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Becker County Sportsman - Sportsman's Club preparing for another trap shooting season

The Becker County Sportsmen's Club held a meeting recently, laying out plans for its 56th annual season of organized trap shooting. Yes, the club did begin the summertime sport back in 1972, in the converted gravel pit, three miles southeast of town.

Like everything else these days, it was necessary to raise the prices of goods and services. The increases were moderate, all things considered. A ten round shooting card is now $45 and shotgun shells, which have had very steep increases, will cost a bit more. Prices for junior shooting participation also saw slight adjustments.

League shooting will begin on Thursday, April 24. Practice shooting will be held on Tuesdays throughout the season, including the Tuesdays and Thursdays in April preceding the league start.

The annual Memorial week shoot will be held on May 24-25-26 this year under the guidance of Secretary Perry Nodsle again. This has always been a big event for the club and is attended by some of the best shotgunners in the area.

League shooting continues for l6 Thursdays, culminating with an awards banquet held at the club grounds in late August. It is a fun thing, this wing shooting game with a shotgun, and you're invited to participate. It is open to young shooters, and women, who find the competition exciting.

Club Officers

The Becker County Sportsmen's Club has reelected its officers who have served faithfully and effectively for the past several years. Brett Friesen was returned as President, Jeff Alberts, Vice President, and Perry Nodsle continues as club secretary. The board of directors includes Tom Lynch, Howard Fredine, and Bruce Kunz.

Wanton waste

When walking past a parked pick up truck in downtown Osakis, recently, the local Conservation Officer of the DNR smelled something bad. Upon a visual inspection of the truck, the officer found several mallards in a deteriorating condition. He waited for the owner to return, and charged him with wasting the waterfowl. The ducks had been taken in previous duck season, the hunter just never got around to getting them cleaned up for the table. A citation was issued and the hunter paid a fine.

Minnesota Conservation Federation

The MCF is a conglomerate of sportsmen's clubs from across the state. It is affiliated with the national headquarters at Washington, D.C., and the BCSC is a part of it all. The Minnesota Conservation Federation will hold its annual meeting at Detroit Lakes in September this year. Special events are being planned, holding them at the BCSC clubhouse, with shooting activities held during the three days, and a Saturday evening banquet are in the plans.

Wal-Mart's fishing tackle

With 3,420 stores nationwide, and $345 billion in sales annually, the retail giant moves a lot of merchandise. All of the stores have been well stocked with rods, reels, baits, and paraphernalia for sport fishing. Being conscious of needing all available space for merchandise that is in constant demand, the Wal-Mart officers recently made a reappraisal of the sport fishing lines, which in most stores are a seasonal item. The result was a cut back, eliminating fishing tackle entirely in 600 of the stores, go to seasonal in 2,100 others, with about 500 stores continuing to sell tackle the year round. Some of these will have their space reduced. This is nothing new as Wal-Mart adjusts to holiday stuff, like gardening, and Christmas items.

Gear like rods and reels do take up a lot of space. Small retailers of fishing tackle generally have enough space for these items, and sell live bait as well. Outboard motors too, but the small store in a rural community has been designed to handle all of this. Not so, Wal-Mart. The biggest retailer in the world is conscious of space allocations, and fishing tackle will have to go entirely in the aforestated cases.

Who will be most impacted by the change? Well, the rod and reel makers as well as the packaged bait manufacturers, and those making terminal tackle.

The big box stores that also have huge fishing tackle departments may reap some sort of a harvest with the Wal-Mart decision, but local sport shops are certain to benefit. Some of the big box stores have gone to China for a number of their copycat lures, but Wal-Mart had a reputation for dealing in a fair manner for the vast numbers of tackle manufactures who produce the gear. Of course, there are lines such as the Rapala lures, which are made in Sweden, but they're so common in the tackle boxes of American anglers, that we've come to accept them as almost a native product. Wal-Mart has a mixed reputation with the American shopper including the sportsmen. Firearms sales were curtailed or stopped entirely in many of the stores about two years ago, and shoppers lave made the adjustment.

The elimination of sport fishing tackle will not happen overnight, but one can look to diminished lines of fishing merchandise in some stores. In the Wal-Mart outlet west of town, see for yourself if you're a Wal-Mart shopper,

Reloading vs. promotional shotgun shells

Time was, we all reloaded our ammunition for trap and skeet shooting. Some of us crafted our lead shot loads for hunting ducks, grouse, and pheasant as well. I know, as I did this for decades. I never had any problem in the field with my reloads, and took a great many waterfowl out on the lakes of Tamarac Wildlife Refuge. It was to customize your loads, and economize as well. Low based trap shell empties worked great in constructing the heavy loads for hunting, shot was about $8 a bag of 25 pounds, primers were $3 a hundred when bought in thousand units. Powder was low cost and available.

Reloading was in its heyday. The ammunition companies sold us the powder and primers. It was a happy situation.

I believe it was Federal Cartridge of Anoka the first to offer lower cost promotional ammunition. Components entered a steep rise, moderate at first but escalating. Lead shot was the first to go out of sight, price wise. The rise was gradual but constant. Finally, promotional shells got a great deal cheaper, scarcely $4 a box while components continued to price themselves out of reach. The trend continues to this day. Price of a bag of the standard grade of lead for reloading trap loads has reached $40 a bag.

Consequently, reloading has hit the skids. Promotional shells continue to be a big thing with most shooters who are in the trap league or do some amount of competitive shooting. Reloading was a rather satisfying hobby in itself, and those hunter-shooters who have abandoned it will miss it as a pastime. Most of us reloaded some pretty good shotgun shells.

The assembly of rifle cartridges, another branch of reloading altogether continues unabated, with shooters securing cases, primers, powder and assembling some very accurate loads, unobtainable generally when shooting factory center-fire cartridges.