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Sportsman's Club successes highlight past year and a half

Each summer kids from the Boys and Girls Club visit the PSC Pheasant Barn in Perham to learn about and visit the club's birds. The Club releases over 10,000 pheasants into the wild each year. Submitted photo

The Perham Sportsman's Club, which started with a couple guys and a couple ideas, has blossomed and the past 18 months attest to the work done by the group.

The Pheasant release project, started by the group a few years ago, has recently seen its bird numbers depicted in the latest Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report. (see attached map)

A large number of pheasants are depicted in Otter Tail County, with Perham at the apex of a southwestern migration.

"I'm not going to say those are our birds, but I am," Craig Swanson said.

The Club has released a total number of 44,300 pheasants during the scope of the breeding project since 2006.

"That's a success story," Swanson said.

The group leases a barn on Fort Thunder Road, near Club property, to raise the pheasants.

Through word of mouth only, the birds have been distributed to landowners for $3 per bird. The pheasants are sold out every year, over 11,000 in 2012.

The charge per bird covers feed cost and rent on the barn. Volunteers do the remainder of the work to raise the birds.

"It's our biggest fundraiser," Swanson said.

A typical commercial cost per bird is around $5.

"Sometimes you wonder why, when you have to go feed 11,000 birds and its 100 degrees in the barn...and then you see a map like this and it's pretty exciting."

Open range day

The club will be hosting their annual Open Range Day at the Club's rifle range Saturday, Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The range will be open to the public with experts available to help sight in guns. Refreshments and food will be available for a good will donation.

Club board members will also be available to discuss the benefits of membership in the Sportsman's Club.

The group recently crested 140 members.

"Our goal was 200 when we started and we're getting pretty close."

Six years ago, the group finished their first year with only 16 members.

The spike in membership is notably due to the opening of the club's rifle range.

A $60 annual Club membership fee allots members the use of the range free of charge and each member can bring any friends or family along each visit.

"We want it to be used. It's not an exclusive club thing, although we do need general support."

The range is located at Harvest Avenue and Fort Thunder Road southwest of Perham.

Chili Feed

The Club's largest fundraiser is their annual Chili Feed. This year's feed will be at Whiskey River Bar & Grill in Perham Thursday, Nov. 1.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Chill feed starts at 6 p.m. and the event will be done by 8 p.m.

"It's kid-friendly so we don't want it going all night."

The Feed features events like raffles, door prizes and games for kids only.

35 guns will be given away and five BB guns are donated annually and given away at the feed.

Tickets will be on sale in October at Gene's Sports Shop or from any Sportsman's Club board member.

Three gun raffle

The Club currently has another fundraiser going in the form of the Fall Gun Raffle.

Tickets are $10, available at Gene's Sports Shop and the winners will receive one of the following: 1st place - Weatherby Mark V Euromark 257 Weatherby Mag with High Grade Wood Stock valued at $2,200; 2nd place - Remingon 700 CDL 6mm Limited Edition High Grade Wood, Stainless Fluted Barrel valued at $1,200; and 3rd place - Olympic Arms 223 Camouflage Ar Style Rifle, valued at $1,100.

Winners need not be present to win and must be 18 years of age or older to purchase a raffle ticket.

The drawing will take place at Gene's Sport Shop Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.

Club House

One of the main goals for the Club was to construct a Club House on their 160 acres of land dedicated for habitat education and planting and also the site of their rifle range.

Plans are in the works to build the Club House this coming spring. An active committee has put forth budgetary numbers and drawings have been created for the house.

The aim is to provide a place for groups to gather, not just the Sportsman's Club, but any group of outdoor enthusiasts, especially kids, including Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts.

"We're not talking membership. This is a community thing."

For more information on the Perham Sportsman's Club contact Craig Swanson 218-347-7929 or Frank Vorderbruggen 218-849-2701.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

(218) 844-1442