Bald Eagle

On Centre | Bald Eagle Area: Port Matilda Sportsmen’s ‘meat shoots’ draw crowds

Rifle season for deer ended last month, but local sportsmen still have opportunities to put some meat in the freezer.

Small game, late archery and muzzleloader seasons are options, or they could avoid the woods altogether and ring in the new year with a bang at the Port Matilda Sportsmen’s Club on Wednesday night.

The club hosts the first “meat shoot” of the year at 7 p.m. at its clubhouse a mile north of Port Matilda on U.S. Route 220. Participation costs $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers, club President Alan McMonagle said. Contestants need only bring a shotgun — a 12-, 16- or 20-gauge. Shells are provided by the club and no machined barrels are permitted in the interest of fairness.

“Anybody can win,” McMonagle said.

Shooting is conducted at the club’s 25-yard shotgun range. Five rounds of shooting are conducted, with four or five winners per round for the first four, depending on the number of contestants. Eight shooters go at once and the person with the closest impact to the center of the target wins, McMonagle said.

First-place winners in the first four rounds usually win a turkey or ham, with each descending winner awarded items like steaks, roasts, chicken halves or ham slices.

McMonagle said the fifth round has only one winner, who is awarded a $100 meat package containing “a little bit of everything.”

“There’s usually a different winner every time and that’s what makes it a good shoot,” McMonagle said.

A variety of food and drink is available for purchase during the event. Those in attendance can be winners without firing a shot. Drawings and other games of chance are held for sports-related items, like .22 rounds or fishing gear, McMonagle said.

Lengths of events depend on the number of shooters but usually wrap up between 9 and 9:30 p.m., McMonagle said. The events began in the fall and have been drawing an average of 40 participants, but had a high of 70 shooters.

Funds generated from the shoots are used primarily for upkeep of the property but also help youth programs offered by the club, like hunter safety courses, McMonagle said. Shoots will continue every Wednesday until March.

Students earn PSSA honors

Some Bald Eagle Area School District elementary students were honored Dec. 17 for scoring in the top 10 percent in the 2013-2014 PSSA tests in math, reading and science.

Students from Howard, Mountaintop, Port Matilda and Wingate elementary schools received medals for the achievement at a cookie and punch reception at the high school. Eighty-four medals were handed out, administrative assistant Rose Hoover said, with some students earning more than one.