Die-hard hunters set sights on season

October 27, 1997


Staff Writer

SHARPSBURG - The persistent rain that battered Washington County Sunday mostly washed out the sight-in at a local hunting club.

The rain even drove an official from the Maryland Wildlife Division away from the Western Maryland Sportsmen's Club.

But Larry Reynolds and his family refused to be deterred.

"You hunt in the rain. You might as well shoot in it," he said. "It's really nice to let us go down here. There's not too many places to shoot anymore."

The annual event allows hunters to sight their weapons and aim for targets as the hunting season approaches. Deer firearms season in Maryland begins Nov. 29.


Sponsored by the Maryland Wildlife Division, this is the third year the Western Maryland Sportsmen's Club has opened its doors to the public.

Normally, the club is restricted to members.

"We like to involve the club with the public," said president Terry Stine. "We try to help the community out. It's nice to offer our facilities once a year."

On the range, Reynolds, 56, and family members took turns firing at orange circles that were 50 and 100 yards away. Reynolds said hunting has grown more difficult over the years.

In addition to a lack of places to adjust rifles, he said there are fewer private property owners who are willing to open their land to hunters. And the public grounds have become crowded, he added.

"When I was hunting 20 years ago, almost anyone would let you hunt," said Reynolds, of Williamsport. "(Now) if you don't know the people, they don't let you in."

But on Sunday, Reynolds pretty much had the range to himself as he gave tips to his grandchildren. His son-in-law, John Bowers, said he was passing the sport along to his sons.

"That was a tradition in my family Saturday mornings," he said.

Bowers, 37, of Halfway, said his 6-year-old son, Dustin, was even younger when he sat through a hunting safety course with the family a couple years ago.

"I can remember the instructors said they never had a little kid sitting there who was so good. They gave him a patch and made him feel like he took the course," he said.

Dustin said he cannot wait until he can shoot weapons that are more powerful than his BB gun and hunt with his brother. Even though he still is too young for a hunting license, he said he has had practice on family outings.

"I was very quiet so you don't scare the deer away," he said.

Ryan Bowers, 11, said he is looking forward to hunting season.

"It's nice just to be outdoors and see some of the wild animals," he said.

His cousin, 10-year-old Corey Reynolds, said hunting requires patience.

"For dove hunting, you have to sit and wait for sometimes a half-hour. But it all takes time," he said.

Will he be able to maintain that patience in weather like Sunday's, when there is no protective covering from a pavilion?

"You sit down in it. Get used to it," he said.

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