals. Centerfire rifle shooters could fire at milk jugs, a running deer target, and a 400-yard gong, all from a standing position. One shooter hit the gong using a surplus Swiss military rifle and iron sights.

Shotgun shooters could line up with the rifle shooters for the Double Dare event. Using a club supplied over under shotgun or their own double barrels, they shot from the hip at a dropping steel target. As the target fell it lofted a clay, which had to be shot out of the air. A quail walk and merchandise shoots were run on the trap range. In the Royal Flush Pistol Shoot, shooters had to knock down three steel targets shaped like hearts, clubs, or diamonds, and then shoot through a ring and knock down a star.

Shooters lined up for the .22-rimfire silhouette event.

New this year was the Top Turkey event. Contestants had to shoot seven events, including the 400-yd gong, the Double Dare, and the Running Deer. Top scorer was Jeff Stroud of Hancock with 27 out of a possible 34 points. He received a Top Turkey button, club hat and shirt, and an extra turkey as prizes.


Club member Lee Arten, columnist for Woods-and-Waters News, also writes for Small Arms Review, Shotgun News, Gun Digest and other outdoor publications.

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