Win a turkey, be a 'turkey'

A man takes aim at a paper shooting target with a turkey on it during the Juneau Gun Club's annual Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot last year.

It’s time to shoot your way to Thanksgiving dinner.


Organizers of the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot, a marksmenship competition, have 50 turkeys to give to skilled (or lucky) winners, though Juneau Gun Club President Mal Menzies said they’ve been known to get more turkeys — or, if there are no turkeys to be had, hams — if they think more are merited.

“It’s kind of a community give away. We never know who’s going to show up, but it always seems like a whole lot of people,” he said.

Several different kinds of contests happen throughout the day, both outdoors and indoors, Menzies said.

There’s the bubble shoot, which is intended for kids. There’s also card shoots (the goal is to shoot closest to the middle of the card), trap shoots, in which shooters aim at a flying, five-inch orange disk (clay pigeon), and Annie Oakley, in which 20 to 25 shooters line up to shoot the same kind of “bird.” If one person misses it and the next in line hits it, the first shooter is knocked out of the competition.

Small-bore rifle, pistol, and archery competitions are traditionally target-based. The winner is the one with the highest score.

“It’s a great time and we enjoy giving the turkeys out. The winners always enjoy getting a turkey … and there are some real turkeys running around,” Menzies joked, referring to some of the people participating in the shoot. (There are no live birds.)

“It’s almost like organized chaos when it’s going on,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun for people.”

Safety is a priority, with numerous safety officers at the event, Menzies said.

Organizers provide rifles, pistols and all ammunition. No personal pistols or rifles are allowed. Shotguns are available for loan, though participants are allowed to bring their own.

The shoot began in 1952 and has happened almost every year since.

The event is hosted by the Juneau Gun Club, the Juneau Shooting Sports Foundation, the Juneau Archery Club and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

It runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 5670 Montana Creek Road. For more information, go to, call the JGC at 789-9844, ADF&G at 465-4265, or call Menzies at 789-9025.


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