HOLDERNESS — The annual fall pot luck dinner of the Pemigewasset Valley Fish and Game Club was held at the clubhouse at 295 Beede Road in Holderness on Friday, October 25. Members and guests were treated to a variety of delicious dishes and desserts donated by many of those attending.
Following the dinner a discussion of the club's history and heritage was given by Fred Allen. Fred has been a club member since April, 1965, was club president for 14 years (1995 – 2009) and has been on the Board of Directors for over 22 years.
The Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club boasts a proud history which began in 1941. Due to the persistent efforts of Rosco Whitcomb a meeting was held in March 1941 at the Firemen's Hall in Ashland for the purpose of organizing a fish and game club in the local area.
In 1950 the club purchased 330 acres off Beede Road in Holderness. In 1951 the original 200 yard shooting range was constructed and in 1952 the 40 x 80 foot, two story club house was built under the guidance of club president Win Staples. The club held monthly meetings at the clubhouse spring through fall and met elsewhere including at the Ashland schools in the winter months.
Notable milestones include the club being recognized by the National Rifle Association as one of twenty clubs in the nation to receive the President's Award in 1997 and in 2001 the Most Improved Club of the Year recognition was awarded to the Pemigewasset Valley Fish and Game Club. The club has been an affiliate member of the NRA for around seventy years.
The club has given full scholarships for two or more youth to the state conservation camp (now known as the Barry Conservation Camp) since the mid-'50's.
A high-power shooting team has competed in the NH High Power Rifle League since the '70's and 3-D archery programs were started in 1974. The IBO (International Bowhunters Organization) sanctioned NH 3-D Archery Championship has been held the past fifteen years. The shooting sport of Silhouette Matches wherein steel plates are knocked over with shots at 40 to 200 yards was initiated under the direction of John Bartlett and David Hall in 2006 and in 2007 IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) matches were organized by Bob Klimm. In March of each year the St Patties Day match, 40 shots offhand at 100 yards with any center fire rifle, is held under the direction of Mike Brown
Cowboy action shooting matches were first offered in the summer of 1997. The first Pemi CAS (Cowboy Action Shooting) State Championship sanctioned by SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) was held in July of 2000 and hosted several times since.
In 2007 the first Biathlon matches were held and now several matches a year are presented matching shooting with sessions on snowshoes or cross country skiing in the winter and run, walk, or wheelchair or mountain bikes in the summer. An 11 year old shooter, Sean Doherty, who had never before pulled a trigger, participated in the first very summer biathlon at the Pemi and is now on a fast track for Olympic competition.
The downstairs of the clubhouse was "finished" in 1994 and indoor archery facilities opened that fall. In 1998 the club became affiliated with the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation.
Since the '50's the club has hosted many scout and church youth camporees yearly, both summer and winter events. Some of these include shooting safety clinics. Several women's shooting clinics, youth clinics and training, pistol and trap clinics, and .22 pistol and rifle matches are scheduled yearly. The club also hosts Venture Crew 58 with a rifle team for boys and girls age 14 – 20. The Crew shoots Thursday evenings, indoors in the winter and on the outdoor ranges in the warmer months. The yearly New Day's Trap Shoot is a big deal to start off the year with a big bang.
In 2001 a grant was awarded to the club by the NH Fish and Game Department in its Small Grants program to cover the cost of developing a Forest Stewardship Plan to guide the use of the 330 acres with a balance for the best use to include forestry, recreation, and wildlife habitat. Grants from the NHF&G have also resulted in several small crab apple plantations on the grounds providing wildlife with winter nutrition.
The club has provided a fundraising committee for the NRA Foundation since 1999. The fundraisers, known as a Friends of NRA Dinner and Fundraiser, has draise 2/3 of a million dollars in NH in grants for the shooting sports.