Skill and a little luck could win prizes at 'turkey shoot'

Events planned for shotgun, .22-caliber rifle or pistol, archery

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's called a turkey shoot, but no turkeys will be shot.

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The prizes are turkeys, and the public is invited to shoot rifles, pistols, shotguns, and bows and arrows the weekend before Thanksgiving, Nov. 17 and 18.

There are two events. Saturday's activities feature contemporary equipment, and Sunday's event includes old-fashioned firearms and an Old West atmosphere.

The Saturday event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Juneau Gun Club and the Indoor Shooting Range (the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Hunter Education Facility) at 5670 Montana Creek Road.

The Sunday event begins at 9 a.m. at the Hank Harmon Rifle Range, about a half-mile farther down Montana Creek Road.

Saturday's "turkey shoot" involves games of skill and chance for youth and adults. Loaner shotguns will be available, or participants may bring their own. Rifles and pistols will be provided. No personal rifles or pistols are allowed. Ammunition will be provided for all events.

The fee at the indoor range is $2 for each .22 caliber rifle or pistol event and each archery event, and each shotgun event has a fee ranging from $1 to $4. Turkey prizes are awarded on the hour for each shooting discipline (rifle, pistol, archery) and participants may enter and shoot an event as often as they wish.

Saturday's event is sponsored by the Juneau Gun Club, the Juneau Shooting Sports Foundation, the Juneau Archery Club and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Some food and hospitality will be provided. Call 789-9844 for more information.

Sunday's activities are sponsored by the local chapter of the Single Action Shooting Society and the Juneau Rifle and Pistol Club. Kirk McBride is the vice president of the Juneau Rifle and Pistol Club and the leader (known as the "territorial governor") of the local Single Action Shooting Society, the Juneau Gold Miners Posse Cowboy Action Group. The group organizes "cowboy action shoots" the third Sunday of each month.

"It's great fun," McBride said. "At our monthly shoots we average between 12 and 18 shooters. You can be as competitive as you want, or just have as much fun as you want. The guy who shoots last place has as much fun as the top shooter. That's what drew me in."

This is the first year McBride has organized a Thanksgiving season turkey shoot.

"I'm trying to start an event that's a little more old-fashioned," he said. The shooting contests center around single-shot firearms with iron sights. "Anybody that has old-style guns can bring them out. No optical sights on the guns, no bolt action. We'll also have guns people can borrow."

McBride said action shoots started in late 1980s, featuring single-action pistols such as the old Colt .45, lever-action rifles chambered in pistol calibers, and old-style, pre-1900 shotguns. He said action shoots have become popular in the United States and beyond. More information is available at

"It's the fastest growing shooting sport in the world," he said. "There are clubs in every state and Australia. It's a lot of fun."

The society celebrates the old west and western culture. Shooters don western outfits and are encouraged to develop a cowboy or western persona, but safety is always at the forefront, McBride said.

The marksmanship events on Sunday will include:

• Long-range rifle single shot, lever action and pistol caliber, iron-sights only.

• Revolver with adjustable and fixed sights, shot single action.

• .22-caliber rifle, lever or pump action, iron sights.

Matches are timed, but are not speed draw events. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded. McBride said winners will receive gift certificates rather than frozen turkeys. Each event will be $5 to enter, or $20 for all matches.

McBride advised participants to dress warmly and encouraged them to bring binoculars or spotting scopes to help check targets. Eye and ear protection is required. For more information, call McBride (aka Buckskin John) at 321-4032.

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