Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club's trap shoot welcomes 2017 with a bang
By JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent | January 02. 2017 8:09PM
A firing line participates Sunday morning in a field trap event at the Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club in Holderness. Founded in 1941, the club for more than half its existence has held a New Year's Day trap-shoot social. (John Koziol/Union Leader Correspondent)
Jon Heinonen, vice president and a member of the Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club, fires his side-by-side shotgun Sunday morning at an orange clay pigeon during the club's annual New Year's Day fun shoot. (John Koziol)
More than a dozen members gathered at the club’s trap shooting range off Hardhack Road early on New Year’s Day for a friendly competition, coffee and camaraderie.
Struck by the bright sunshine, the brilliantly white cover of snow and a cerulean-blue sky, Jon Heinonen, the club’s vice president, pointed out the obvious: “This is about as beautiful as it gets.”
Founded in 1941, the club has been doing a New Year’s “fun shoot” for “a very long time,” said Heinonen. “I’m here because I enjoy this very much.”
“I personally can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning in winter,” he continued, adding that the “fun shoot” is also an opportunity to promote trap shooting in the off-season as well as to promote the club’s larger mission.
“This is about fun and safety and education for the shooting sports,” said Heinonen.
A nonprofit, the club is situated on a 330-acre parcel in northeastern Holderness, most of which is stewarded under a wildlife/habitat/forestry/recreation plan. The property has a trap range; an indoor pistol range; a 200-yard outdoor range with pits; and a 300-yard range as well as 50- and 100-yard ranges with a covered firing line, cement pad and bench rests.
The club also has two archery ranges and a biathlon program, both in winter and summer.
Members come from all over the country, but many are Lakes Region locals, said Heinonen.
In addition to promoting and preserving the shooting sports, the club works to conserve fish and wildlife habitat and to educate its 1,800 members about the values of good sportsmanship, safety and outdoor ethics.
Harvey Weintrob of Meredith said the trap “fun shoot” was “a good way to get everyone together to start the New Year” and Bea Lewis, who has been a club members since 2013, agreed.
“I bird hunted with my brother when we were teenagers,” Lewis, who is also from Meredith, recalled, “and when I came to the first New Year’s shoot here, it was bitter cold and I probably hit three birds.”
But she kept returning to the event, Lewis added, because of the fellowship.
Fellowship aside, “this is for bragging rights,” too, said Heinonen.