Area archers do not have to wait until August to start dialing in for the coming hunting seasons since the Isanti County Sportsman’s Club offers two fun avenues to hone in the bow skills.
First off, there are the “Sunday Shoots” which are open to both members and non-members for a small fee, and they are a blast. The first one was held on May 20, and despite the rain which came later that morning, participants still enjoyed walking the miles of trails where they challenged themselves shooting at a variety of 3-D targets from multiple distances.
Sunday Shoots will be held again June 10, July 8 and August 12 at the Isanti County Sportsman’s Club, starting at 8 a.m.
Organizing the Sunday Shoots are Jeff Gotz of Isanti, Amy Thompson of Rush City and Kenny Pouliout of Isanti. They adjust the 40 targets for a variety of looks and help track the scoring for the walk-about shoot and the extra bonus games.
“Sunday Shoots have been going on at the club for at least the past 18 years. I remember coming out here when I was 4 with my dad, Gary, who helped organize them,” explained Gotz during a break on May 20. “The fun thing is you get in a nice hike through the club’s trails and get to shoot in actual woods settings, just like real hunting.”
Participants get shots from the ground, elevated stands and blinds, keeping track of their score through a 3-ring method. Targets come in a variety of species: deer, moose, bear, elk, turkey, coyote– even an alligator, jackalope, carp and large frog. Gotz added an anecdote about the life-sized moose target which was positioned at the final stand. Last year, a bear chewed off its legs, so a large branch has to employed as a crutch to hold up the large body.
After shooters come off the line, they can try their hand at two additional fun games. One is a deck of cards spread on a wide target, with door prizes written down on certain cards. The longest shot is 55 -yards for that game, with other distances for younger shooters and/or recurve shooters.
Then there’s the Robin Hood-like long shot game where participants attempt a 120-yard shot at a balloon positioned on a mattress-sized target. Successful shooters get their name in a drawing for a Cabela’s gift card.
Monday Night Archery League
Gotz also invites ICSC members to take part in the Monday Night Archery League which began in April and runs through the last Monday in August. Shooters rack up scoring totals on 20 targets each night for individual honors.
The cool thing about the league is that season standings are not kept– they just go on a week-by-week basis.
“That way, if people want to take off weeks for family vacations or whatever, that’s fine. You just make the league nights when it fits your schedule,” said Gotz.
Membership information can be found on the club’s website: www.icsclub.org.