Last hur­rah for Deni

On New Year’s Eve, De­niliquin Field & Game mem­bers were not only see­ing out 2016, they were say­ing farewell to the shoot­ing ground the branch was founded on.

Field and Game - - FGA BRANCH NEWS -

Set amongst tow­er­ing gums with stands fol­low­ing the nat­u­ral course of creeks and back­wa­ters, De­niliquin FGA has for many years en­joyed a chal­leng­ing and unique place to shoot Sim­u­lated Field.

When they first ar­rived at the prop­erty in the early 1990s, the fa­cil­i­ties were rudi­men­tary, just a sim­ple hut, but many of the first mem­bers thought that was just fine. “We had a bit of a lean-to, a few pipes and tarps we used to bor­row from Rovers Foot­ball Club and we had about three shoots a year ini­tially,” found­ing mem­ber Cliff Ea­gle said.

Their first ma­jor shoot, staged in 1992, used home­made and bor­rowed hand traps from Barham Field & Game; the lo­cal cadets marched in to throw the tar­gets. “We put a 75 tar­get day on, one trap three times, and we had 75 shoot­ers,” Matt Ma­her said.

The idea to find a shoot­ing ground and form a Field & Game branch was hatched over a beer in 1989.

Matt Ma­her and Brian Lehman ap­proached Robert and Fiona Field from War­brec­can Sta­tion, who of­fered vir­tu­ally un­re­stricted use of an area ad­ja­cent to the Wakool River. A meet­ing was called to gauge pub­lic sup­port and the branch was soon up and run­ning. Lo­cal busi­nesses got be­hind the branch and a pub­li­can, butcher, fruiterer and sports store­owner all pur­chased new traps. “We reck­oned we had the best spot

in Aus­tralia and we were suc­cess­ful; we could have 100 peo­ple camp­ing here the night be­fore a shoot,” Matt said. “The Golden Rivers shoot has been a big thing for us but we also started a Christ­mas shoot; that week blokes don’t have much to do and we had a crack, like try­ing the first tar­get skim­ming off the water.”

Cliff said the ground also played an im­por­tant role in train­ing ju­nior shoot­ers. Lo­cal schools would use it ev­ery Wed­nes­day for safety train­ing and com­pe­ti­tion.

Not own­ing the land al­ways left the branch vul­ner­a­ble to change and the break up and sale of the host sta­tion brought on a move to a new ground, shared with the Aus­tralian Clay Tar­get As­so­ci­a­tion on Race­course Rd.

They sent the old ground off with a bang: 100 tar­gets and more than 100 shoot­ers as well as many of the orig­i­nal mem­bers who re­turned just to rem­i­nisce and say farewell. “We used to spend one week­end here work­ing and one week­end here shoot­ing; that went on for 10 years to build the fa­cil­i­ties — it was bloody hard work,” Matt said. “I think when we started we prob­a­bly didn’t think we’d stay here as long. It is a bit sad but at least we can say we were here for the first shoot and the last.”

Im­ages from the first De­niliquin FGA shoot

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