Maciulis: Sportsman’s Club open house an opportunity for shooters
September 12, 2012 2:12PM
Updated: September 14, 2012 9:53PM
If you think northeastern Illinois’ collar counties are prime real estate today, you should have seen it when it was mostly open farmland broken only by hedgerows and dense stands of hardwoods and a boy and his dog could walk in a straight line from morning until sunset and never see another row of homes.
While it may no longer be possible to walk down the center of Route 59 on a brisk fall morning cradling a shotgun while watching your dog cutting from one side of the road to the other, there are still some of the old outdoors traditions which have survived and which enhance our quality of life.
Among them, the Naperville Sportsman’s Club which was once far outside the outskirts but today stands minutes from downtown.
From noon until 3 p.m. Sunday, the club and Naperville Park District will host a unique “Step Outside” event at the Sportsman’s Park, West Street at Martin Avenue in Naperville. Jay Spitz, event chairman for the Naperville Sportsman’s Club, described an open house-style event which the club is hosting for anyone who may be unfamiliar with sports shooting or fly casting to spend some hands-on time as their guest. The NSC and PD will provide all the necessary instruction and equipment.
We continued the questioning: What is prompting this annual event?
“One of the missions of the Naperville Sportsman’s Club,” Spitz said, “is to promote the Olympic sport of trapshooting. With ‘Step Outside,’ our goal is to introduce non-shooters to the shooting sports. As an open house, the goal is to open Sportsman’s Park to the community at-large. This event celebrates our 75th year as a Naperville community organization, now literally behind Edward Hosptial, in the heart of town.”
What is “Step Outside?”
“Step Outside is a mentoring program developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to encourage new participation in the shooting sports, fishing and archery,” Spitz said. “The Naperville Sportsman’s Club open house will be offering basic shotgun instruction clinics, with participants shooting at flying clay targets alongside a trained instructor.
“The clubhouse and range have modern facilities and are ADA accessible for those with physical challenges. There is no specific age limit, but our instructors will assess each individual’s ability to participate safely. Those not wanting to shoot are invited to watch. Refreshments will be served.”
What if I’ve never shot any type of firearm?
“Every beginner,” Spitz explained, “will be given firearm safety instruction and be paired with an certified shotgun instructor. All necessary eye and ear protection will be provided for our guests’ use. The instructors will help select an appropriate firearm for each participant. Again, for safety purposes, instructors will evaluate each individual’s ability to participate.”
What is Sportsman’s Park?
Sportsman’s Park is a facility of the Naperville Park District. The trapshooting range is open to the general public Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings, every week of the year, weather permitting. The facility has three trap fields boasting fully automatic trap machines with voice-activated equipment. The shooting range was originally developed by the Naperville Sportsman’s Club in 1948.
Where is Sportsman’s Park?
The Park is adjacent to downtown Naperville on 27 beautifully wooded acres off West Street at Martin Avenue. There is ample parking on site and signs will be posted, with volunteers providing assistance. For information, visit email@example.com or call (630) 369-3666.
The Prairie Partners will host the 15th annual Prairie Day at Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area (beside Heidecke Lake) from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Sponsored by Midwest Generation, which also negotiated a long-term lease with the IDNR to allow public fishing at the former cooling lake, the event will include the following special events: Jennifer Poelson reading her stories at 9 a.m.; Traveling World of Reptiles at 10:45; a magician at noon; Scales & Tales Animal Show at 1 p.m. and Illinois Raptors at 2:30 (tentative).
The American Indian Traveling Exhibit will be on display throughout the day, along with IDNR Police Wildlife Mobile Exibit and the regular museum and
interactive displays that the center features. This is a unique and wonderful opportunity to enjoy one of the most-visited state areas while enjoying the universally appealing ways people in our area enjoyed the outdoors before the electronic age.
Goose Lake Prairie area is at Jugtown Road, which butts against Lorenzo Road midway between Interstate 55 and Route 47, technically in Morris.
Spend some time outdoors. It will refresh you, inform you and can change a youngster forever, regardless how old you are.