Timeline of Historical Events
2014 - Ringold Hatchery Fish Recovery
It is apparent from the Historical Listing of Awards and Events that the Club has been and continues to be involved in a wide variety of wildlife and habitat related activities. Many are short term and have been completed while others have become continuing annual responsibilities of the Club. All have been covered in the monthly Club Newsletter. The ones that have become annual responsibilities are listed below with their date of inception:
1948-Wild Game Dinner
1952-Guzzler Maintenance and Construction
1952-Sending Youth to a Summer Conservation Camp
1955-Sending Club Members 0n a Quality Hunting or Fishing Trip
1957-Teaching Hunter Education
1974-Nominating Club Members for Internal Service Awards
1983-Wood Duck Nest Box Project
1985-Operation of Salmon Booth at Allied Arts Festival (Fundraiser)
1992-Operation of Fishing Pond (Lunker Lake) and Pellet Rifle Range at Sportsman’s Show
1994-Memorial (Fitzner) Scholarship Award
2001-Fishing Kids Outdoor Experience
2003-Operation of Salmon in the Classroom
2007-Game Meat Recovery for WDFW
2009-Operation of Club Website
2011-Keep Hope Afloat Sponsorship
Information on current activity in these Continuing Items is provided in the Library section
Volunteers and/or leaders are always needed
Richland Rod & Gun Club organized- 1945
Meetings were held in 1945 to determine sportsman interest. Guy Richards was appointed as the first President. Potential leaders were identified and at an election of officers held in January 1946, John Moffett was elected president, L.S. Randall Vice President, H.E. Scott Secretary and R.S. Quarles Treasurer. Both general and board meetings were held once a month.
Clubhouse, Banquet, Trap Shooting and Fishing-1946
A tract house known as Berlin camp on the Columbia River was rented for a Clubhouse. It was later leased from March 15, 1946 to October 31, 1949. The area was cleaned up, the house remodeled, painted and converted into a meeting place. Meetings were held on the first Friday of the month. A banquet was held in Richland for the Director of the Department of Game, Don Clarke and members of the Game Department and Game Commission. Traps were installed on the grounds and trap shooting became the principal activity of the Club with shooting on Wednesday evenings and Sunday. The fishing committee was very active with A. C. Beltzner as chairman. They assembled information on methods of fishing, where to go and how to get there.
Eight County Sportsmen’s Association-1946
The Club's first participation in state organizations was the Eight County Sportsmen's Association meeting at Walla Walla with Barney Wickman as Club representative. The Association met annually in early spring to develop recommendations for the fall’s hunting seasons with emphasis on the eight counties in Southeast Washington. The recommendations were then forwarded to the State Game Department for use in establishing hunting seasons. Representatives from each of the counties were invited to attend by the host county which rotated from county to county.
Model Habitat Plan-1947
During 1947 Max Walton served as president with emphasis on developing farms, taken over by the Government in the Richland vicinity, into a model wildlife habitat area. Bob Brownwart of the Game Department planted approximately 300 acres into crops suitable for pheasants and geese. 4-H Club members in the area raised pheasants for stocking. With the advent of a major construction program late in 1947 and 1948 in Richland and North Richland, the project was discontinued because of the uncertain status of land about Richland.
B. 0. Wickman was the Club president in 1948. Lights were installed on the Club grounds to permit night trap shooting with Ralph Parks chairman. Late in the year interest in trap shooting declined and it was suggested that the Club consolidate with the Pasco and Kennewick clubs.
Smelt Fry and Fishing Trip, Eight County Meeting, Club House lease canceled-1949
In 1949 Lowell Johnson was elected president. A smelt fry and fishing trip were events led by Wendell Pope. It was decided by an 11 to 2 vote to retain the traps and maintain the Richland Rod and Gun Club, Club House. However, because of a rent increase, the lease on the Club House was cancelled on October 31,1949. Representatives from the Club attended the Eight County meeting.
Grain distribution and other Activities-1950
Lowell Johnson was re-elected president in 1950. This was the year the Club readjusted its program with more emphasis on education type meetings, wildlife management and participation in statewide sportsmen's organizations. The place of meeting changed to the Corral Room of the Desert Inn. January and February of this year produced heavy snows and low temperatures. Between 5000 and 6000 pounds of grain were distributed in the area for game birds. The Eight County Sportsmen's Association met in Richland with B. 0. Wickman, president, Paul McMahon, secretary, and Roy Brands as Club representative. The regular executive board meeting was set up to handle the detailed Club business and the general meeting would be devoted to interesting and informative topics.
Bass Transplanting Project - 1950
This project was started in the spring of 1950. Permission was secured from the Atomic Energy Commission to catch smallmouth bass in sloughs north of Richland and adjacent to the Columbia River. The bass were transplanted and released into the Yakima River with Paul McMahon, A. Moore, Wendell Pope and Lowell Johnson as co-captains. It was during one of these trips that club member Ray Wonacott caught the state record smallmouth Bass on a fly. These spring trans plantings continued for a number of years.
Joined the Washington State Sportsmen’s Council (WSSC)-1950
The Washington State Sportsmen's Council was created in 1934 to provide a voice for sportsmen to interact with wildlife managers and the public in the interest of ensuring a sustainable harvest in wildlife populations and conservation of state lands. The WSSC was very politically active in successfully moving wildlife and conservation management from the archaic county level to the state
Game and Fish Department level through their formative years.
The club joined in 1950 and a continuing share of the Club's activities were involved with the quarterly meetings of the WSSC. The Club sent delegates to each meeting which was held in different parts of the state. Unfortunately, because of a lack of Club member interest, membership in the WSSC was discontinued in 1989. However, it continued sending youth to the summer WSSC Conservation Camp.
Wellsian Way Juvenile Pond-1950 to1981
Club records show that the Wellsian Way Juvenile Pond was constructed in 1950 under the leadership of Club member Art Mitchel who lined up the volunteer heavy equipment operators and their equipment. Other Club members participating were: Ken Parchen, Rex Bissel and Al Olson. The work was done in cooperation with the Richland Recreation Unit.
The Pond was first planted with trout in 1950 by the Washington State Dept. of Game. The first record of the Club arranging for trout planting with the Dept. of Game was in the spring of 1956. Also, in March 1957, Club members installed an intake pipe and weir box to help maintain the water level. A fish screen was also installed, the total effort required 150 man-hours of effort. Members involved were: Dave Byrd, Jerry Zeitler, Lane Bray, Ernie Berreth, George Houtrouw, Pat Hogan, Ward Lyon, Ted McKenzie, Kenny Schulz and Howard Gardner. Smallmouth Bass were planted by Club members in April 1957. Starting probably in 1950-51, the Washington State Game Dept. Game Fish regulations listed the Pond as Wellsian Lake with an April opening date and it was open through Oct. 31 for juveniles only (under 14 years of age). The Pond was managed this way through 1981. Through the years the Club arranged for the trout plants with the Washington State Dept. of Game and had periodic work parties for maintenance and cleanup. One reference states that the Pond was stocked with 25,000 trout in 1963. Also, in April 1965 the Club received a letter from Ernie Curtis, Recreation Director, City of Richland thanking the members of the Junior Richland Rod and Gun Club for their assistance in cleaning up the Pond on March 13 prior to its opening in April. Another reference acknowledges their assistance in the 1966 cleanup. Other references for the Club's activities with the pond were in May 1973 and April 1974.
There is no information on why the last trout stocking was in 1981. According to Howard Gardner the most probable reason is that water was shut off to the pond. The pond was located on the southern part of the Carmichael Middle School athletic field.
Big Game Dinner-1951 to Present
Mitch Kershaw, a local Game Protector and Club member, was responsible for the Club's first Big Game Dinner and Annual Banquet on January 20, 1951. He gave the Club two deer that had been road killed on the Hanford project. The deer were prepared and served to the Club at the Desert Inn. The meal was excellent and the Big Game Dinner became an annual affair. Tickets were $ 1.50 apiece and 155 were sold including 14 complementary tickets. There was a loss of $45 for the dinner.
Although the Club supplied moose meat for many of the dinners, they were all held at local hotels and were catered.
In 1971 with the donation of 100 pounds of boned moose meat from a moose shot by Delia Teeple and Dorothy Smith, Delia and Bruce Teeple decided that Club members could cook the Big Game Dinner by themselves. Everett Weakley and Bob Zinsli arranged for use of the Knights of Columbus facility which was well equipped for food preparation and cooking large amounts of food plus a large room which could seat up to 200 people. The Teeples organized and with the help of other club members cooked and served wild game. The dinner was a huge success and set the precedent for continued cooking of the Big Game Dinner by Club members. The dinners were held in the KC Hall and the Teeples were involved every year until 1981, 11 years. After that, the following club members were in charge of the dinner: Lee Harrington (2), Bob McPhee (2), Bill Stinson, Bob DeWolf (2), Howard
Gardner, Jerry Massey and Jim Choate.
Delia Teeple on left
In later years, Jerry Zeitler was in charge from 1994 to 2010 (17 yrs). Currently Marilyn Steele is in charge of the dinners.
The following series of photos depicts the variety of activities that take place during a Wild Game Dinner. Everything from selling raffle tickets to dessert.
Sampling Hours D'oeuvres
Serving Wild Game Dishes
Talk on Steelhead Fishing-1951
Bob Meigs of the Washington State Game Department talked on steelhead in April of 1951 and advised the Club that more exploring needed to be done locally for steelhead fishing, particularly on the Snake River.
Youth Fly Tying Class-1951
In February 1951 Paul McMahon was elected president. As a public service feature the Club sponsored a film on Africa by M. Schultz of Harrington, Washington. It was attended by 750 people. The Club sponsored a youth fly tying class conducted by Paul Hesselgrave and Dick Crow; 26 young fly tiers enrolled and 15 finished the course
Goose Banding Project-1951
Club members assisted in the spring Columbia River Goose Banding Project. A Snake River steelhead float trip was taken with 13 members participating, with Brudge Henderson chairman. The Club participated in a hearing conducted by the Army Engineers relative to use of the McNary pool and setting aside of lands for the McNary Game Range.
First Guzzler Installed and Continuing-1952
A guzzler is a water tank with an apron and slanted sheet iron rain catchers that drain rain into the tank. In Eastern Washington once the tank is filled, it will hold water all year and provide new habitat for open game. The water in the tank is available to all wildlife and it allows wildlife to disperse from natural water sources thereby increasing their numbers. RRGC members installed their first guzzler on the John Mills Ranch in the Horse Heaven Hills in December 1952. It has continued to the present to install and repair guzzlers where needed in desert areas around the Tri-Cities. Over the years, a total of 253 guzzlers have been installed and are repaired and maintained in the Tri-Cities area. Older model guzzlers have wooden support posts that burn in the event of a fire and require reconstruction. Newer models have metal support posts.
In August 1952, for the first time, three boys: Gary Sanson ,Roger Anderson and Leland Arnold were sent to the Washington State Sportsmens Council sponsored Orcas Island Conservation Camp for a one week campout. The boys were exposed to a wide variety of outdoor related activities including overnight survival. The club paid a $25.00 fee for Arnold and the other two boys went at their own expense. The boys were selected based on an essay contest that the club conducted.
The club has continued sponsoring Junior Sportsman to the Camp to the present. It provides instruction in shooting, hunting, fishing, survival, first aid and conservation issues. Students come back from the Camp with great enthusiasm for wildlife oriented outdoor activities.
Junior Sportsmen's Club Started-1953
A Junior Sportsmen's Club was organized in 1953 with Dave Jackson as chairman of the youth activities committee. Later Gene Bernard, a teacher, became leader of the Junior Club which was renamed the Fur, Fin and Feather Club.
Columbia National Wildlife Refuge-1953
Throughout the years the Club has actively participated in legislative activities at both state and national levels. By participating in hearings during 1953, Club member Dick Foster was instrumental in the establishment of the Lower Columbia National Wildlife Refuge along Crab Creek, An outstanding hunting, fishing and conservation area.
Club Logo, Arm Patches and Creed-1953
Wayne Hanson designed the club logo in 1953 and ordered the first batch of club arm patches.
The Landowner-Sportsmen Relations Committee developed a guideline for sportsmen conduct in the field that was published in local papers:
Suggestions for Sportsmen Conduct in the Field
Courtesy of Richland Rod and Gun Club
As part of a campaign to improve Landowner-Sportsmen Relations the Richland Rod and Gun Club is distributing the following list of suggestions for sportsman field conduct. This list was developed through group and individual discussions with landowners, game department representatives and sportsman. It is sincerely felt that the use of these suggestions will greatly decrease the trend towards land posting with No Hunting and No Trespassing signs. It is recognized that the big problem in Landowner Sportsman relations is that a relatively small percentage of sportsmen cause the most damage to relations. It is hoped that these suggestions will cause sportsmen to reconsider past actions and to improve their field conduct in the future.
Do not hunt in unharvested seed crops such as alfalfa, sweet clover, beans etc.
When hunting in standing corn fields walk in the rows, not cross rows to prevent knocking the corn down, which increases the difficulty of harassing.
Do not road hunt; this was found to be one of the most irritating problems to landowners.They strenuously object to hunters (for obvious reasons the term ‘sportsman’ is left out here) screeching your car to a stop, jumping out of the car and either blaze away or a scramble across the fence, without obtaining permission and chasing the game sighted.
Do not violate the game laws. If game violations are noted in the field, take the license number of the car and notify the local Game Protector.
Do not drive vehicles and crop fields unless permission of the landowner has been obtained. Extreme erosion damage can result from car ruts.
Don't shoot near livestock or homes. A courteous person avoids causing distress or anxiety to others.
Share your game with the landowner. The game was growing on his land. Courteous actions ensure future access.
Respect the landowners fences; use gates and styles where available. Wire cutting to gain access is high on the list of actions that cause land owners to declare open season on sportsmen.
Get out and talk to landowners about hunting access before the season opens. Landowners are not to amiable when a steady stream of sportsman wake them up in the morning to ask them about access. It is better to go out before the season opens and make arrangements to hunt during the season, Checking with the landowner when you finished hunting if he is not awake when you start.
A few tips on sportsman-sportsman relations in the field
a. Live by the rules of sportsmanship. Go afield for the limit of
enjoyment, don't make a “limit” the goal.
b. Give the other fellow room! don't crowd in on his dogs or top his drive.
c. Always unload your gun before entering your car or camp.
d. Take turns on the shots. You may be fast on the draw but you will draw a pass on the next trip
e. Don't race the other hunter to the good cover.
Fur, Fin and Feather Club-1955
In 1955, John Cowan Junior Pres. of the Fur, Fin and Feather Club was selected as the outstanding Young Conservationist in the state and was Washington's delegate to the Young Outdoor American Conference in Chicago.
First Big Game Hunt-1955
In April 1955, The Club voted to sponsor a Big Game Hunt in Canada for a moose. To raise money for the hunt, a raffle was conducted by Gene Bernard to send two Club members to Canada on a moose hunt to secure meat for the Big Game Dinner and to help finance the Club during the year. A total of 539 raffle tickets were sold at $1.00 each. The raffle item was a $90 outdoor sportsman item. In June, Club members D.T. Thonn and H.C. Ellsworth were selected by drawing to go on the fall hunt in British Columbia. Both Thonn and Ellsworth got a moose and 417 pounds was made available for the Big Game Dinner.
1955 was the first year that the Club sent hunters on a trip to obtain meat for the Wild Game Dinner. In the early years the focus was on moose hunts. In later years it was changed to a Quality Trip of the drawing winner's choice subject to approval by the Board of Trustees
1955 was the first year that the Club operated under a budget.
Lowell Johnson’s History of the Richland Rod and Gun Club-1945 to1956
HISTORY OF THE RICHLAND ROD AND GUN CLUB
1945 to 1956
According to the club’s old timers ---early records have been lost – the club was organized during the spring of 1945 with Guy Richards as the first president. The first meeting on record was held on January 29,1946.
Early activities of the club centered around the property presently known as Berlin Camp on the Columbia River which was leased from March 15, 1946 to October 31, 1949.
The area was cleaned up, the house remodeled, painted and converted into a meeting place. The meeting were held on the first Friday of the month. John Moffat was the 1946 president and a banquet was held in Richland for the Director of the Department of Game, Don Clarke and members of the Game Department and Game Commission. Traps were installed on the grounds and trap shooting became the principal activity of the club. The fishing committee was very active with A.C. Beltzner as chairman. They assembled information on method of fishing, where to go and how to get there. The club’s first participation in state organizations was the Eight County Sportsmen’s Association meeting at Walla Walla with Barney Wickman as club representative.
During 1947 Max Walton served as president with emphasis on developing farms taken over by the Government in the Richland vicinity, into model wildlife habitat area. Rob Brownwart of the Game Department planted approximately 300 acres into crops suitable for pheasants and geese. Four–H club members in the area raised pheasants for stocking. With the advent of a major construction program late in 1947 and 1948 in Richland and North Richland, the project was discontinued because of the uncertain status of land about Richland.
B.O. Wickman was the club president in 1948. Lights were installed on the club grounds to permit night trap shooting with Ralph Parks chairman. Late in the year interest in trap shooting declined and it was suggested that the club consolidate with the Pasco and Kennewick clubs.
IN 1949 Lowell Johnson was elected president. It was decided by an 11 to 2 vote to retain the traps and maintain the Richland Rod and Gun Club. A smelt fry and fishing trip were events led by Wendell Pope. Because of a rent increase the lease on the clubhouse was cancelled on October 31,1949.
Lowell Johnson was re-elected president in 1950. This was the year the club readjusted its program with more emphasis on education type meetings, wildlife management and participation in statewide sportmen’s organizations. The place of meetings changed to the Corral Room of the Desert Inn. January and February of this year produced heavy snows and low temperatures. Between 5000 and 6000 pounds of grain were distributed in the area for game birds. The Eight County Sportmens’ Association met in Richland with B.O. Wickman, president, Paul McMahom, secretary and Roy Brands as club representative.
The regular executive board meeting was set up to handle the detailed club business and the general meeting would be devoted to interesting and informative topics.
The Area Bass Transplanting project was initiated whereby bass caught in area sloughs would be transplanted to the Yakima River with Paul McMahon, Aub Moore, Wendell Pope and Lowell Johnson as co-captains. In this year Wellsian Lake was first stocked with trout for juvenile fishing.
On July 10, 1950 the club voted to join the Washington State Sportsmen’s Council. Lowell Johnson and John Story were the club’s first representatives to Sportsmen’s Council meetings. The clubs first Annual Banquet and Big Game Dinner were held on January 28, 1951.
In February 1951 Paul McMahon was elected president. As a public service feature the club sponsored a film on Africa by M. Schultz of Harrington, Washington. It was attended by 750 people. The club sponsored a youth fly tying class conducted by Paul Hesselgrave and Dick Crow, 26 young fly-tiers enrolled and 15 finished the course.
Bob Meigs of the Game Department talked on steelhead in April of 1951 and advised the club that more exploring needed to be done locally for steelhead fishing, particularly on the Snake River.
Club members assisted in the spring Columbia River Goose Banding Project. A Snake River steelhead field trip was taken with 13 members participating, with Brudge Henderson chairman. The club participated in a hearing conducted by the Army Engineers relative to use of the McNary pool and setting aside of lands for the McNary Game Range.
Dr. W. D. Norwood served as president for 10 months of 1951 after A.L. Dorrell resigned. Wellsian Lake was improved through a cooperative effort of the Parks and Recreation Unit, heavy equipment operators and Richland Rod and Gun Club with Art Mitchell, Ken Parchen, Rex Bissell, Al Olson and many others participating.
In 1952 the club first sponsored junior sportsmen to the Orcas Island Conservation Camp, with Garry Sampson, Leland Arnold and Roger Anderson as the Richland boys attending.
The Fish Development Committee was very active under Brudge Henderson. Also Landowner-Sportsmen Relations were given considerable attention during the year. An organizations of Junior Sportsmen was started. Publication of a club newsletter was considered. A guzzler was installed on the Mills ranch of the Hover area The Richland Rod And Gun Club was commended for their constructive and helpful manner in bringing about an increase in license fees that provided a needed increase in Game Department revenue.
Dr. Donaldson of the University of Washington was the speaker for the “Big Game Dinner.
During 1953 the club was incorporated with Dick Foster as president . The Richland Rod and Gun Club received the John C. Stevenson Award for being selected as the State’s outstanding sportsmen’s organization. The scrapbook upon which the award was based was prepared by Bill Watts and Wayne Hanson. The Junior Sportsmen’s Club was organized with Dave Jackson as chairman of the Youth Activities Committee. The Washington State Sportsmen’s Council was redistricted with Lowell Johnson elected Director of District Number 10. Dick Foster and the club took an active part in the establishment of the Lower Columbia Wildlife Refuge along Crab Creek below O’Sullivan Dam. Wayne Hanson designed and ordered the first batch of club arm patches. Paid club membership reached a new high with 229 members as the end of the year; Ray Burns was Membership Committee Chairman.
Lou Roos was the club president in 1954. Out of the Landowners-Sportsmen Relations Committee a creed for sportsmen conduct in the field was developed and published in local papers. The youth organization was very active under the leadership of Gene Bernard; they adopted a name of the Fur, Fin and Feather Club. The club entertained and acted as host for the December 1951 Quarterly Meeting of the Washington State Sportsmen’s Council.
Club activities continued at a high level in 1955 under the leadership of Bill Watts as president. The club was again awarded the John C. Stevenson award on the basis of a scrapbook prepared by Royal Rostenbach and Wayne Hanson. A donation campaign was initiated with Gene Bernard chairman and originator of the idea, which raised funds to send two club members to Canada on a moose hunt and to help finance club activities during the year. The moose meat from one of the moose shot by Howard Ellsworth and Dave Thonn supplied the meat for the Big Game Dinner. John Cowan Jr., president of the Fur, Fin and Feather Club was selected as the outstanding young conservationist in the state and was Washington’s delegate to the Young Outdoor American Conference in Chicago.
The Richland Rod and Gun Club donated a rotating trophy to be given each year to the outstanding Junior Sportsman in the Washington State Junior Sportsmen’s Council. Gene Bernard was in charge of developing the award and selecting the outstanding Junior Sportsman in the state. This was also the first year that the club operated under a budget, developed by Jack Byland.
Throughout the years since 1949, the club has actively participated in legislative activities both at the state and national levels.
It is regretted that in such a summary as this it not possible to mention all the activities or people who assisted or contributed to the program.
In closing I would like to say that while the past makes interesting reading, our challenge as a club should be to look forward to the problems ahead and to solve them to the best of our ability.
-- Lowell S. Johnson
Hunter Education Training Started-1957
In 1957 a state law was passed that required that youth under the age of 17 complete a course of four hours of firearms safety training before they can buy a hunting license. Under then Pres. Howard Gardner's direction, a group of Club members began teaching the training. Over the years the class length was expanded to 10 hours with additional content and the Club continued to teach several classes a year to the present. In later years Clare Cranston established several dedicated training facilities with the current one being in the Griggs Department
Store in Pasco.
Hen Pheasant Season-1964
During his three-year term as chairman of the Upland Bird Committee in the Washington state Sportsmens Council, Howard Gardner gathered information from other states and with the support of Columbia Basin farmers is concerned about pheasant depredation succeeded in having the Washington State g-Game Commission approve a hen pheasant season for 1964. It was also approved for a 1965 and 1966 and was a success for all three years harvesting about 50,000 hen pheasants a year. It was stopped because of unsupportable claims by a Sportsmens group in Spokane.
First club Brochure and Membership Application-1969
In 1969 Howard Gardner wrote and published the first brochure describing the Clubs objectives and positions on wildlife related issues plus an application form. It is used as a handout when dealing with public and has been revised and updated several times
Introducing the Richland Rod and Gun Club-1969
THE WHY AND FOR
You call yourself a sportsman, hunter, fisherman, outdoorsman, conservationist. Unless you are a member of an organized club working to preserve some semblance of quality in our rapidly degrading environment you don't deserve the car yourself anything.
It is no longer enough to be just a good guy, and not litter or trespass etc. you must get involved if you are concerned about the quality of life in the future. Why should I get involved and say? The answer is simple. Your opportunity to enjoy and use the outdoors will become more and more restricted until it is either disappears or deteriorates so badly in quality that you find something else to do in your spare time.
BASIS FOR OUR CONCERN
Well you have stuck it out this far and I'm presumably ready for more. O.K. so what are we so excited about all of a sudden? Just open your eyes we mean really open them, and look around you. The Yakima River is so badly polluted with wastes that the public health department has issued warnings against swimming. The Corps of Engineers, Tri-City Herald and Wenatchee Daily World want to dredge a channel in the Columbia from Richland to Wenatchee and erect the Ben Franklin Dam. Either one will destroy the only remaining undamed portion of the Columbia river. Do you like the smell of the pulp mill at Wallula or the potato plant north of Pasco? if you are willing to put up with them get ready for more because they will come. Must we learn the lesson of Los Angeles in Everett ourselves? Take insecticides and herbicides- what kinds and quantity are currently in use in surrounding agricultural areas? You know these chemicals eventually find a way back to the three rivers in our area where food chain concentration begins. The best example of the insidious nature of food chain concentration is the DDT caused decline in abundance of Bald and Golden eagles, peregrine falcons, ospreys and sparrow hawks. The thing that makes us apprehensive about this are the food chain concentrations that are occurring that we don't know about. When and where will the next case of poisoning emerge.
Our concern for the Tri-City area is that present and future progress must be of a controlled nature. Loosely defined this means progress in a manner compatible with maintaining our existing quality of life and environment. We are opposed to the “progress at the expense of everything else” philosophy. You know if you can call it progress that must be good. Why should we have to put up with problems caused by uncontrolled progress in our area if we know what the problems are based on the experience of other parts of the United States. Many of us transients came here to get away from the problem caused by uncontrolled progress and rapid population increases.
The foregoing, briefly is the basis for our concern.
OUR POSITION STATEMENT ON ISSUES OF CURRENT CONCERN
Wildlife and Human Relations-
Encourage: 1)the perpetuation of the quality and quantity of, renewable resources including wildlife and 2) the adjustment of human populations to the earths capacity for sustaining a culture that provides quality living, variety of experience and maximum opportunity for self-expression.
Encourage the adoption of programs which seek to remove, reduce, minimize and prevent environmental pollution of all kinds.
In situations where pesticides are needed encourage the use of those which are rapidly degradable and which have products of little biological significance.
Regulations and Wildlife Law Enforcement-
Encourage information and education programs that keep the public aware of not only wildlife laws and enforcement policies but of the ecological basis and necessity for those laws and policies. We cooperate with the State Game Department and support their programs and policies.
Ben Franklin Dam on Columbia River-
Encourage the opposition of both the Ben Franklin Dam and the dredging of the river. The Wildlife and recreation values of the river in its present condition far surpass any benefit of the dam or navigation. Alternative methods of power production and transportation are available at lower costs.
Dam Construction on Middle Snake River-
Continue to oppose any additional dam construction between Lewiston and Hells Canyon on the Snake River. Again the quality of existing wildlife and recreation values in this area is such that degradation by dam construction must not be permitted.
Encourage the placement of regulations for a criminal action on the individual involved and not on the instrument chooses to use. Also encourage the application of severe fines and punishment on those proven guilty of using guns for criminal activities.
Public Hunting and Fishing-
Continue to work toward the perpetuation of easy access by the general public to land and water for hunting and fishing. The Club does not own or lease any land for the purpose of controlling access and does not advocate or support such activity.
MEMBERSHIP AND MEETNGS
The Richland ROD and Gun Club offers you an opportunity to get involved in working to influence the quality of any activity associated with wildlife in the outdoors. We have we have the following standing committees and easily add more as the occasion arises:
Ben Franklin Dam
Scrapbook and Historian
Upland Game Bird
At this point it's obvious what we have in mind. Get up off your duff and join the Richland Rod and Gun Club. Don't try to use the out that you can’t come to meetings, we keep you informed with a monthly bulletin that is mailed to each member. We would like to have you at the meetings but if you can't come we can use your support anyway. You have no doubt heard the expression “put your money where your mouth is”, well we're calling your bluff just. Just cut off the handy application and mail it with your dues. Then if you're really interested in things we are concerned about’ show up at the meetings and volunteering to serve on a committee or start one of your own. We are members of Washington state Sportsmen’s Council and the National Wildlife Federation. These organizations offer you the opportunity to be heard of it the state and national level. How can you beat that.
Club meetings are held at 7:30 PM in the Richland Community House on the first non-holiday Monday of each month. Meetings are open to all interested persons. In addition to discussion of committee reports and small amounts of other business a feature of each meeting as a program on some subject of current interest or concern. Recent programs covered the following subjects:
Timber Management and Road Development, Pomeroy Dist.,Blue Mts
Current fishing prospects
Regional Archeology-Marmes Rock Shelter
Wildlife Wealth of Washington
African National Park tour
Desert Bighorn Sheep
Current Hunting Prospects
Annual Crab Feed
Ben Franklin Dam-Fish and Wildlife Problems
Management of State owned School Trust Lands
Thermal Pollution in Columbia River
Ben Franklin Dam Defeated-1971
The Ben Franklin Dam was proposed by the Corps of Engineers to be constructed on the Columbia river a few miles north of Richland. It would have generated 425 MW of power and help make the river navigable 57 miles upstream to Priest Rapids Dam.
In 1968, the Colombia River Conservation League CRCL was formed for the express purpose of leading the fight to preserve the last 57 miles of free-flowing Columbia River. The Richland Rod and Gun Club was one of eight original charter members of the CRCL. Lowell S. Johnson who had a large influence on the development and direction of the Richland Rod and Gun Club actively served on the CRCL. The CRCL supported the construction of a nuclear power plant rather than a dam to provide needed electrical energy. Additionally, the CRCL proposed the establishment of a National Recreation Area in the reach of the Columbia River.
In September 1970, the Office of Management and Budget recommended to the Secretary of the Army that the Upper Columbia River navigation project not be authorized because it was
uneconomic. Very little was said about the detrimental environmental aspects of the project although the letter mentioned that many individuals and organizations had expressed concern about the effects it might have on the environment.
Note: the U.S. environmental movement didn't start until the early 1970’s and the efforts of the CRCL had to focus heavily on the economics of the project. The dam project would only return 72 cents on every dollar invested. Regardless, the CRCL, RRGC other groups and the environment won.
National Hunting and Fishing Day-1972
Based upon a proclamation by President Richard M Nixon, National Hunting and Fishing Day was established on the fourth Saturday of every September starting in 1972. The Club put together a display of game bird and waterfowl skins plus representative antlers from big game animals. It was exhibited in the Columbia Center Mall on September 23, 1972.
25 Year Award Established-1974
Club members Ray Burns, Lowell Johnson, Harrell Mickle and Art Mitchell were recognized for their 25 year membership in the Club.
Distinguished Service Award Started-1975
Early in the year following his Presidency, Paul Telford recommended that an Award be established to recognize hard-working Club members. This resulted in the Distinguished Service Award, the criteria are provided at the end of the Bylaws.
Club Shelter Built by Club Members-1976
In Columbia park near the Kiwanis pond the Club built a shelter consisting of a table and benches on a concrete floor with a roof. The construction was completed in November 1976 and was a result of a dedicated group consisting of Art Mitchell as the leader and Bruce and Delia Teeple as assistants with sporadic help from other Club members.(Photo)
Salmon Cooked in Wood Fired Cookers-1977
1977 was the first year that wood fired cookers were used to cook salmon for the Club picnic. Delia Teeple identified the ingredients that were used to marinate the salmon fillets before cooking. Bruce Teeple built the cooker's based on a design that he got from the Department of Fisheries when they cooked salmon with their cookers for a Club banquet. The cooked salmon fillet's were delicious and provided the basis for the 1985 decision to sell cooked salmon dinners at the Allied Arts Festival as a money making project.
Trespass Problem in Franklin Co.-1977
In Franklin County during the 1976 hunting season as a result of an altercation between a trespasser and a landowner, the trespasser shot and killed the landowner. In an attempt to resolve anticipated issues in the coming 1977 hunting season, the Richland Rod and Gun Club instigated a series of meetings. In 1977 payments of the $100 reward were made to two Franklin Co, landowners.
In Franklin County during the 1976 hunting season as a result of an altercation between a trespasser and a landowner, the trespasser shot and killed the landowner. In an attempt to resolve anticipated issues in the coming 1977 hunting season, the Richland Rod and Gun Club instigated a series of meetings.
September 1977 Meeting
Discussion of six points of concern related to hunting in the Basin City area of Franklin County has developed information which may help reduce problems, Howard Gardner, president of the Richland Rod and Gun Club, said today.
The meetings and discussions took place with representatives of the Basin City Farmers Association, the Washington State Game Department, the Franklin County Sheriff's office and the Richland Rod and Gun Club.
The six points were:
Posting and notice by the landowner are no longer required for arrest.
Upon observing trespassers, landowners have been instructed to contact the county sheriff or Game Department who are prepared to respond and make the arrest.
Both the Game Department and the Sheriff's office are pledged to be more responsive in apprehending trespassers. Enforcement patrols will be increased to the maximum possible. The game Department will be in radio contact with the Sheriff.
Where appropriate, law enforcement agencies will recommend suspension of hunting privileges.
Irrigation ditch and canal roads are the landowner's private property and persons using them are subject to arrest for trespass.
Permission must be obtained before hunting or fishing on private property
Discussions also took place with Judge M.W. Felsted of the Franklin County District Court to make him aware of the trespass problem and to request that he consider jail sentences and maximum fines for trespassers.
Taking part in the discussions were landowners Steve Halvorsen, Tom Bailey, Loris Jarret, Kenny Dickman and Lyn Price, Franklin Count Undersheriff Rick Corson, Game Protectors Jim McColgin and John McIntosh and Richland Rod and Gun Club officers Howard Gardner and Ed Wells. In addition, the Club offered a $100 reward as described in the photo.In 1977 payments of the $100 reward were made to two Franklin Co, landowners.
Game Violations Donations-1977
In 1977 resulting from decisions by the Superior Court of the State of Washington, the Probation Treatment Services division of the Benton-Franklin Counties Juvenile Department has asked boys found guilty of game violations to make donations to the Richland Rod and Gun Club. The donations would nominally be less than $15. It was recommended that 14-year-old Richard Clark be sponsored by the Club for a week at the Conservation Camp on Orcas Island. We did and got a nice thank you note from him.
Fly Tying Class Started-1979
In 1979, members of the the Richland Rod and Gun Club and Columbia Basin Fly Casters started teaching a free, fly tying class for
members of both Clubs and guests. Prospective students were requested to bring their equipment and learn how to tie fly's that can be used not only locally, but in lakes and streams of the Northwest.
Wood Duck Nest Boxes-1983
Dale Schielke built one wood duck nest box in 1983 to see if it would work and it did, very well. He continued to build nest boxes and got students involved, so that currently there are 450 nest boxes installed in the general Tri-City area. Not only was that a lot of work but each spring the nest boxes have to be cleaned out and made ready for the female Wood Ducks to lay eggs. Other users of the boxes are western screech owls and squirrels until the support for the boxes were made squirrel proof.
Salmon Booth Start-1985
In 1985, as a fundraising activity. the Richland Rod and Gun Club and the Columbia Basin Fly Casters decided as a joint venture to operate a Booth selling salmon dinners at the Allied Arts Show in Howard Amon Park. The Clubs would alternate years for the responsibility of operation of the booth which was very successful. The salmon was cooked in Richland Rod and Gun Clubs cookers over an alderwood fire. In addition to salmon dinners, salmon sandwiches and roast chicken were sold. (15 photos)
BBQ and 25 Year Belt Buckle Awards-1985
Rear left to right: Fred Scott, Ernie Berreth, Ted Deobald, Hal Riches Jr., John Waite, Howard Gardner
Front left to right: Bruce Teeple, Howard Chitty, Everett Weakley, Jay Maple, Russ Thorson, John Williams, Henry Bellarts
RRGC members receiving the 25 year award but were not in the photograph,
Dennis Getchell, Glenn Gunn, Gordon Hanson, Harold Heacock, Dr. W. D. Norwood, Dr. Richard Pettee, David Thonn, Max Walton, John Williams and Joe Woodhead.
At a December 1989 meeting with Bob DeWolf, Club Treasurer, Howard Gardner agreed to be President if Larry Martin would be Vice President. No other club members would come fourth. Thus the continuity of the Club was secured.
Fitzner Memorial Scholarship-1994
The Richard Fitzner Memorial Scholarship was created to memorialize a Club member and a Biologist who was killed in a tragic plane crash while surveying for Sage Grouse. Any student in a wildlife related curriculum can apply for the $500 scholarship. Students are urged to apply in groups and then are judged on their reply to a scholarship application form. The first scholarship was awarded in 1994 to William Moser, a student in Wildlife Biology at Washington State University. To date, a total of 27 scholarships have been awarded. In 2008, the scholarship award was increased to $1000. Scholarship awards are listed in a separate section listed in a separate section of the History.
Fishing Pond and Pellet Range-1994
Starting in 1994, at the Sportsmen”s show in Pasco, the Club has operated a large fishing pond (Lunker Lake) and a pellet rifle range for youth to catch trout and shoot a pellet rifle. Lately, with the help of the WDFW, the Club has raised the trout.
NW Sportsfishing Industry Assoc.-1994
In 1994 Clare Cranston was appointed as the Club's representative to the Northwest Sportsfishing Industry Association. It's function is the protection and restoration of fishery resources and the protection of the rights of sports anglers.
Since 2001 the club has assisted in the Kids Outdoor Education fishing activity in a pond in Columbia Park. Each year the Club assembles 1400 rods with spin cast reels, sinker and hook. For a $10 charge, youth 5-15 years of age get a rod, some bait, and can fish for one hour in the pond where 5000-6000 trout have been released three days before the Saturday fishing. There are 5 one-hour flights and after 3PM, youth 5-15 can fish, no time limit. In addition, disabled people can fish on Friday evening with the assistance of Club members. The trout are provided by the WDFW.(photos)
In 2001 Jack Pickard completed an outstanding wood carving of a largemouth bass and enclosed it a clear plastic case. He donated it to the Club. The Board of Trustees decided to establish it as Presidents Award to be passed from President to President.
Salmon in the Classroom-2003
Salmon in the Classroom was started in 2003 with 5 tanks in 5 classrooms in the Tri-Cities. At the present time there are 179 classrooms with 47 fish tanks in the Tri-Cities and surrounding community schools. With multiple classrooms in a school, the day to day operation is rotated between classrooms. Currently, there are 5370 students involved in the activity. Salmon eggs are obtained from the Yakama Nation Fisheries Hatchery and distributed by Club members to participating schools during the first week in January. By the end of April, fry have hatched from the eggs and are approximately 1 ½ to 2 1/2 inches long. The schools transfer their smolts (fry) to aerated 5 gallon pails and they're brought by bus loads of students to the boat launch at the Blue Bridge, transferred into small cups and each student releases a smolt (`s) into the Columbia River to migrate downstream to the ocean. In conjunction with the fish release is a “Salmon Summit” where a number of salmon related displays and activities are set up for the students to view and participate in.
Putting Salmon Smolts in cups for release
Salmon Smolts in cups being released to the Columbia
Fisherman Bridge Construction-2004
FISHERMEN ACCESS BRIDGE OVER HORN RAPIDS IRRIGATION CANAL:
A foot bridge to allow access to the Yakima River for fishermen was installed over the Horn Rapids Irrigation District Canal on Friday, March 12, 2004. It is steel with a treated wood deck, about 40 feet long, and had been surplused by the City of Richland. It was transferred to the WDFW by the City of Richland and installed by Richland City personnel. Prior to installation, Richland Rod & Gun Club members and others cleared the area where the bridge was installed with chain saws, picks and shovels.
Club members who participated were Paul Kison, Bob Henke, John Pfeiffer, Bob Zinsli, Bill Siefken, Jerry Zeitler, Bill Hays, Jeff Rampon and Eddie Manthos. The City of Richland and its personnel need to be commended for transfer and installation of the bridge. Paul Hoffarth, local WDFW Fisheries Biologist, was instrumental in arranging transfer of the bridge. Michael Crowder, General Manager of the Barker Ranch, arranged and planned the installation and supplied the tools and also doughnuts.
Steps leading down the steep embankment to the footbridge and from the bridge to the river shore were installed Friday, April 9. Paul Kison, Mike Estes, Bob Zinsli, Bill Hays, Dan McGuire, Michael Crowder and Paul Hoffarth installed 45 railroad tie steps. Bob Zinsli donated five railroad ties and the Pasco ‘Ranch and Home' donated twelve. Bob Zinsli and Paul Hoffarth painted the bridge. The canal has since been replaced by a pipeline and the bridge was removed.
Disabled Hunter Duck Blind-2006
Disabled waterfowl hunters will now have access to the #11 disabled hunting blind at the Peninsula Habitat Management Unit this season with the addition of a sturdy 48-foot ramp. Four volunteers, all avid waterfowl hunters, repositioned the blind so it's closer to the back-water bay of the Columbia River and built the ramp, which makes the hunting blind accessible to wheelchairs. This project was led by a member of the RRGClub who proposed the idea and design to the McNary National Wildlife Refuge staff. After receiving approval, the ramp was constructed over two weekends.
Mity Might Derby-2010
First annual RRGC Fishing Derby-2010
There were 19 entries at the Saturday May 15 Derby. Tammy McMurtrey and Marilyn Steel provided the biscuits and gravy breakfast and drinks with numerous other goodies and then went fishing. Blast off time was at 7:20 a.m.. Richard Sharp explained the rules and area boundaries and the participants were off!
Fish totals were 30.56 lbs bass, 15.4 lbs catfish and 3.81bs trout and sunfish for a total of 49.75 1bs taken with Mity Might rod and reels.
The fish fry went as planned with Richard Sharp and Dave Myers doing the frying with numerous other dishes brought to the potluck. There was plenty of food and drinks and a good time was had by all.
Keep Hope Afloat-2011
The idea for the “ Keep Hope Afloat” signs was generated during a conversation Howard Gardner had with his son-in-law Tyler Cartier during the Christmas holiday in Seattle in December 2010. Howard told Tyler he had a big concern about the effect on the family of a person disappearing during boating. Without wearing a light jacket, sometimes days and weeks go by until the person is found or sometimes never found. Howard said that maybe a sign could be put together that would get people thinking about always wearing a life jacket during boating. I said it The sign should have a title and based upon his background as a copywriter he suggested “Float Don't Bloat. The word “Bloat” was used because after a day or two in the water, gas is formed in the body causing it to bloat and I float to the top. Upon my return home I called the Washington State Parks Department and discussed the suggested sign title idea with them. They thought that the “Bloat word was a little raw for the general public. I discussed this with Tyler and he came up with the title” Keep Hope Afloat” and he put together some examples of what a sign could look like a along with accompanying reasons for always wearing a life jacket while boating. The sign idea was discussed with the Richland Parks Department, they liked it and they agreed to put signs up at the four Richland boat launches. Sign manufacturers were contacted and a low bid for four signs was obtained from “Signs by Sue”. The cost per sign was $230. Kennewick and Pasco ParKs Departments were contacted and they agreed to put up signs at their boat launches.
The first four signs were sponsored by the Richland Rod and Gun Club. Eight additional signs were sponsored by local businesses, clubs and individuals. Currently, a total of 12 signs have been placed at boat launches in the Tri-City area including one at Crow Butte. All signs are accompanied by life jackets except Kennewick which requires contact with City Hall to get a loaner. A listing of the sign locations and sponsors follows.
Sponsors of Keep Hope Afloat signs:
1. Ranch & Home-Kennewick-Blue Bridge Launch
2. Wholesale Sports-Kennewick-Edison St. Launch
3. Signs by Sue-Pasco-Chiawanna Park Launch
4. Grigg's Ace Hardware-Pasco-Wade Park Launch
5. Richland Rod & Gun Club-Pasco Boat Basin
6. Columbia Basin Fly Casters-Richland-Snyder St. Launch
7. Howard & Dorothy Gardner-Richland-Howard Amon Park Launch
8. Columbia Basin Bass Club-Richland-Columbia Point Launch
9. Richland Rod & Gun Club-Richland-Columbia Park West Launch
10. Richland Rod & Gun Club-Snake River-Hood Park Launch
11. Richland Rod & Gun Club-Snake River-Charbonneau Park Launch
12. Columbia River Wine Grape Growers Assoc.-Crow Butte Launch
Published Thursday, Sep. 29, 2011 Loretto J. Hulse,
Groups you want to join and one you hope you don't
Wear a life vest
The Richland Rod and Gun Club wants you to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water. They have taken it upon themselves to remind you of all the reasons it's a good idea.You will start seeing these reminders at boat launches around the Tri-Cities.
They've put their money into the project with the hope it will save your life.
Everyone knows life vests save lives -- but only if you wear them.
The Columbia River is notorious for its typically cold temperature and strong undercurrent -- both make it hard to stay on top of the water.
We appreciate the local dive and rescue team members, but really prefer not to send business their way. Sadly those calls usually turn into a recovery effort, not a rescue.
We echo the rod and gun club's sentiments -- wear a life jacket -- and offer them a pat on the back for the project.
We see a lot of projects that are launched this way -- someone recognizes a need and sets about meeting it.
It happens frequently in the Tri-Cities, and we're grateful every time it does.
Officials put down moose stranded north of Pasco
By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City Herald 2011
As a young bull moose stood in about four feet of water Monday afternoon, officials trained in various types of rescue operations did their best to figure out a way to save its life. But the moment the moose jumped the barbed-wire fence and slid down the steep, concrete sides of the Esquatzel Diversion Channel six miles north of Pasco, its fate was sealed. At sunset, state Fish and Wildlife Officer Brian Felton killed the moose with a single shotgun blast using a slug that produced instant death.
"There was really no other way to handle the situation," he said.
Tranquilizing it was impractical, he explained. "With moose, you need to use a special drug, one that's very potent (deadly) to humans and not readily available," he said. "And with the moose standing in water, it would drown before we could get him out. The only other solution would have been to let nature take its course and leave him to drown or perhaps been fed on by coyotes," Felton said. If the moose could make the five-plus-mile trek to the end of the canal, its only possibility of freedom would have been to survive going through a steep flume and be dumped into the Columbia River. The gunshot wound was a pretty quick and efficient way to humanely put it down," Felton said. While waiting for Felton to drive from
Toppenish, officials at the scene brainstormed various scenarios for rescuing the moose.
Cpl. Gordon Thomasson of the Franklin County Sheriff's office called veterinarians and dairies for ideas. Franklin County Sheriff Sgt. Jim Dickenson called Washington's Fish and Wildlife Service -- which in turn contacted Idaho’s. Fish and Wildlife officials told them to stay away from the animal, warning that a kick from a moose -- especially one weighing about 1,000 pounds -- could be deadly. "They said moose are extremely aggressive animals," Dickenson said. Lassoing and dragging it up the side of the 20- to 25-foot canal was discussed and dropped. Officials also tried to chase it down the canal toward the flume and the river. Firefighters from Franklin Fire District 3 tried to herd it with streams of water from their hoses. Others tossed small rocks, clapped, whistled and yelled to get it to go downstream. It simply turned and returned to sit on a large clump of grass growing from the side of the canal. Every 30 minutes or so, the moose would get up and stride anxiously a couple hundred yards up and down the canal.
"We're willing to try everything we can to give him a chance. The last-
ditch effort is to shoot him," Thomasson said during the afternoon. Even if the moose drowned, leaving it in the canal might be dangerous.
"It's a dangerous situation," said Pasco Fire Chief Bob Gear, who drove to the site out of curiosity. "The water in the canal is deep and fast. If someone were to be tempted to go in there after those antlers, they could drown."
After the moose was shot, Columbia Basin Dive Rescue workers wrapped a cable around it, and American Towing in Pasco pulled it from the canal. "Sometimes, Mother Nature is hard," Felton said. The meat will go to the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission in Pasco. Two Richland Rod and Gun Club members, Lyle Gilk of Richland and his son Barry of Benton City, field dressed the carcass and will deliver it to the mission. "They pretty much have a vegetarian diet over there. They're always glad to get some meat," Lyle Gilk said. He said moose in the Mid-Columbia is uncommon but not unheard of. "Every once in a while, one wanders this way," he said. Gilk said he saw one last year, and two calves were hit by cars last fall in College Place.
Wild Game Dinner Tri-City Herald-2012
Fishing Pond Tri-City Herald-2012
Tri-City Herald - June 7, 2012
Wood Duck Box Demo-2013
Tri-Cities Herald - March 13, 2013
Makai Hirschman, far left, takes his turn Tuesday pressing the release on an air-powered nailer held by Dale Schielke, a member of the Richland Rod and Gun Club, during a wood duck nesting box building project at Carmichael Middle School in Richland. The hands-on activity was taking place in science teacher Jared Farley's classroom. Hirschman's seventh-grade classmates Spencer Brown, Daniel Nelson and Kelton Buechler, from left, wait their turn with the power tool.
Ringold Hatchery Fish Recovery - 2014
Starting in October Dale Schielke. in a cooperative agreement with the WDFW, will coordinate the efforts of Club volunteers in catching surplus trapped salmon and moving them for data collection and transfer to a food processing facility to make salmon burgers for distribution to Food Banks. Two to 3 volunteers will be required weekly. In the cooperative agreement, for the exchange of 100 volunteer hours, the Ringold Hatchery will provide 2000 trout for the public to catch at Lunker Lake at the Sportsmen’s Show in January.
The IRS approved the RRGC application as a Tax Exempt Organization in May 2018. Donations to the RRGC are now Tax Deductible.
History of Hunter Education in the Richland Rod and Club-2018
A History of Hunter Education in the
Richland Rod and Gun Club
Compiled by Howard Gardner with assistance by Don Board
Based on concern over the number of hunting accidents in Washington State a law was passed in 1957 that required an individual 17 years of age and younger to pass a Firearm Safety Class to obtain a hunting license. The law became effective on July 1, 1957 and was administered by the Washington Game Department. The details of the instruction were based on a Firearm Safety training program developed by the National Rifle Association in 1949. All training materials were provided by the Washington Game Department. The class was four hours in length with complete emphasis on Firearm Safety training.
Howard Gardner was president of the Richland Rod and Gun Club in 1957 and put out a request to Club members asking for volunteers to teach a Firearm Safety class. He also publicized that his home phone number could be used for students to sign up for the class. It must be acknowledged that the burden of taking down names and phone numbers from prospective students fell to a large degree upon Howard's wife Dorothy, who was a willing partner.
Howard contacted the Richland school administration to request use of classrooms for the training at no cost to the club. The administration was very agreeable to this arrangement which lasted until 1982. When an instructor was available to teach, Howard would call the schools and arrange for a room. Each instructor would identify the number of students they wanted in a class and he would obtain training materials from the state and deliver them plus the students names, phone numbers, school location and classroom number to the instructor. For demonstration purposes the instructors used their own firearms. Live firing was not required but some instructors would take the students out on a weekend day for some live firing. The students that pass the examination and class were given a small card including their name and number and it could be used to purchase a hunting license.
In the fall of 1957, 13 instructors in combination with the Sacajawea Rifle and Pistol Club taught 596 students the Firearm Safety Course. To get certified, Club members took a written exam, sent it to Game Dept. officials and waited for the certification. This was a great start to a long term activity. Using this procedure until 1983 and not counting the 1957 (596) total, Club instructors taught an average of 13 classes per year classes a year resulting in an average of 165 trained students per year.
In Oct. 1983 and 1984 the Club co-sponsored an answering service with the Game Department's service and gives his name, age, phone number and address. Once a week, the names are collected and classes are scheduled when instructors are available.
In 1970 the number of hours required for training increased to six hours in 1970, then to eight hours in 1982 and 10 hours in 1985. In addition to Firearms Safety training, sessions were included on archery/bow hunting, muzzleloading, survival, basic first aid, wildlife conservation, sportsmanship, animal identification, hunting techniques, and know your compass. With the addition of this information, in 1978 the class name was changed from Firearm Safety to Hunter Education. Because of the large demand, the Club co-sponsored Firearm Safety/Hunter Education classes with the U.S. Army Reserve in Pasco. They taught 13 one day classes in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985 and 1993 which resulted in 2125 trained students.
Starting in 1982, Clare Cranston, one of the Club instructors, determined that a room in the basement of Phil's Sporting-Goods in Pasco was available for use in teaching Hunter Education. In addition, Phil was willing to take names and phone numbers of prospective students. Consequently until 1992, when Phil's became the Club's center for teaching, Club instructors worked in parallel with Phil's, teaching both at Phil's and various Richland venues to provide the training as needed. Many of the classes taught at Phil's had range days with live firing including archery. Clare solicited donations of firearms usable or not for classroom use. In 1993, the Department of Wildlife established a local Hunter Education phone line for scheduling classes.
In 1995, Phil decided to expand his store and the room was no longer available. Clare found a room suitable for teaching in the Port of Pasco's Warehouse No. 5. Phil agreed to pay the rent and continue to take names of prospective students. To give the students some live firing practice Clare purchased several break action pellet rifles and set up a firing line with backstops in the warehouse. Archery Education was also taught. Classes were taught there until Dec.2001 when the warehouse operators need the space for other purposes.
Again Clare rose to the occasion and in conversations with Grigg's Department Store determined that there was excess storage space that could be dedicated for Hunter Education class use. Griggs agreed to take the student registration information by phone. Over the years many training aids for Hunter Education have been acquired increasing its suitability for training. It is also used for other wildlife related activities.
Since the room at Grigg's became operational in 1996, and through 2009 Clare and his teaching team taught an average of 7 classes a year, some times as many as 13 in a year. The classes averaged upwards of 20 students in size. Each class was six, three hour sessions, 3-9 PM over a two week period with, although not required by the state, a Range day on Saturday included live firing and a simulated pheasant hunt in field course. The Tri-Cities Metallic Silhouette Club Range was used for the live firing and field course.
Since 1982, it was apparent that an important part of the success of the Richland Rod and Gun Club in teaching Hunter education has been the dedication of Clare Cranston. He was the Chief among Chief Instructors, generally attending each class, keeping records and ordering supplies in addition to embellishing the room with training aids.
In 2002 Howard Gardner, along with nine other instructors in the state, received a 45 year Award for service as a Hunter Education Instructor.
As an incentive to students to do well in a Hunter Education class, Clare organized a pheasant hunt for live birds. The first one was at Dave Ochoa's Mesa Flats Hunting Preserve on March 30, 2002. The hunt was preceded by shooting a round of trap at the Connell Gun Club. Twenty students that scored high on the class exam attended and they harvested 13 pheasants, A great lunch was served, it was an enjoyable and successful hunt. The many instructors and volunteers that participated made the event a success. At the end is a list of the pheasant hunts to date; all were well supported and had a terrific lunch prepared by Pam Piovesan. In addition, Ringold Pheasants Forever not only provided volunteers but financial support and at times the live pheasants:
2001-Ken Burgard gave $4030.00 for use of Connell Gun club trap range.
2004-Dave Praino gave $1000.00 to the Hunter Education program.
2004-Connell Oil Co. gave $500.00 for use in the youth pheasant
Paradigm (online) classes taught by Don Board on April 4, June 6, August 1, Sept. 5, Nov.7, 2009; April 3, June 5, Sept. 4, Nov. 6, 2010; April 2, June 4, Aug. 6, Sept. 3, 2011; April 7. The prospective student, 16 or older, must sign up online and complete a study course at home followed by passing a 75 question knowledge test. Then the student must attend and pass a Field Skills Evaluation Course.
Unfortunately in 2010 there was a dark period in the Club's relationship with the Hunter Education division of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. In the March class, during an exercise in firearms handling, two parents complained about the treatment their students received during this exercise. They each submitted written complaints to the Chief of Hunter Education. Instead of contacting the Chief Instructor Howard Gardner to find out what had happened, the Chief initiated an investigation in May 2010 which was never completed.
The teaching team was surprised by a letter from the Olympia office dated June 3, 2010, that listed three requirements to be completed or their Hunter Education certification would be terminated. Based upon our recollection of the classroom events referred to, the requirements were invalid. Consequently no compliance activity was started. Clare Cranston was decertified immediately. A second instructor, Howard Gardner was decertified later and then recertified by the Director of the WDFW.
In retrospect, what had happened was that Clare Cranston, who had taught Hunter Education since 1977 (33 years) without incident was decertified. During these 33 years he had brought Hunter Education teaching from a school classroom activity to a dedicated facility and put together a team of Hunter Education instructors that taught an average of 7 classes a year including live firing. His exemplary 33 year history was ignored. It was one of the most unjust and unfair situations that members of the Richland and Gun Club had ever witnessed. In fact, five of the total group of 14 certified instructors resigned in disgust.
Despite this setback, Chief Instructor Don Board assisted by instructors Don Hartshorn, Dave Myers, Gary Scrivens, Craig Lewis, Bob Margules, Buddy Davis, Steve Gaines and Howard Gardner continued teaching. One of the fallouts of the foregoing situation was a complete revision of the WDFW Hunter education policy manual. For compliance, it greatly increases the time and effort for a Chief Instructor.
In 2013, Club member Ron Ruth was elected to the Board of Trustees. He also became a Certified Hunter Education Instructor and Chief Instructor for the Club's Hunter Education classes. He is doing an outstanding job of complying with the states rules, regulations and paperwork in conducting a minimum of three classes a year for 30 students per class. Each class is 6 days a week for 3 hours and includes a Range day and field course. He is to be complimented.
In March 2017, Howard Gardner was given an award by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for 61 years of teaching Hunter Education from the inception of the program in 1957.
Regarding the success of the program, one measure is that over the years approximately 20,000 students have been taught by Club members without a single student being involved in a hunting accident or incident as they are called now. Another measure can be obtained by review of the total annual hunting accidents in Washington State. Because of the initially relatively small numbers of trained hunters compared to those untrained, it wasn't until the late1980s that the effect of Hunter Education training could be observed to reduce the total annual number of accidents. For example, in 1975-1978 the average total annual number of accidents was 50 with 4-5 fatal. Whereas, in 1987-88 the average total annual number of accidents was 25 with 2 to 6 fatal. Another factor which greatly reduced hunting accidents was implementation in 1991 of the requirement for the wearing of hunter orange in big game and upland bird hunting. In the seven years after the start of hunter orange, the average annual accident rate was a total of 14 with 1 fatal. Since 2012, the average annual accident rate was 5 with 1 fatal.
In summary, the average annual hunting accident rate has been reduced from 50 to 5, a very significant reduction. It justifies the feeling of Hunter Education instructors that from the inception, they were: "DOING THE RIGHT THING". Accordingly, over the years, it was the willingness of Club members to step forward and become instructors for the Hunter Education classes that achieved the huge reduction in firearms related hunting incidents.
The following is a listing of Club members that have been certified to instruct in classes sponsored by the Richland Rod and Gun Club over the last 61 years (at time of writing):
Bret Akers, T. K. Andrews, John Armstrong, Richard Badda, Steve Bauman, Ernie Berreth, Eric Biebesheimer, David Blacketer, Barry Blaine, Jim Blodgett, Don Board, Nick Boyd, Bill Bryson, Ben Burdett, Galen Buck, Howard Chitty, Jim Choate Sr, Jim Choate, Chuck Conrad, Donald Coonfield, Larry Couch, Ed Coyne, Clare Cranston, Red Crass, Roy Davenport, Carl David, Buddy Davis, Mark Davis, Max Dixon, Donald Edwards, Ray Eisele, Dean Engle, Mike Estes, Barney Flora, Frank Flynn, Teresa Frase, Anita Gahimer, Steve Gaines, Howard Gardner, Howard Gerards, Ken Hammill, Don Hartshorn, Leroy Harvel, Joe Haverkemp, Harold Heacock, Joe Heath, , Carl Higby, Casey Hill, Dwayne Hughes, David Hurley, Bob Irwin, Bob Jones, Max Jones, Mike June, Emil Kovacevich, Albert Kruger, Lou LaDoucer ,Harry Lee, Craig Lewis, Don Lyman, Bob Margulies, Roy McBeth, Barry McEachen, Jim Millbauer, Dave Myers, Lafe Myers, David Oakley, Jim Patten, Jim Phillips, Max Pospical, Dusty Powers, Mike Robbins, Steve Roblyer, Ron Ruth, George Salzano, Gary Scrivens, Jim Shearer, Bruce Smith, Duane Sobotka, Jim and Carl Stull, Carl Sursaw, John Templar, Walt Thomas, Jerry Thompson, Russ Thorson, Ray Vollert, Joe Walker, Mike Weeks, Carl Wheeler, Larry Wilson, and Ken Wise.
In addition, for many of the class activities, Registered Volunteers are needed and are listed in the following:
Gary Ahzinger, Mark Almquist, Tony Anca, Randy Atkins, Cozette Baker, Gaylord Baker, Phillip Bartkus, Mike Bass, Don Benson, Tina Bernsen, Bob Birney, Chuck Bolland, Mike Bucker, Ken Burgard, Ed Bush, Sean Carr, Al Casebere, Chris Cerna, Derrick Charlton, Collette Chase, Bill Cherwin, Clare Cranston, Clint Cole, Angie and Rick Conant, Tom Davis, Lee Dean, Doug Eggebraken, Mike Eisele, Bryce Ellison, Blane Elvbaken, Robert Escalero, Dan Evans, Don Evanson, Phillip Fry, Wayne Gardner, Lyle Gilk, Don Grenseman, Kirby Hammond, Larry Harbor, Kelly Hector, Jack Henderson, George Hedlick, Ben Holten, Henry Howard, Ned Hutchens, Tim J. Irvin, Barry Jackson, Bob Johnson, Craig Johnson, Mark Kimmel, Jason Kimmel, David Kirby, Paul Kisson, Bob Koch, Bob Kolowith, Bud Jameson, Curt & Doug Lacey, Dean Lee, Richard Libby, Bob Loffler, Scott Loparco, Lee Magouirk, Mike Mahaffee, Larry Martin, Richard Mason, Barry & Hugh McEachen, Robert Moon, Bill Moulds, S Dave Neff, Ted Nichols, John O'Leary, Mike O'Neill, Joe Pauly, Mike Peterson, John Pfeiffer, Jack Pickard, Dave and Pam Piovesan, Andrew Powers, Eric Powers, John Prather, Gaylord Pyle, Jose J. Ramos, Jeff Rampon, Carri Redding, Jim Reynolds, Robert & Joshua Romine, Joe Russel, Tom Thompson, Larry Salsberry, Dale Schielke, Paul Seuberlich, Elmer Schuman, Frank Scopa, Craig Seal, Dennis Spore, Marilyn Steele, Lloyd Stone, Gary Swank, Tyra Thomas, Ray Vollert, Everett Weakley, Todd & Duane Woolum, Steve Wray, Tony Umek, Gene Van Liew, Leroy Watson, Michael K Wetzler, Mike Wise, Tom & Cory Woodrich and Gerry Zeitler.
Pheasant Hunt Date:
Feb. 11, 2003-11 students, Ochoa's Mesa Flats, Connell Gun Club
March 15, 2003-11 students. Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
Sept. 21, 2003-15 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
March 20, 2004-12 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
April 10, 2004-12 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
Sept. 18, 2004-31 students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
Oct. 23, 2004-About 10 students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
March 12, 2005-13 students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
April 16, 2005-16 students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
Sept. 17, 2005-19 students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
March 18, 2006-12 students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
Sept. 23, 2006-15students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
Sept 22, 2007-29 students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
March 15, 2008-16 students, Limits Game Farm and clay pigeons
Sept. 20, 2008-33 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
March 21, 2009-15 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
Sept.19, 2009-13 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
March 20, 2010-24 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
Oct. 2, 2010-17-students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
Sept. 22, 2012-10 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
Sept. 27, 2014- 10 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
March 4, 2017-25 students, Limits Game Farm, Connell Gun Club
Special thanks to Russ Wyer for editing and formatting this document.