LAFAYETTE TWP. — About 30 friends gathered Sunday morning for a turkey shoot at the Izaak Walton League’s Medina Chapter clubhouse on Friendsville Road.
No, they weren’t shooting turkeys — just paper targets. In fact, the whole point of the event was to raise money to preserve the woods and fields turkeys call home.
Most were members of the group, but the weekly fall event is open to the public.
“It’s mostly for fun, it’s the only fundraiser we have,” said Ben Grimaldi, treasurer for the league, which concentrates its efforts on conservation, education and outdoor sports like fishing, hunting, camping and hiking.
The turkey shoot goes for several rounds. Some boast a cash prize. In others, you can win a turkey, bacon or other cuts of meat.
The fiercest competition comes at the end of the season, when the turkey trophy is on the line. The shooter with the most wins throughout the season gets the trophy and bragging rights.
But even when there’s competition, it’s mostly friendly, and an opportunity to socialize with members and friends.
“I don’t win very much, but I like to come out and shoot,” Howard Crawford said.
In addition to turkey shoots, the club also works with local civic groups including scouting clubs and 4-H clubs to give them access to property for camping, shooting and other outdoor activities.
“We try to work with those groups to give them a place to camp or host outdoor activities,” Brenda Swartz said. “There aren’t a lot of options for groups like that.”
The group owns about 73 acres of land, purchased from a farm in 1957. They’ve planted trees and removed the barns and buildings to create walking trails. They’ve installed bluebird feeders around the area and have had bird-watching groups use the property to host events.
There’s also two ponds on the property they stock with fish. Izaak Walton hosts a kids fishing derby that’s open to the public right after the pond gets stocked.
“We have some members who are master gardeners, and we also host sessions on conservation and how to maintain and improve our ponds and wooded areas,” said Grimaldi.
He said the organization is family-centered and there’s something for everyone.
“If we ever have to move, I’m going to find my local chapter and join,” he said.
The club is hosting turkey shoots starting at 11 a.m. Nov. 24 and Dec. 1. Sign-up starts at 9 a.m. at the clubhouse, 7085 Friendsville Road.
For more information on the league, visit https://sites.google.com/site/medinachapter.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.