SOUTH HADLEY – The South Hadley Sporting Club at 135 River Rd. has been struggling this past year due to COVID-19.
President Gregory Tiner said, “We are struggling to pay taxes and everything right now. We are really struggling bad financially. We’ve had to cancel a few shoots because we only had five people show up. Usually, we need 10 people to have it and also the price of ammo is skyrocketing so that cuts into what we actually generate to pay our bills.”
The Club was established in 1937 to promote a program for the protection of forests, the propagation of fish and the restoration of the same. Currently, they have around 74 members including life members. Membership is $25 the first year then $20 the years after that. Families with children under 16 years of age can join the club for $30. Their most well-known events are their Turkey Shoots and Lobster Shoots. “It’s a place where people who love the outdoors, fishing and hunting, to come together for camaraderie,” Tiner replied. “Our purpose is to promote and establish more cordial relationships between sportsmen and landowners. To assist in supporting legislation that may favorably affect the above-mentioned items; assisting the Director of Fish and Game in the distribution of fish and game in the field and to enjoy the benefits derived from all activities the club members may vote to carry on. We offer shotgun only shooting range and archery range. We have plenty of property for those to come down there and hang out.”
Tiner has been around the club since he was 5 years old and learned how to shoot down there with his father and grandfather. “It’s basically the camaraderie,” Tiner expressed. “There’s a bunch of us that go hunting together for deer. I’ve met a lot of friends down here and it’s nice to be around people who have similar interests of hunting, fishing and the outdoors.”
Tiner told Reminder Publishing that financially COVID-19 hurt them tremendously and they couldn’t afford their membership being part of G.O.A.L any longer. G.O.A.L is an affiliated club that protects the rights of all legally responsible gun owners. Tiner recalled a time where him and the members would be there all day long doing two alphabets of rounds for shoots to now only going through a half alphabet.
“The last couple of years before COVID-19 have been really tough; I don’t know if it’s a lack of interest from the younger people not getting into the outdoors or something to that effect. It was starting to wane, but we were hanging on and then COVID-19 really shut us down big time.”
The Club had to close down completely when the pandemic first started. When the governor announced that outdoor shooting ranges could be open, they were able to at least have their turkey shoots in the summer in order for them to pay their electric bills, property, taxes, etc. Because they are a nonprofit, all of their income goes to paying their bills.
In the meantime, the Club will have an outdoor picnic on Aug. 28 at 135 River Rd. with a cutoff date for buying tickets at Aug. 11. The picnic will be an assortment with various items to eat. “We will always appreciate donations to keep the spirit of the outdoors alive as well to pass on the tradition of conservation of the outdoors and wildlife as well as well as responsible gun ownership,” Tiner responded.
For more information, call Gregory Tiner at 513-0308. Residents can also contact and message the South Hadley Sporting Club at their Facebook page to join the club if they wish.