BUCKEYE FIREARMS: Stay up-to-date on gun laws, politics, and events. Plus get the Grassroots Action Guide FREE!
Clark County Sportsmen Club - alive and growing for the shooting sports
by Larry S. Moore
A recent auction held at the Clark County Sportsmen Club outside Springfield led to many questions among southwestern Ohio shooters about the future of the club. Could the longtime club and shooting grounds be threatened with closure? Fortunately the answer is a resounding no. The auction was simply a combination of eliminating some surplus items and others donated by a member to benefit the club. I had received several inquiries about the club and decided to attend the auction to see firsthand what was happening at the club. What I learned only made me sorry I didn't bring my shotgun for some sporting clays.
Upon entering the club, I asked about the auction and is the club closing? Everyone was most surprised and shocked at the question. I was directed to club President, Tom Farrell for additional information. He offered to give us a tour of the club facilities. I was already somewhat familiar with the club which has been at their location for many years. The club history traces to at least the 1950s starting as a coon hunting organization and growing into the current configuration. I've shot trap and the old five-stand sporting clays course there several times.
Farrell noted, "We have a lot of work in progress at the club. We just completed a major lead reclamation effort at the trap and skeet ranges. We are working on a new rifle range on the property. We have a 100-yard shotgun slug gun range which was also part of the lead reclamation efforts. We have upgraded our trap machines and have them on automatic releases. This reduces the club's need for man power resources. The remote operators, in addition to be quick for the shooters, provides benefits that when we mow the grass we don't cut the wires."
There are two sporting clays courses, an open field arrangement and the woods course. The courses can be combined to offer one-hundred targets. The open course stands line the edge along the driveway while the woods course is around the edge of the woods and meadows. They offer a good mix of crossing targets; incoming and outgoing birds; overhead targets; and rabbits plus the ever nasty chandelle target. . Targets appear to be deceptively easy. However many shooters have other words for the targets some of which included sneaky fast and frustrating. One shooter joked that his round seemed like a version of get ready, call pull and scream dang it.
Farrell adds, "Our targets are not overly difficult. We want shooters to hit the targets but also have a challenge to sharpen their shotgun skills. We have shooters who range from having never fired a shotgun to experienced shooters. We have new traps at many of the stations throughout the course. There are instructions at each station to explain the target sequence and presentation. Some of the traps are on trailers so that if we want to change the course we can easily move the traps."
One area shooter who enjoys the club is Robin Barry. She explains, "I shoot two days a week. I love the sporting clays course. We start about 11:30 each day and go until dark. I'm having a great time. It's a good place to shoot and the prices are reasonable." Robin did note that my presence with the camera seemed to jinx her on this day at her favorite station.
Farrell adds, "We want people to come out, enjoy the course and have a good time. If they like what we are doing we hope they will join the club. We offer some reduced prices for members versus non-members. Additionally, women shoot for about half price. Anybody who is in school, including college, shoots at a reduced price. We would like to grow our membership. The club is entirely operated by the members who are volunteers ."
The membership dues are just over $100 per year. Getting to the club is pretty easy especially for anyone around the Springfield general area. It is near the heart of southwestern Ohio along I-70 or numerous state routes. It seems all roads lead toward the Clark County Sportsmen Club. Their website contact information and maps at: www.clarkcountysportsmanclub.com
The tour only whetted my desire to return with my shotgun which I did the next week. It was a great course to sharpen my skills just before upland season. My score reflected the need for practice but, thankfully, improved on the last half. We were very welcomed. All the club members were ready to answer any questions and ensure we enjoyed our visit.
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year and the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.