Coach Dianne Land watches Melanie Gibbs

Enter now for Kelowna Fish & Game awards

The annual awards dinner and fund-raiser for the Kelowna Fish and Game Club's junior programs is Feb. 23.

Life members of the Kelowna and District Fish and Game Club are hosting this year’s awards night and steak dinner, which is also a fund-raising event for the club’s junior rifle and archery programs, Sat., Feb. 23.

Last year’s event helped launch a Junior Olympic archery program which got underway last fall and that already has 12 shooters and room for more.

Former president Dave Henshaw noted it’s a feather in the cap for archery to have national-level coach Charles Land and his wife Dianne, a provincial-level judge and coach, who started the Junior Olympic program.

The long range goal is to develop world and Olympic competition status for the club’s young archers.

The junior rifle program is well into its second decade of instruction in the safe handling and use of .22-cal rifles. Its main corporate sponsor is A&C Sports which supplies ammunition and will give away a Mark II .22-cal long rifle to a junior shooter who will win it in a participation draw at the end of the instruction season.

“The Kelowna Fish and Game Club is keen to foster hunting, target shooting and other healthy outdoor activities among young people,” said president Mark Rogers. “We take every opportunity we can to help junior members participate in archery and rifle target shooting.”

Shooting sports are not the only activities the conservation club targets. In spring, volunteers teach children angling basics weekly at the Hall Road children’s fishing pond. The club supplies rods and reels, bait and nets along with volunteer coaches.

As well, at the start of the 2012 hunting season, club volunteers installed two dozen management unit signs in Region 8, the local hunting and fishing area. “This is a valuable service to all hunters because the signage ensures they will easily be able identify what hunting area they are in to keep compliant with hunting regulations,” Rogers said.

Shane Nicholls, who helps run the junior shooter program, led the project, funded by the club with money raised at its Wild Game Dinner.

“We bought and placed the signs at a cost of thousands of dollars, said Rogers. “And the signage project will continue next year.”

A highlight of the evening will be the recognition for first deer taken by gun or bow by any junior. “We welcome all juniors who harvested their first deer in 2012 to enter and receive an award,” said Barry Marciski, a member of the organizing committee.

Adult hunters can compete for plaques in moose, elk and mule and whitetail deer categories.

For scoring, antlers must be taken to L&O Jewellers, 1735 Dolphin Ave., by Feb. 15. Call Rudy Litz at 860-8928 to arrange.

The Dan Hill award for extraordinary service to the club will also be presented.

People who wish to enter the 2013 competition must have been a Kelowna club member during the 2012 season when the game was taken, and have a current membership.

There will be door prizes and draws for a variety of quality firearms, archery and fishing gear:

Lead awards-night sponsor Grouse River Outfitters is on board again this year, with a Remington XCR II .30/06 with a retail value of $900 and a Zeiss Conquest 3-9X40 rifle scope worth $520.

Also to be drawn will be a Remington 870 Express 3 1/2-inch, 12-gauge super-mag camo shotgun from Barton’s Big Country Outdoors.

Hardcore Archery donated an Excalibur Phoenix crossbow package.

Trout Waters will get guests thinking about fishing season, thanks to their donation of a Dragonfly Fly Fishing Package, consisting of rod, reel and line.

Tickets for the event are now available at A&C Sports, Grouse River Outfitters, Harcore Archery, L&O Jewellers, Weber & Markin Gunsmiths, Robertson’s Clothing and Trout Waters Supply (after Feb. 1, at 2340 Highway 97 N.), or from the club, 4041 Casorso Rd., during office hours.

The award winner for 2012 in the junior category (first deer) was Stirling Sullivan, while in the adult categories Mike Nicholl’s mule deer was scored at 97 5/8 and Gene Bryant’s whitetail came in at 79 3/8.

No moose or elk were entered in 2012.

Kelowna Fish and Game’s archery program, under director Marciski, has a team of qualified instructors who teach juniors on alternate Tuesday evenings through June.  The youngsters use bows, arrows, targets and other gear supplied by the club in its indoor range.

The junior shooter program, headed by president Rogers and director Shane Nicholls, also has a team of instructors who teach safe and responsible firearms use of .22-cal. rifles supplied by the club.

Junior rifle and archery dates and other information about the sports are posted on the club website, or by calling the club office at 250-764-7558.