Gooderham gun club invites new members
By Darren Lum
June 28, 2016
A gun fires. A clay trap some 15 yards away shatters. Birds sing undisturbed. Wind blows through the trees. It’s just another Sunday of trap shooting at the Gooderham Century Gun Club on McColl’s Road, between the cemetery and the municipal yard.
The gun club has been providing a social space to improve and refine shooting skills in a controlled environment since 1967. It currently has 24 members. The youngest is 20 and the oldest is close to 75. There are women and men and they come from all walks of life, bound by a love and passion for shooting, but also a family-like support of one another. There are few creature comforts, but there is a welcoming atmosphere.
Club president Russ Ruddock said trap shooting translates to success in his game hunting.
“This gets you better. A lot of times guys don’t practise and they go out and they wait all day for a pheasant to jump up then they miss it,” he said. “Well, here you get practice.”
Guns are part of his life, having hunted for most of it, starting at 16. Ruddock welcomes young people to take up the shooting sports, of which trap shooting is one, to learn what he loves and how to safely handle a gun.
“We’re very safe here. Our whole thing is safety first ... it’s a great sport for kids to learn. They learn responsibility with guns and it leads to hunting. These kids will end up going out hunting. End up going out with their dad,” he said.
At the club, safety is paramount and there is strict adherence to a list of rules.
Before every shoot, the group ensures there isn’t anyone at the back or the sides behind the shooting area. Every round there are at least three people watching, two from the tower, which includes one range officer and a scorekeeper, while on the ground there is another range officer, looking for any unsafe practices. The club is licensed to operate by the Chief Firearms Office of the Province of Ontario.
Being a small club, there have been very few members who have competed, but it has happened.
Ruddock adds not everyone is a hunter. Some just like to shoot, hoping to improve scores. The Irondale resident, a member since 2000, took over four years ago from past president William Challis, who passed away.
Fifteen-year-old Nolan Davidson, wearing a hunting orange hoodie, has had his hunting licence since he was 12 and has joined his father hunting since he was five. He came as a club visitor with new boss Norm Perrott, co-owner of Outdoors Plus in Haliburton, who brings ammunition for purchase. The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School student says it’s fun and appreciates how it can make him a better shooter and hunter.
Dave Beardmore of Wilberforce has been a member of the Gooderham club for two years. He loves shooting sports and the feeling of belonging there.
“You have to understand guns and enjoy guns, I think, to really get the full benefit out of it, but really it’s about a community of like-minded people that enjoy the same kind of sport,” he said. “You see everybody breaking off and talking amongst themselves and things like that. There is a lot to do with the camaraderie of being able to come out and do this.”
Beardmore acknowledges there are gun problems around the world and said education is key to understanding shooting sports. Trap shooting, he said, is a simulation of birds flying, which is easily transferred to hunting.
An avid sport shooter, Beadmore also recently started participating in the International Practical Shooting Confederation where participants use pistols to fire at targets while on the move, sometimes drawing from the holster. He sees trap shooting helping his IPSC performance.
“I actually find this helpful in my pistol shooting as well,” he said. “They’re both kind of point and shoot sports. With shotgun shooting, you keep both eyes open so you can see the whole view. Your dominant eye is what will take over and sight the gun for you.”
The cost of an individual membership is $70 and a family membership is $81. This includes a membership and insurance with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. The overall cost to shoot on Sundays works out to $12 a round of 25, Ruddock said.
Those interested will need a shotgun, protective eye wear, ear protection (basic ones are available) and a current and valid firearms licence, the Possession and Acquisition Licence. Ammunition is available at the club for purchase.
The club’s season is from May until October. Shoots are every other Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., dependent on weather. The next shoot scheduled is July 10 and then July 24. The last scheduled date is Oct. 16.
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