Prairie Rod and Gun Club

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Prairie Rod and Gun Club very active since 1948

By Ted Pennekamp


The Prairie Rod and Gun Club held its annul Deer Show at the National Guard Armory in Prairie du Chien on Feb. 17. The show is the club’s only fundraiser, which raises money for the numerous other programs and activities the club conducts every year to promote and improve outdoor recreation opportunities for all.

Former DNR conservation warden and club member, Dennis Kirschbaum, said the club has about 300 members, many of whom give their time and expertise to numerous projects. Twenty-six new members were gained at the 2018 Deer Show, said Kirschbaum. The main way a person can become a member is by filling out an application at the Deer Show or at Stark’s Sport Shop of Prairie du Chien.

“All of our members are encouraged to get involved in our activities,” said Kirschbaum, who noted that meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month. Also, club members can keep informed through the club’s monthly newsletter by mail and email. There is a minimal fee for dues each year.

“The Prairie Rod and Gun Club has a history of being an active club since 1948,” Kirschbaum said. “We have yearly projects, plus new projects. We’re a very busy outfit and have a lot of things going on.”

One relatively well-known yearly activity is the club letting deer hunters sight in their rifles for free at the club’s Mill Coulee Rifle Range. Kirschbaum said the club has owned the range since 1959 and the sight-ins run for five afternoons prior to the gun-deer season. Club members provide targets and range safety, said Kirschbaum.

Club activities for 2017 included: 

•The 19th annual Deer Show

•Rifle and trap range maintenance

•Pre-deer season sight-in (open to the public)

•Removed storm damage at the Mill Coulee Rifle Range and the archery range at La Riviere Park

•Acquired a new porta-potty for rifle range

•Assisted with the High School Trap Shooting League – 30 student shooters

•Achieved 501(c) non-profit status

•Achieved Wisconsin tax exempt status

•Conducted 200 hours of the Clean Boats/Clean Waters effort at the Campion Landing

•Donated to the Turkey Hunters Care program

•Purchased and planted wildlife shrubs at La Riviere Park

•Club Christmas party

•Club annual picnic

•Participated in two fishing events with Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation

•Conducted kids casting contest at the Crawford County Fair 

•Initiated and planned for personal flotation device (PFD) lender rack at the Woodman Landing, to be completed in 2018

•Completion of a rewrite of club by-laws

•Secured new T-shirts with a new logo

•Erected bat houses at La Riviere Park. This two-year project included the Prairie du Chien High School technical education class

•Continued support of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy (MVC)

•Assisted with the initial clean-up at Kickapoo Caverns with MVC

•Received a Crawford County Conservation Aids grant to purchase rock for local trout streams

•Gained membership in the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

•Sponsored the Prairie du Chien Hunters Education classes

•Supported Prairie du Chien Boy Scout Troop 320

•Provided a Plotmaster for food plot planting

•Continued management of the archery range at La Riviere Park.

Kirschbaum said the PFD lender program at the Woodman Landing is being conducted in conjunction with the Wisconsin DNR and will include a ring buoy at the beach whereby PFDs can be thrown out to a person in trouble in the river. The beach at the Woodman Landing has, unfortunately, been the site of some drownings over the years.

Projects in the works for 2018 include:

•Building a bird blind for La Riviere Park

•Erecting chimney swift towers for La Riviere Park

•Completing a fishing project whereby anglers can have a safe place to fish the waters of the Mississippi River from shore

•Conducting a clean water project

•Building an archery tower at the La Riviere Park archery range.

“We will be soliciting help from the archers who use the range to build the tower,” said Kirschbaum, who noted that the tower will give archers the opportunity to practice so as to simulate shooting from a deer stand.

For more information about the Prairie Rod and Gun Club, interested persons can log onto their website or their Facebook page, said Kirschbaum. The annual Deer Show is the club’s only fundraiser, but Kirschbaum said anyone wishing to donate to the club can contact him at 326-2718.

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