Ottawa Sportsmen's Club NewsAugust 4th, 2003
by OSC Cookbook Committee
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
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From the introduction ...
Beginning in the late 1930’s, members of both the Laird Conservation Club and the Wolverine Sportsmen’s Club began to carefully nurture and tend the roots of their respective organizations. In the year 1961, members of these two clubs, so close in proximity to each other, gathered to discuss the wisdom of combining their efforts. The Ottawa Sportsmen s Club is the result of that positive decision. These roots of the 0.S.C., planted so firmly six decades ago, have continued to grow stronger over the years with the addition of each valuable member and are now tended by well over four hundred Ottawa Sportsmen living in many of our United States of America.
The purpose of the Ottawa Sportsmen is five fold: To further and advance the quality of the environment and promote conservation of our natural resources; To perpetuate and conserve fish, wildlife, mineral, air, water, forest, and land resources; To encourage multiple use of our forest and land resources; To promote conservation education programs; To protect and defend the right of our citizens to own, keep, and bear arms.
The Ottawa Sportsmen meet regularly on the first Monday of each month except for August and after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the members begin each of these meetings in unison with the words, "I give my pledge as an American to save and faithfully defend from waste the natural resources of my country - Its air, soil and minerals, its forests, waters and wildlife."
Traditionally, the August meeting is a 'Family Pot Luck Picnic' open to members, their families, and their guests and is held at the club’s Courtney Lake Picnic Area and campgrounds on the first Sunday of that month. Each member is entitled to a key to the gate and may picnic, camp, and fish all season long with nothing asked in return except respect for the property.
Much of the club’s recorded history was lost in a devastating fire in 1981, but by tapping the memory of founders and long-term members of the club, we are able to recall the tales of our growth, our progress in promoting our purpose, and to maintain our pride in all that we’ve accomplished as a sportsmen’s group over the years. All this can be found in a club booklet, which details our history and which is available at the club.
The Ottawa Sportsmen have come to be noted for their programs designed to benefit the youth of our local communities. Over the years, we have provided funding for several area school libraries so that their inventory of material related to conservation and nature can be expanded. We purchase classroom subscriptions to the Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ 'Tracks' Magazine for elementary schools in Baraga and Ontonagon Counties and we offer free use of our facilities to area schools for classroom related nature studies. Other youth groups such as the Boy Scouts of America also use our facility free of charge for their programs.
The Ottawa Sportsmen work alongside the Department of Natural Resources officers at the club and on the range to present Hunter Safety Classes for the youth of several counties. We host a B.B. Gun Club at the Baraga Elementary School each year and have provided quality snowshoes to one area elementary school so that entire classrooms of students can enjoy winter science field studies. We also donate the use of our facility to the Baraga Country Fair Board as a site for their annual Teen and Adult Fair Dances.
In the year 2000, we initiated the Junior Shooting Sports Camp, an innovative and annual program for youth. This week long day camp is designed to teach shooting as a competitive sport to young men and women between the ages of 14 and 18 who receive instruction in the fundamentals of Olympic style marksmanship. With a strong emphasis place on gun safety, the youngsters get plenty of 'hands-on' shooting experience with pistols, rifles and shotguns in addition to their classroom instruction.
The Ottawa Sportsmen’s Club also maintains an Endowment Fund designed to benefit area children through the bestowing of grants to youth for conservation and natural resource education purposes. The fund is also used for the awarding of scholarships to graduating seniors who are planning a career in one of the many conservation fields of study.
In 2002 we began the sponsorship of a Junior O.S.C. Pistol Team, a group of dedicated young men who brought home many individual and team awards from National Competition at Camp Perry, Ohio. Five of the team members were awarded honored positions on the ten-member 2002-2003 NRA-USA National Civilian Pistol Team.
Along with our commitment to area youth, we contribute to worthy community projects such as our recent monetary donation to the Baraga Fire Department for their purchase of a 'Cold Water Rescue Raft'. We also offer our facility for fundraisers to help those who may be facing financial hardship because of unforeseen catastrophe circumstances.
In addition to our large and rustic north woods cabin style clubhouse and rambling club grounds, we maintain an excellent rifle range, pistol range and lighted trap range. All ranges are pressed into service from May through September with organized Bulls-Eye Pistol Shooting on Tuesday evenings, Trap Shooting on Wednesday evenings, and Action Pistol Shooting on Thursday evenings. These activities may be enjoyed by the public as well as by club members. We also have a separate indoor target range, which is now being renovated so as to allow more versatility in its use.
The Ottawa Sportsmen also sponsor what has come to be known as 'Sight-In Days' for the three days prior to the opening of the regular firearms season. All hunters are welcome to sight in their rifles, use the club’s bore sight, ask advise, or just trade 'camp' stories over a hot cup of coffee.
One of our winter activities is a 'Black Powder Shoot' held the first Saturday of each month. February through June. With each Shoot, the public is invited to join in as shooter or spectator for a fun filled day of friendly competition in Men’s, Women’s and Youth Divisions, which culminates in a ribbon awarding ceremony and tasty hot lunch. Those just learning how to manage a muzzle-loading rifle receive lots of encouragement and perhaps the loan of a rifle from the volunteer staff.
Over the years, the public has come to look forward to our annual fundraisers. Some of the most popular are the 'Wild Game Dinner', traditionally held on a Sunday in April, and the 'Knife & Gun Show', also now being held on an April weekend.
Perhaps our most popular fundraiser is the annual 'Turkey Shoot', which in 2003 will be the Ottawa Sportsmen’s Club’s 42nd. Considering that our founders also used 'Turkey Shoots' as fundraisers, our experience in presenting this event reaches back almost 65 years through time and has become more fun for everyone every year. Shooters compete in a wide variety of outdoor marksmanship events, winning turkeys and chickens, as well as an assortment of many other prizes. The clubhouse literally bulges with people enjoying the daylong indoor dime raffles for cash and merchandise prizes and taking a chance on the many dollar raffles. Young children also can find a shooting activity designed just for them in the indoor pistol range and each youngster, regardless of ability, receives a prize. This event, always held the last Sunday in September, is supported by Baraga, Houghton, and Ontonagon County businessmen who donate many hundreds of dollars in cash and merchandise prizes and no telling of our club would be complete without extending our sincere thanks to them for their generosity.
Others who continuously and generously give their support are our corps of O.S.C. Volunteers who donate so much of their time. Without their greatly appreciated help, we would be hard pressed to maintain our many programs, activities, and events.
Through the sale of this Ottawa Sportsmen’s Club Cookbook, we hope to augment our fund rasing revenue so that we can continue to tend and nurture the roots of our organization.
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