An annual turkey shoot in Grovetown that raised noise and safety concerns from nearby residents in fall 2003 will kick off Friday in a new location.
Ken Hitchcock helped his son Jamie, 9, of Grovetown, aim during last year's Grovetown Lions Club turkey shoot.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
Nearly a year ago, the Grovetown Lions Club held its largest fund-raiser, a three-month turkey shoot, on land between the Main Street and Senators Ridge subdivisions on Harlem-Grovetown Road just outside Grovetown's city limits. At the time, nearby residents were bothered by the noise and were concerned about the safety of having guns fired close to their homes.
Beginning Friday, the shoot will begin on 200 acres of land on Old Louisville Road, owned by Byron Mangum.
The debate was taken to the Columbia County Board of Commissioners in December, with the question being raised about whether the club surpassed a 30-day special event sign ordinance for nonprofit organizations.
County leaders decided then to allow the club to finish the shoot but also agreed to change an existing ordinance to require permits for turkey shoots in coming years.
"We have not accomplished an ordinance amendment," said Jeff Browning, the county's planning director, who has inspected the new site. "We are going forward with this particular turkey shoot on the assumption that their changing geography will eliminate the problem they had with the neighborhood."
Browning said the club will get this year's permit based on adequate parking, safety precautions and the proximity to residences.
"We have already looked at the site, and there is only one or two residents in any kind of proximity, and I think one of them is the property owner," Browning said.
Club President Terri Gibbs-Daughtry doesn't anticipate any problems this year, but she does hope to hand out plenty of turkeys, hams, slabs of bacon and sausage prizes at the popular family event.
"I have already had people calling me asking where it is going to be," she said. "People look forward to it. We have new people every year, and we have the regulars that come every year. We look forward to it.''
The turkey shoots will begin at 7 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night until Dec. 18. The club provides short-range bird shot but does not provide the shotguns, former club President David Daughtry said.
A single shoot, which costs between $3 and $5 depending on the prize, consists of shooting at 10 targets, not actual turkeys. Gibbs-Daughtry said the club holds 18 to 26 shoots per night.
The turkey shoot is the club's biggest fund-raiser, providing more than $85,000 in the past 10 years as donations to Lions Club charities, including the group Leader Dogs for the Blind, Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind, other sight-related organizations, and scholarships and savings bonds to area schools.
Gibbs-Daughtry said the shoot raises between $8,000 and $14,000 each year, with every penny donated, including $50 savings bonds for children at Grovetown and Euchee Creek Elementary schools and a scholarship for a Harlem High School student.
"The turkey shoot is our biggest fund-raiser of the year, although we'll have a lot of new things coming this year," Gibbs-Daughtry said. "We are working on some ideas for some other things in this year. We are hoping to get involved in some more things, ones that would help people know who we are."
Anyone is welcome to shoot for prizes.
Gibbs-Daughtry said the shoot is a family affair between grandfathers, fathers and sons.
"People really enjoy this," she said.
Photo by Donnie FetterKen Hitchcock helped his son Jamie, 9, of Grovetown, aim during last year's Grovetown Lions Club turkey shoot.
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