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Annual Memorial Day trap shoot at BCSC Monday

If you're a shooter the place for you this weekend is the Becker County Sportsmen's Club trap range east of town on Highway 10. Trap shooters from many towns are here for the 31st. Annual trap shoot. An exciting, colorful affair, there's money and trophies to be won here. Free hors'd oeuvres on Saturday evening, lunch counter and refreshments available. You should come out!

In today's sophisticated way of doing things, the clay birds are flung at high speed by an automated electric machine called the PAT trap. The club has five of these. Your target is instantly and reliably released by a microphone placed near your shooting station. You call "pull" or some other command and a claybird appears. Take 'em! Its great fun to watch, even more fun to join in.

You'll receive a gold dollar (Franklin Pierce) if you shoot 25 straight, and there'll be lots of them this weekend. You can also have a peek at shotguns costing $12,000 or more. The gun racks will be full of them.

Are handguns your thing?

The shotgun and trap shooting has long been the principal shooting activity of Becker County Sportsman. But a group in the club likes pistols and revolvers.

The men do not have regular meeting nights, but there are evenings in the beginning of the week when they'll gather together their paraphernalia and punch some holes in paper targets. If you like handguns, they invite you to join them.

Among them are persons you know, including Howard Fredine, William Bondy, Dave Friedl, Arnold Larson, Joel Wambach and Brian Mrnak. Rimfire and center fire guns are in use.

No increase in fishing license

A proposal that was a part of the DNR Game & Fish Bill called for a $4 increase in the cost of a resident fishing license. This was removed at the last minute before the bill came up for vote. So, there'll be no increase next year, but the idea is very much alive. It is likely that the increase will again be written into future legislation.

Winchester's new line of firearms

Any of you readers would have been thrilled to the experience a morning that I enjoyed recently. I was browsing at a large gun store at St. Paul, when a representative of Winchester Repeating Arms opened up a semi cargo van and displayed all of the current line of Winchesters. One could handle the guns. This was at an outdoor parking lot. I saw all of the Model 70 rifles, a pair of very fancy Model 94 carbines fancy like never before. A pair of old Model 1895 and 1886 long lever guns in calibers such as 405 Winchester, 45/70, and, get this, 30-40 Krag the Danish army caliber.

The Super X shotguns are now the S3 puns. There were nine different styles of finish among these, from dull black polymer, to standard varnish and camo.

All of them were in the best grades, and of course, they were costly. A Model 70 rifle lists at $1,279, as the manufacturer's suggested retail price.

A number of Belgian made Model 101 over-under shotguns were available. All styles of finish were available here too, at about $2,200 per copy. Winchester certainly has reversed itself and is now marketing excellent guns that any of us would be proud to have in our gun racks. If cost is of no concern, you can find what you want in the new Winchesters.

Nature's time for replenishment

May and June are busy times for nature, as it takes on reproduction of all species. The brown hen incubates a clutch of eggs in the safety and concealment of a farmer's alfalfa field, or in a weedy ditch of a rural highway. The mourning dove nests in the thick branches of an evergreen tree in town or in a remote area. Tree squirrels and cottontail rabbits multiply in the gardens or the trees in towns and villages.

In the case of most birds the male stands guard while the hen scrapes out a shallow trench in a clump of vegetation. Chicks are soon born and are incubated in a short time. Mortality rates are high. Predators including the red fox find the nest and destroy it, or inclement weather chills the young chicks before they are hardy.

A host of carnivores, and poisoning by pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides kills many. About 80 percent of the eggs hatched but the chicks die for these or other reasons, including birds of prey like hawks or owls.

The surviving birds mature quickly, and by September or October represent about a quarter of those in the original nest. Now the birds are large and quick enough to take flight if some predator, farm dog or cat sees them. Yet, somehow, tens of thousands of ruffed grouse, pheasants and sharptails reach adulthood.

Waterfowl invade the deepest part of a marsh and bring off broods. Teal, mallards, gadwalls and mallards multiply. Predatory animals here are raccoon, skunk, badger and again the hawks and owls. Wood ducks multiply quite easily nowadays due to the nesting boxes that sportsmen have generously provided.

The tiny woodies fly down from very high heights, in some cases. They leave the nest at the mother's urging. Once on the ground, she will gather them together in a compact brood and lead them to water.

The larger animals, too, like the deer reproduce in early spring and mature in the summer months. A sad fact remains in that deer are killed by collisions with cars. These animals have different predators from our birds and we can do little about them.