FAIRFIELD COUNTY FISH AND GAME
PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION
INFORMATION PACKAGE

 

The purpose of this package is to give new and prospective members of this organization brief description of the, facilities and activities that are available. This document is not intended to give complete details on all aspects of the Club. Any questions concerning items discussed. In this document should be directed to the Membership Secretary or an officer of the Club.


 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

TOPIC                                                                                                                  PAGE

 

Club History and Trivia                                                                                                       3

 

Facilities and Property                                                                                                        4

 

Social Events                                                                                                                       5

 

Meetings                                                                                                                                7

 

Target Shooting Activities                                                                                                  7

 

            Archery                                  7

            Falling Plates                       8

            Five Stand                             8

            Pistol and Rifle                     8         

            Skeet                                      8

            Sporting Clays                      8

            Trap                                        9

 

Other Association Activities           10

 

            Hunting                                 10

            Fishing                                  10

            Land Management              10


CLUB HISTORIC TRIVIA

As indicated on the Club emblem, the Fairfield County Fish and Game Protective Association, Inc. were founded on November 25, 1907. The Association was incorporated in 1939. Over the years the Club has had the benefit of many dedicated, hard working and distinguished members. During the period from 1917 to 1937, a few of the more active club members included state game wardens. One of these wardens was Mr. A. Joseph Williamson who, while acting as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Club for almost ten years, also became the first Chief Game Warden for the State of Connecticut. According to information in copies of Club minutes, Mr. Al Eccles was also a very active member and past President of the Club. Mr. Eccles became a Connecticut State Senator while he was a member of the Club and his son, Al Eccles Jr., was a Life member of the Club until his death in the late 1980's.

During the early years of the club, members were very active in assisting the state Fish and Game Department with the stocking of fish and game throughout Fairfield County. For many years, the Club purchased "cans" of trout from the state hatcheries and released the fish in a number of streams including the Pepper Street Brook, Halfway River, Patterson Brook, Pumpkin Brook, Cross Highway Brook, Far Mill River, Great Hollow Brook, Booth Hill Brook and the Saugatuck River in addition to Taunton Pond in Newtown.

Often, during the late spring, club members would either be given or would purchase $100 worth of young pheasants from the State and release them "in open country" from Monroe to Fairfield. The minutes of the club meetings indicate that the club members were very aware of game populations in the area and at one time, encouraged the state Fish and Game Department to close the 'partridge" season so that the birds would have a chance to reproduce. There are reports in club minutes that Club members were fairly successful in harvesting quail in areas of Fairfield County during the late 1920's. Members also attempted to obtain rabbits from the state for stocking. In 1929, it was illegal and considered by Club members to be "damn poor sportsmanship" to shoot hen pheasants in Connecticut.

The club members have always been very active in organizing social events. During the 1920's and 30's, the members held yearly club banquets at the Stratfield Hotel in Bridgeport. In 1928, it was reported that there were 376 members and guests present at the banquet. These banquets were considered to be a major event and often included a number of state and local officials as guests. Even though the Club members were very active, they did operate with a limited budget. In 1925, it was reported that the club treasury contained $536. At that time, the Club did not own any land and dues were $1 per year.

Another event that became popular was an” annual summer outing" for all members, their families and guests. For a few years, the club members utilized the facilities of the Mohegan Rod and Gun Club in Huntington for the summer outings and there are reports that over 300 people attended these events. During the 1920's and 30's, the state Fish and Game Department also sponsored outings and members of many fish and game clubs were invited. This club sponsored a number of teams for competitive events such as rowing, distance bait casting, accuracy fly casting and horse shoe matches in addition to skeet and trap shooting. A notable event in club history was the first annual F.C.F.& G.PA. skeet shoot that was held at the Remington Arms Lordship Gun Club facilities on September 28, 1930. Records indicated that the annual skeet shoots were a popular event for many years.

Over the years, the club's monthly meetings have been held in a number of different places. For many years, members met in the Stratfield Hotel. At one time, Remington Arms offered the use of their “club house" on the corner of Boston and Seaview Avenue in Bridgeport. During the early 1960's, meetings were held in the Knights of Columbus hall on Park Avenue in Bridgeport. Finally, after the main club house was suitably modified, the meetings were held on Club grounds as they are now. It was not uncommon for nearly 200 members to be present at club meetings in the 1930's but meetings today rarely have more than 100 members present. The Club had one interesting meeting in 1937 when the members voted NOT to allow women as members in the Club and at the same meeting, voted to allow “colored folks" as members.

The original parcel of property presently owned by the Club was purchased from the Berkshire Rod and Gun club in 1949with the help of Mr. "Doc" Skerlick, a distinguished Life Member of the Club. The purchase consisted of about160 acres, including the "87 acres" at the eastern end of the property, and cost the members $12,000. A few years later, approximately 30acres were purchased from the Hayes family and sometime after, another parcel of about 20 acres was purchased from the Hunter family. The Hunter property was located northeast of the present skeet .fields. In 1990, the last parcel of 22+ acres was purchased from Alberta Twist for $410,000. The Twist parcel extended from Great Ring Road towards the club house to the border of the Hayes parcel. When the original property was purchased, there was a club house next to the Halfway River that was used for many years by the members until it was destroyed by fire in the early 1970's. The present club house was built during the late 1950's using Iumber that was salvaged from the I-95construction sites. This facility has been modified and added to over the years to accommodate the growing needs of the Club. The majority of the skeet and trap, facilities presently used by the members were also built during the late 1950's.

CLUB FACILITIES AND PROPERTY

The club presently owns approximately 300acres of property. The majority of the property is located in Newtown, Connecticut with some small adjoining parcels in Monroe. The southern boundaries of the property are marked by the Halfway River and the railroad tracks that parallel the river. Additional land has been purchased whenever possible in an effort to increase the recreational facilities available to the members and increase the buffer zone between the shooting areas and adjoining neighbors. The most recent purchase of 22+ acres enlarged the western section of the Club property towards Great Ring Road. Refer to the enclosed map for more information on the areas and borders of the club property.

As mentioned, the club has a river running along the southern edge of the property. This river gives club members approximately 1.5 miles of excellent trout fishing throughout most of the year. The hardwood forest that covers most of the club property supports a variety of wildlife and is well utilized by members during the pheasant and grouse hunting seasons. There is also a significant population of turkey and whitetail deer on the property.

Although the natural facilities of the club are quite extensive, the man made facilities are equally impressive. Near the stream, there is a pavilion with picnic tables. This area is used on Junior’s Day for the breakfast preparations and by the members for family picnics during the year. At the top of the hill, the club has the main club house and the shooting facilities. The club house is extensively used for meetings and as the management center during the major shooting events. The club house contains a good kitchen and sufficient tables and chairs to handle about 100people. In the past, the facility has been made available for use by other organizations involved in the promotion of the shooting sports and outdoor activities such as the Fairfield County League of Sportsmen, the Isaac Walton League, the Boy Scouts and Connecticut State Hunter's Safety Training. On a number of occasions members have also volunteered their time to put on a fishing derby and picnic at the club house for handicapped children in the area.

To the north of the club house is the rifle and pistol range area. There is a 100 yard rifle range with 8 shooting positions along with 4 positions for 50 yard target shooting and 4 positions for shooting distances of 25 yards or less. All shooting positions are covered and have shooting benches. In addition, there is a single position 'falling plate" shooting range to the left of the main range. The Club has a very active Rifle and Pistol Committee that does an excellent job of maintaining and supervising the ranges. Please refer to the enclosed copy of the Rifle and Pistol Range Rules and contact the committee chairman or a range officer if there are any questions.

From the front porch of the club house, members can overlook the 5 skeet and trap fields that extend north and south parallel to the rifle range. During the major skeet and trap shoots, there are always members on the porch watching the action on the shooting fields and discussing the finer points of the sport. There is a significant investment that has been made in the skeet and trap fields and the Skeet and Trap Committees work hard to maintain the facilities and insure that the Club gets the maximum benefit and enjoyment from the facilities.

On the way up the hill to the club house area, members pass by the archery range area. At this time, it is not as elaborate as the other shooting facilities but with continued support of the members it will be improved in the future.

SOCIAL EVENTS

The Entertainment Committee is responsible for the scheduling and organization of a number of club social functions. During a typical year at the club, there will be a Game Dinner in April, the Club Family Picnic in September and the Earl Larson/Remington Night in November.

The Game Dinner is not only an opportunity for club members to socialize but the profits from the dinner also provide modest source of income for the club. This event has, in the past, been held at the club house but with increasing interest it may be necessary to utilize outside facilities in the future. Since attendance at the dinner is open to non-members as well as members, it gives members the chance to “show off' their club to outsiders. At the Game Dinner, guests may enjoy a large variety of wild game and fish such as deer, moose, bear, wild boar, pheasant, trout, and salmon. The game has been legally harvested by club members and donated to the Club for the dinner. For this reason, the variety and quantity of game available at the dinner will vary from year to year but there is always plenty of good food available. Members donate their time to prepare the meats and fish into a variety of appetizing dishes and it is not unusual that three or four different preparations of any meat would be available. Due to insurance and legal regulations, alcohol is not served at this function but plenty of other drinks are available. There is a charge of approximately $25 per person for the dinner and everyone agrees that they get their money's worth.

The second major club social event of the year is the Family Picnic. This event is held at the club house grounds and all shooting activities are suspended, for the day in the interest of safety. Like the Game Dinner, the purpose of this function is to give club members and their families the opportunity to socialize, have fun and enjoy plenty of good food. Much of the food for the picnic is obtained from an outside catering service but as usual, club members donate their time for cooking the usual hot dogs and hamburgers and serving the food. There are supervised activities for the children and plenty of space to allow them to get away from the adults if desired. There is a nominal charge for this event but the Club subsidizes significant portion of the costs so that members have little excuse for not attending.

A third notable event at the club is the Earl Larson/Remington Night. This event is held during the regular monthly membership meeting for the month of November which is on the first Monday of the month. Because it is a regular membership meeting, it is open only to club members and even at that the club house can get rather crowded The late Earl Larson was a distinguished member of the club for over 30 years and also retired employee of the Remington Arms sales staff. In the past, with Earl’s assistance, Remington firearms were made available to the club at minimal cost to be raffled off during Remington Night. With the assistance of Earl's son, Tom, the tradition of Remington Night continues to be possible. In addition, Remington Representatives usually set up displays of the latest Remington rifles and shotguns and are available to answer questions from club members. Remington will often supply a variety of other items such as knives, ammunition and clothing to add to the club raffle for the evening. To top off the event, the Entertainment Committee will usually have some tasty preparation of game meat available at no charge for everyone to enjoy.

Another social event that takes place at the club every year under the direction of the Junior Activities Committee is Junior's Day. This event is scheduled for late May or early June depending on weather and stream conditions. On Junior’s Day, all Junior members of the Club and their Junior aged guests are invited to enjoy the Club stream and facilities without competition from the Sub-Senior and Senior members. With the assistance of the Fish Committee the areas of the stream above the "Junction Pool" and"Raymond's Pond" are heavily stocked with hungry trout. Junior's Day activities start at about 9:00A.M. with the opening of trout fishing to Junior members ONLY. The Junior's Day Committee also insures that plenty of hot food and drinks are available for the Junior fishermen and parents. The fishing is closed by lunch time with the awarding of prizes and everyone moves to the club house area for an afternoon of more food, games and supervised shooting activities with more prizes. All this results in an active and interesting day for the Junior club members and their families. This activity is free to all Junior club members and their parents with a nominal fee charged for non-member guests.

CLUB MEETINGS

There are only two types of regularly scheduled meetings in the club, the monthly membership meetings and the monthly Board of Directors meetings.

The monthly membership meetings are held at the club house on the first Monday of the month except in September when it is on the second Monday. The meetings will begin at 8:00 P.M. and end sometime between 9:30 and 10:30 P.M. There are usually60 to 70 members present at the meetings and there will often be interesting discussions on a number of different topics. After the meeting, the Entertainment Committee will usually hold a raffle of hunting or fishing related items. Food is available at no charge and can be anything from just doughnuts to venison steaks depending on the occasion and the luck of the Entertainment Committee.

The monthly Board of Directors meetings is held on the third Wednesday of each month unless a conflict arises with national holiday. It is required that all club officers and committee chairpersons attend the Board meetings or send a representative. This meetings open to all Club members and although few non-board members attend. Many of the critical "club management" topics are discussed at these meetings prior to making recommendations to the general membership for final decisions.

TARGET SHOOTING ACTIVITIES

Over the years, the members of the Club have worked hard and invested many hours and dollars into developing one of the best and varied shooting, facilities in the Northeast. The established shooting facilities at the club include ranges for archery, five stand, pistol, rifle, skeet, sporting clays, and trap. The Club has been host to many shooting events that have attracted shooters from all over the Northeast. The following is a brief description of these activities:

ARCHERY

At Fairfield County F&GPA archery has become a very active venue. So active in fact that we have built a multi level platform stand for practice by our bow hunters. In addition we now host one of the finest shooting pavilions in the state of Connecticut. Our shooting range has target butts for field use starting at 20 yards out to 50 yards. Every summer we host a league open to the public one evening per week. Any level of archer is welcomed and encouraged to join the fun. A grill is ailed able for those who wish to bring their dinner and eat in the pavilion. Our range is lighted and fully powered. Even if you are a new shooter and have never shot before, fellow archers will welcome you and offer their expertise.   (Acceptance of this so called expertise is optional.)

Fairfield County Archers are a member of the Connecticut Archery Association. Most members are also affiliated with the National Field Archery Association. As a member of the CAA, Fairfield County Archers coordinate 3D competitions with other CAA clubs through out the year. These competitions are open to the public and you do not need to be a member of any organization to join in. This year Fairfield County is offering a 35-targetcourse while most other clubs are only offering 30. The lay out of this course will change for each competition.

Archery is a fun, healthy sport that will develop concentration and muscle tone in a fun environment. Even if you are not sure if you will like archery, contact anyone of the names here for more information. Give it a try!

FALLING PLATES

Located next to the Rifle Pistol range is the Falling Plate range. It is equipped with heavy steel “Pie Plates” and other steel reactive targets for “IPSIC” or IDPA” style pistol shooting.  It is open for member use many Sundays and there is usually winter league. No Jacketed ammunition is permitted on this range. Lead only.

5 STAND SHOOTING

In recent years there has been an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group of Club members interested in shooting the "5 Stand" version of the sport. This sport involves the use of a standard Skeet/Trap field with additional traps and shooting positions. 5 Stand Shooting may take place on Sundays when there is not a scheduled Skeet or Trap shoot at the Club and in a summer league. Shooting usually takes place on field 5 (the Skeet field furthest away from the club house). With increased interest in the sport in the future, the shooting times and facilities may be expanded.

PISTOL AND RIFLE SHOOTING

The rifle/pistol range at the Club is available for use by club members on Sundays during the bird hunting season and7 days per week for the remainder q f the year except when closed for special events such as skeet or trap shoots, Easter, Juniors day and the Family picnic. Just prior to the deer hunting season is the period of peak activity on the range with members trying to sight in the old "Thunder Sticks" in hopes of getting that big ten pointer. The Rifle/Pistol Committee is quite active and there are often 'falling plate" shoots or practice sessions on the schedule. The main event for the rifle and pistol shooters is the annual “Club Championship Shoot". This event is open to members only and is a friendly and organized way to determine who is the best rifle or pistol shooter in the Club. Shooting takes place in a number of different categories including rim- fire re rifle and pistol, center-fire rifle and pistol, muzzle loaders, and falling plate shooting. There is also a winner selected for "High Overall Shooter".


SKEET SHOOTING

The Skeet Committee is probably the largest and most popular committee in the Club. Skeet shooting has been a favorite sport at the Club for the past forty years and the continued support indicates that it will remain so for years to come. The Club has five regulation skeet fields and all are equipment with well maintained state-of-the-art equipment. The Club is available for skeet shooting on Sundays throughout the year exception Easter or when other special events are scheduled such as Junior's Day or trap shoots. In addition, practice shooting is also available during daylight savings time on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 P.M. until dark. Guests of Senior members are allowed to shoot skeet at the club on a limited basis. Members should consult the skeet shooting rules for further information.

The Skeet Committee, in addition to running the practice shooting and maintaining the skeet fields, also holds three or four registered shoots each year. In past years, the Club has been host to the Connecticut State Skeet Shoot on a few occasions. These registered shoots are a significant source of income for the Club and the Skeet Committee takes pride in sponsoring quality shooting events. As with the rifle and pistol shooting, the Skeet Committee also holds an annual “Club Championship Skeet Shoot". This shoot is open to club members only and usually consists of 50 target events in each gage with a "High Over All" prize also being awarded. The Club championship shoots are generally well attended and offer members the opportunity for friendly, informal and organized competition.

From December through March, in an effort to encourage use of the facilities and give shooters the chance to "keep in shape", the Skeet Committee conducts a "Winter Skeet League” that is open to members and non-members. The league shooting takes place on 10Sundays during this period. On the last day of league shooting, there is a dinner and award ceremony for all league participants.

SPORTING CLAYS

Our Sporting Clays course at Fairfield County Fish & Game has evolved into a unique and formidable shooting facility. We have the capability of having a fully automated 14stations in the woods and 4 stations on the open skeet fields, for a total of18 stations, encompassing 1 mile of groomed trail thru the woods. We also employ manual traps in some locations that offer some presentations that automatic machines just can’t duplicate. Our targets can be set to challenge the experienced and nurture the beginner.

TRAP SHOOTING

Although the Trap Committee is slightly smaller than the Skeet Committee, there is no lack of facilities or enthusiasm. Trap shooting has been popular at the Club for as long as skeet shooting and the quantity and quality of the facilities are evidence of this. There are five regulation trap fields on the property that are co-located with the five Skeet fields. Even though this sharing of shooting areas does limit the amount of simultaneous skeet and trap shooting that can be done, it rarely creates problems for the members. Practice trap shooting is available on Sundays during the year with the same limitations as skeet shooting. During daylight savings time, trap shooting practice is held on Monday evenings, from 5:30 P.M. until dark. As with skeet shooting, guests of senior members may utilize the club trap shooting facilities on a limited basis. Trap committee rules should be consulted for further information.

The Trap Committee organizes two or three registered trap shoots during the year and at an average shoot, the Club will be host to over 100 shooters. As with the skeet shoots, you will find shooters from all over the Northeast in attendance. These trap shoots are also a source of income for the Club and more than pay for the trap facilities and equipment. The “Club Championship Trap Shoot" is usually held in conjunction with the Club Championship Skeet Shoot and helps to contribute to an interesting day for many members.

As with the Skeet Committee, the Trap Committee also conducts a "Winter League" from December through March. Participation in the league has always been good and everyone enjoys the shooting in spite of the cold.

OTHERASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES

HUNTING

In the past, hunting on the club property has been limited to small game ONLY and primarily pheasants. All 300 acres of the club are usable for hunting with the exception of the 500 foot buffer distance from occupied non-Club dwellings required by state law.

During the regular state pheasant hunting season that runs from mid October to mid January, the Game Committee supervises the stocking and hunting of pheasants on the property. The Club purchases pheasants for stocking each year. Pheasants are stocked multiple times a week. There is other small game on the property such as rabbits and squirrels and these can be hunted on weekdays only. Refer to the enclosed copy of the hunting rules for more information but be sure to consult the LA1 EST club hunting rules for in formation on the current stocking dates and the latest rule changes.

The Clubs very concerned with the safety of it’s members and the good relationship with it's neighbors. Members are strongly encouraged to be safety conscious and respect to rights of the Club’s neighbors.

FISHING

As mentioned, the Club owns property along more than a mile of an excellent trout fishing stream. The Halfway River is considered to be one of the few good trout streams in the county. The stream has wild brown trout and native brook trout.  These are fish that naturally reproduce in this river.  The Fish Committee is responsible for the purchase and stocking of over 2200 trout each year. The majority of the fish are stocked from April through June but there has also been a stocking in fall depending on stream conditions. Ninety percent of the fish are stocked within 300 feet of the club road to allow easy access by all members. The remainders of the fish are stocked in the "No Kill" or "catch and Release" area. The location of the "No Kill" area is from the pool below the junction pool to the sharp bend in the river.  It is felt that the "no Kill" area is cool enough to keep the trout healthy through the summer and also holds the fish through the winter months. Fishing on the stream is one of the major attractions of the club at participation is very active throughout the season. In each stocking, members can expect several fish in the 2 to 5 pound range to be stocked with the majority of the fish being from 13 to 15 inches long. Members are always welcome to come and help with the stocking.

There is also a Stream Improvement Committee that, as the name implies, is responsible for recommending and supervising the improvement of the stream by repairing dams and removing brush as necessary. Refer to the fishing rules for more information, but be sure to consult the current rules for the latest information on stocking dates and rule changes.

LANDMANAGEMENT

A Land Management Committee has been established to look after the ecological welfare of club property which consists of two contiguous properties totaling approximately 300 acres.  The committee has operated since 1996 and has been clearing selected areas of property since 1998.  The primary objective of the committee is to preserve the ecological well being of the forest and the stream which flows through the property to improve habitat for wildlife.  A forest management plan was prepared by a registered Connecticut forester.  This plan defined how the club could best maintain its property which, from a forestry perspective, is actually five different ecological zones.  The plan addresses how to manage each zone – pines, wetlands and three different hard wood areas.

The property consists of late succession forest.  This type of forest is ideal for deer and turkey, of which there are abundance, but it is not appropriate to grouse and woodcock or migratory song birds.  The activities of the committee during the last eight years have been to open up,i.e. clear, areas of forest to allow for early successional growth.  this type of growth is preferred for birds.  the intent it to creatislands of early successional growth within a larger ecosystem of late succession growth, thereby establishing a balance for deer, turkey, grouse, woodcock, and migratory birds.

Land management activities can be described by the following example.  There are grouse on the property, but the habitat is not ideal.  The property also has a limited number of Aspens which are preferred grouse habitat, but not in sufficient number to increase the grouse population.  Land management has worked to clear areas around the existing Aspens to get greater proliferation of this species and, thereby, to improve grouse reproduction.