Don’t be surprised if you hear a gun shot minutes away from the heart of Downtown Naperville. It’s probably just the Naperville Sportsman’s Club shooting at their gun range.
For the past 75 years the club has had their eye on the target at Sportsman’s Park on West Street. On any given Thursday or Sunday you can find dozens of people trap shooting.
“Trap shooting is a game of five people shooting five shots from five different stations,” said Jim Monk, President of Naperville Sportsman’s Club. “You keep score, so the more targets you hit, the better your score.”
You don’t have to be a member of the Naperville Sportsman’s Club to shoot at the range. All you need is a Firearm Owners Identification Card and your shotgun.
Naperville resident, and past president of the Sportsman’s Club, Jay Spitz has been coming out to the range since the mid-90s. He says it’s the camaraderie of the shooters that keeps him coming back year after year.
“Sportsman’s Park, I guess you could say, it’s in my blood,” said Spitz. “I’ll be out here as long as the range is out here.”
And it’s not just men who enjoy coming to the range. Judy Novotny and her husband used to compete in Cowboy style pistol shooting. After moving to Naperville in 2004, Sportsman’s Park was a good way to continue practicing their passion. She says although there aren’t a lot of women that come shooting, the men in the club have given her no problems.
“I think more ladies should join,” said Novotny. “It’s something their husbands would enjoy. I do beat my husband a lot. He doesn’t get mad, he just encourages me.”
Members of the Naperville Sportsman’s Club welcome shooters of any age and any skill level to come try out trap shooting. And hope that the family friendly park will continue to be around for generations to come.
The City of Naperville owns Sportsman’s Park, the Park District rents the land and the Sportsman’s Club operates it.
At a recent city council meeting the Park District requested permission to enroll Sportsman’s Park in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Site Remediation Program that would oversee the clean up of the park. The council tabled that decision until their next meeting.
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