Pheasant Release: The State of Maine runs a “put and take” pheasant hunting program only in Cumberland and York counties. It provides an opportunity for hunters to buy a pheasant permit for $17 that allows them to harvest the approximate 2000 cocks and hens pheasants released, throughout the season, typically 1 October to 31 December. Our Club is the lead club for the program. We maintain landowner relations for the 21 parcels of land where the birds are released and we release birds onto the approved sites in three increments just before and throughout the first month of the season.
Speakers Program: During our monthly Social meetings we endeavor to have noted experts on outdoor pursuits address the Club after the dinner portion of the meeting. We have had expert turkey hunters, fishing guides, fly tiers, competition bass fishermen, dog trainers, coyote hunters, bear hunting guides, taxidermists, and Club members who have had recent experiences hunting and fishing. Additionally, we have speakers who represent outdoor interests across the State of Maine including talks on the Bear Referendum, Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine, the NRA and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Gun Raffles: Periodically throughout the year as a fund raiser we will purchase a popular firearm and sell raffles tickets in a limited distribution to club members and sometimes the general public. Tickets are distributed to the members who, in turn, sell them to their acquaintances or purchase the tickets themselves. At the appointed date the drawings are held in the Club and the winner announced. The winner gets a certificate to pick up the weapon at a retail establishment such as Cabelas or a Federal Firearms Licensed individual. Proceeds go towards funding Club operations such as the Youth Lifetime License Program.
Gun Shows: Typically, in the February-March time frame we will host a public Gun Show at the Club. We invite various gun vendors, gun shop owners, collectors, and aficionados to exhibit and sell their arms and related materials from tables set up in the Club. Usually, the Club buys a table as well and members with guns and outdoor equipment to sell can use the Club table to do so. We also provide snack foods and drinks for sale at this event. Members volunteer to assist the vendors with transporting their sale items and providing security.
Turkey Shoot: Each November we host a “Turkey Shoot” at the Club. The public attends and attempts to win 18-20 lb frozen turkeys or a 10 lb pork loin. They compete in a host of ways such as buying chances on a spinning Wheel of Fortune-style wheel or actually shooting for score on targets with Club provided .22 cal rifles and ammo down on our shooting range in the basement. Shooters are matched up in groups and when a group has completed a round of shooting a winner with the highest score is declared and awarded a prize. Other games of chance are played with cash prizes. This event is very popular so close to Thanksgiving.
Cumberland County Fair: Each September the County of Cumberland hosts a fair on its fairgrounds in Cumberland, off Blanchard Road. The Club buys a booth space and mans our sales trailer for the week that the fair is open. It takes lots of volunteers but it is fun, provides an opportunity for Club members to get to know one another, gets our name out in the community which helps with membership, and raises money to support our programs. We buy boxes of pull-tab cards and offer them for sale. The public buys the cards with the chance of winning up to $250 for a single card with more chances to win lesser amounts.
Sportsmen’s Forum: Periodically, issues crop up dealing with outdoor activities related to hunting and fishing that need to be discussed on a region-wide basis. When that has happened in the past the Club hosts a Sportsmen’s Forum where representatives of IF&W, biologists, the Warden Service, other issue experts, and members representing other Rod and Gun or Fish and Game clubs in the immediate area come together to discuss. This information sharing helps the public to understand what the controlling agencies’ intent is and they get a sense of the sporting public feels about something like a proposed rule change before it happens.
Good Gear Bucket Raffle: Twice a year we will accept donations from Club members of sporting equipment that they no longer use or want, sometimes slightly used other times still new in the box. The items are then displayed on tables with a bucket for tickets. Members buy tickets and deposit them in the buckets of items they are interested in—the more tickets they put in the greater their chance of selection. At the start of the raffle the buckets are “closed” to further tickets and a drawing is held out of each bucket with the winner going home with his/her new treasure.
Hunter Safety Classes: When we can get a properly certified instructor committed, we will hold a Hunter Safety Classes throughout the year. These are open to the public and allow them to qualify for a Maine Hunting License. We anticipate running several classes this year including some for youth hunters and women.
Home Defense/CWP: This course is designed to make people confident and comfortable handling weapons within their homes and for personal defense. It touches on all relevant laws on self-defense; safety considerations; weapon types and calibers; concealed and open carriage considerations; and, proper weapons storage and cleaning. Participants can bring their weapons and ammo and receive actual shooting instruction on our basement range. This qualifies individuals, in part, for their concealed weapons permit (CWP) for Maine. Classes are scheduled and advertised as instructors become available.
Social Issues: From time to time the Club gets asked to weigh in on issues that have a broader application than simply hunting and fishing. Sometimes it is just creating a greater awareness on a topic that indirectly affects the sporting world such as the broader issue of gun control, political agendas that are inimitable to issues outlined in our charter such as the Bear Referendum or environmental concerns such as the potential impact of “tar sands” being shipped through pipelines crossing the Crooked River. When that happens we discuss it in full member open forum and decide what, if anything, the Club as an entity should do.
The Windham-Gorham Rod and Gun Club has activated a Members and Guests-only outdoor archery range adjacent to the Club parking area capable of handling traditional, recurve, crossbow, and compound bow shooting. The following rules are intended to keep the archery shooting activities safe:
click to view Archery Range Rules: