St. John's Rod and Gun Club 2020 (55 Photos)

2020 has been one heck of a challenging year for all of us, and those of us responsible for running the St. John's Rod and Gun Club were no strangers to the challenges presented by the Global pandemic Covid-19 and the ensuing shutdowns and gradual partial reopening of shops and businesses across the province. I began my 7th term as president of the SJRGC just as the pandemic hit full stride and business, travel and industry ground to a halt.



Keeping up with the constant press releases from our provincial government regarding what we could and could not do as a club and facility was mind boggling and never straight forward. With each new release and eventual implementation of a 4 level Provincial Covid-19 action plan we had to work with the health line and develop a strategy unique to our facility as it is unique within our province. Every change meant a newly adjusted operation plan that had to be verified with government, posted electronically and then physically at the club for each change.



For months group activities at the club were cancelled while use of outdoor ranges by individual members was made available following our social distancing protocols and operations plan. Important events including clean up day were cancelled and replaced by clean up groups working within family bubbles completing clean up day tasks individually over the course of a few weeks. Regular monthly orientation sessions for new and lapsed members were replaced by a new program to better serve lapsed members and a new orientation by appointment system for new members. Safety protocols were put in place for the receipt and handling of paper membership forms and cash/cheques.



I made a number of clean up trips to the club and spent time picking up all the windblown garbage and chloroplast from the woods near the ranges, tearing down damaged target stands on range A and later rebuilding the upright sections with new lumber (reusing the solid bases).



Our "range in use" sign which we are mandated to have by the firearms office succumbed to our severe winter weather. I made a temporary repair and later in the year club members Steve Pink and crew made a fantastic permanent repair with new concrete bases and 4"x4" lumber.







Fewer target stands were put out this year to comply with our new social distancing protocols.




On another clean up day adventure I took advantage of closed ranges to knock down a bunch of precariously leaning trees along each side the club access road. Over time the banks erode and trees start to lean which can be a real danger to anyone accessing the club.



My new Husqvarna 550xp Chainsaw got the job done with ease and style! The new firewood was bucked and stacked in the new firewood storage box along side the Longbranch.






As summer arrived we eventually reached a Covid Alert level where group activities could resume at the club. Shoots resumed in small numbers at first and slowly ramped up to numbers supporting regular weekly events but not any of our larger club wide events which were cancelled for the year.



The Atlantic Trap Championships originally scheduled for Labour Day in Yarmouth was changed to a satellite shoot format with participants shooting the event at 4 locations across Atlantic Canada and registering their scores to the APTA event committee. Larger shoots such as the Canadian Trap Championships were cancelled. Amazingly the Grand Championship still went ahead in the U.S. while the shoot was moved to a state with lax Covid regulations. Counterproductive to any Covid action plan IMHO.



Taking advantage of shooting downtime, Bassan and crew got to work on the previously approved Trap range rehabilitation program that started last year with the replacement of Trap house D and continued this year by demolishing trap house B which was in danger of collapse.



The SJRGC applied for and made use of funds from the Gun Club Fund program offered by the Amateur Trapshooting Association which really helped get this project complete.















The next stage of this years scheduled work is the replacement of the dilapidated concrete walkways on the trap field which were originally installed almost 50 years ago and were now broken, cracked and a major trip hazard. This year we will get one done and aim to complete two more next year. The remaining two older trap houses are still in great shape and don't require replacement or major repairs at this time.


















Many many hours of volunteer labour provided by club members trained in various professional trades were the key to making large projects like this possible in both time and money. Many thanks to everyone that took part in these and many other projects across the club again this year, you are the key to the success of the St. John's Rod and Gun Club.



Part of my volunteer duties at the club that I very much enjoy is continuing maintenance of club equipment including the 15kw Generator and our 2015 club ATV both of which I have been looking after since they were commissioned. The generator had a normal full service including oil, oil filter, both fuel filters, fan belt and air cleaner.



The club Honda Fourtrax 420 also received a fresh oil & filter, a new spark plug, brake adjustment, and repair to the parking brake mechanism.




The steel lever on the handbrake mechanism wore away the indent on the aluminum brake handle assembly over time. To fix I drilled a 9/64" hole, inserted a screw for a pin and trimmed it to length. This will provide a solid stop for the parking brake lever that wont wear away like the OEM setup.



After another club member installed a new door on the Wildlife shed, I went out to the club and installed a door knob and combination padlock & hardware to secure the shed in the same manner used on most of our club buildings.




At the end of this year we had a contractor on site to remedy drainage on new Range A. Silt had washed down from the rear backstop over time and plugged up the French drain causing water to pool on the range floor. Healy's Excavating opened up the drain and fixed the problem properly.

All in all it was quite a crazy year at the club. Although we were not busy with events such as Youth Day, BOW program, NF Sportsman shoot etc, we were even more busy than normal with club repair projects, implementing a new orientation program, and keeping the club compliant with provincial Covid alert level regulations.  We also had to contend with an influx of new corporate users who needed a place to train and re-certify as other indoor ranges including the RCMP range remained closed. Hopefully 2021 will allow us to get back closer to normal but only time will tell.


Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith