The Pelham Fish and Game Club in New Hampshire is right up there with the biggest and busiest shooting clubs I’ve visited.
I had the distinct pleasure of shooting Bullseye there this past Saturday and, as recorded line cadences seem to be taking over at many clubs, Pelham does it the way it was intended to be done, and they did it extremely well.
“Is the line ready?” (Pause.)
(Then, a long pause as we stand ready while a minor issue was resolved somewhere far to my left.)
“The command to load has been given.” (Slight pause.)
“Is the line ready?” (Pause.)
“The line is ready.”
The caller’s timing was perfect, every bit as regular as that of a recording but far more capable of responding to immediate needs and conditions. I found it quite easy to double-check what he was saying against my expectations and, at the same time, run the preliminary parts of my shot plan woven into his cadence.
And the Pelham club is far more than Bullseye. They have areas for just about everything, and most of those areas were engaged as we fired the Bullseye event. I could hear action pistol sports with the clang of steel targets off to our right as well as high-power rifle to our left. On the way in I passed shotgun areas as well as the silhouette range.
And dotted around their large acreage and near each different shooting discipline’s area were storage buildings in good repair.
They obviously have a large membership but more significantly, it is also well governed with an engaged membership to do the work. Those latter qualities don’t just happen. You need good people to make the decisions and then motivate the worker bees. Pelham knows how to get it done. I was impressed!
The main club house was a hundred yards from the Bullseye range. It was busy that Saturday morning with a Boy Scout function and pot luck. The rest rooms were in the back so we had reason to go through the building and sneak a peek at the facility. It was bright inside with good lighting, clean and in excellent condition. And there was plenty of parking just outside the door. I will venture a guess they keep the building nicely busy.
The club is slightly north of the town of Pelham New Hampshire. Living out in the west, I’m accustomed to big states where it takes half a day or more to get to the next one but, around Pelham, things are close, real close.
Depending on where you draw the line marking the edge of Boston, the Pelham range can be as close as 7 miles. And on a Saturday morning before traffic thickens, you can get there in not much more than an hour from just about any spot in or around Boston.
In all my business trips to the Boston area in the past, it never occurred to me that I could be at a Bullseye event in the New Hampshire forests so quickly. But now that I know, I’ll be packin’ my hardware. In the off-season (as in “snowy and cold”), they move indoor for competitions.
Bill Dutton runs the Bullseye show up there. Check the club’s web page for details and you can also reach Bill that way for last minute updates.
But don’t be scared off if Bill isn’t around. Those “Live Free or Die” (New Hampshire state slogan) folks know their Bullseye. You can expect a well run, safe, and tough competition.
And they’re nice folks.
But if you shoot Bullseye, you probably figured as much.