Tavistock Rod and Gun Club
Milestones in our club history

A group of outdoor sportsman from the Tavistock area formed an association in 1967.
The idea of a sportsman club was first talked about while a group of local Tavistock hunters was returning from a wild game supper in Pontiac Michigan. This group``put out the word`` that if anybody was interested in forming a sportsman club, there was going to be a meeting in the Memorial hall in Tavistock  on January 23 1967. Forty people attended this meeting and the Tavistock Rod and Gun Club was formed. The first election of officers was also held that same night. The first executive was formed with the following members:

President: Ed Pellow
1st Vice President:  Ray Yungblut
2nd Vice President: Wayne Stere
Secretary: Bill Glandfield
Treasurer: William Mathies

General meetings were held the fourth Thursday of each month at the Tavistock Legion, also executive meetings were held the second Thursday of each month in the back dining room of the Tavistock Oxford Hotel. The executive meetings would prove very exciting during some meetings, as one member brought a prize pheasant into the hotel , where it promptly decided to fly into the hotel`s exhaust fan , thus ,this bird is still being remembered by some members to this day, and talk of the club needing it`s own property was under way.
Herb Clark and Floyd Sippel (game warden and deputy game warden) wrote the clubs first by-laws in 1967, most of which is still being followed today. The by-laws structure was adapted from the Oxford Fish and Game Sportsman Club.

The year 1967 also brought the first major fund raiser for the club, which is still being carried on fourĀ times each year, the ``Fish Fries``, a social gathering as much as a fund raiser was first held at the Tavistock ball park, with Floyd Sippel and Herb Clark organizing.

The following year it was held at Willow lake (hwy. # 59) and the third year at the current property site, bottom of the hill. Each of these fish fries were cooked over charcoal in a makeshift cement block barbecue, after which Bob Ross made the first electric burner for these events.  Also at the first fish fry, the original fish batter created by Herb Clark, who passed the recipe onto Floyd Sippel for a number of years and then it was passed onto Bob Wettlaufer who still holds the secret of the recipe to this day, it has been reported that more than one club member has` enjoyed the left over fish batter` during the clean up after these events.
In 1967 the club dues were set at a yearly rate of $5.00 per member. The Tavistock Legion rental fee was $4.00 per meeting.

Also in 1967 the club staged a costume ball, with Gordon Pittick being the judge for the event.
The club purchased the current property in 1968, from then owner Ed Bartlet (Ed purchased the property previously from Otto Rounds). Before the original property was severed into small lots, the property consisted of 200 acres being used as a horse farm, the 200 acres included properties now north of the club property. Ed Pellow, Floyd Sippel and Bill Bannerman signed the club loan agreement with the bank . 
Cost of the property was $ 4100. for the 31 acres.

Club members whose name appears on the property deed are:
Floyd Sippel
Lester Zehr
Murray Waymouth
Jim Stock
Earl Cowen
Ray Yungblut
Tom Kittmer
Ed Pellow
Edgar Dennis
William Stock

The area was mostly covered with thorn trees and bush, which had to be cleared to open up the property, on one occasion while burning thorn bushes a gas can caught on fire which caused alot of excitement during this event. It has been reported that club member Ray Yungblut, while crossing the back creek (of course there was no bridge at that time,only a log across the water) was the first to test the quality and depth of the creek water.

The laneway and building site was part of the current hill, the club and the township` made a deal` to level off the laneway and building site in exchange for the `fill` to upgrade the current road, this was done by Bill Smith.
The first pigtail supper that the club put on was held at the Tavistock Legion in 1968. Inquiring when the supplier of the food could handle the meal, the club was informed that the only time available was in two weeks, so all the club members pitched in and had tickets printed and sold, hall and supplies booked and event organized within those two weeks, it was a great success which is still enjoyed as a yearly function today.

Other events taking place in the early years were snowmobile races `by the clock` on the club grounds, pheasant hunts, fishing trips to Lake Nipissing,(and yes, during one such trip the supply boat really did float away), chartered fishing day trips to Port Rowan, with a school bus being rented for the trips to Port Rowan. It has been reported that on one occasion a club member (who was driving the bus) was pulled over on the highway by his wife where she promptly escorted him to her waiting vehicle.

1969 saw the first rifle range and trap shoot area established. Wayne Stere, club president at the time went to and received township counsel approval. The rifle range included an earth back stop with side timbers and the trap release station was an old dump truck box.

Dances were also started in 1969 with one or two `snowball` dances per year. Wine and cheese parties were also put on during the year. Another yearly event was `farmers night`, this event was held to show appreciation to the land owners where the club members hunted. The dinner was usually a Pheasant dinner and was well attended. In 1975 this event had it`s name changed to landowners night.

The club building was started in 1971. Bob Wettlaufer and Floyd Sippel signed the club loan agreement with the bank for the $4,388. needed to buy materials to construct the building. The original structure was a poll barn design, with this phase costing $ 3,200. Materials for this was supplied by Kintore box, Lovey`s of Hickson donated the panelling and George Wilhelm took charge of building construction.  All members participated in the building construction, with much of the material arriving at the` back door` with no cost to the club.

Club functions were now conducted at the new club house including euchre parties, dinners, fun nights, and also monthly club meetings, where most often a guest speaker would attend.

Landscaping was another large event that would take place over the next few years.  Murray Waymouth started the grass cutting with his own lawnmower, soon to be joined by Razor Bronk , in later years club members would bring their lawnmowers and cut grass for about an hour and a half before each club meeting. Murray Waymouth became the property chairman and with lots of help from the membership started activties including cutting hawthorns with chainsaws, after which Murray would pull stumps with his tractor to start  levelling trails through the bush for snowmobile riding. Many trees were planted in the early 70`s, starting with the locations at the bottom of the hill, the north end of the property and along the driveway . Many of these trees were donated by Tavistock Nursery, club members replaced the hawthorns with the donated Red maple and Ash trees.
The back eleven acres of club property was planted with trees as well as the club planting six acres of trees for the neighbour( north side, Dave Rae)

This continued to expand from 1973 to 1980 with the club planting trees throughout the neighbourhood, trees were available at that time from the M.N.R., and later ,1981 to 1983, from the St. Williams forestry centre. The crew used Murray Waymouth`s custom plow and tree planter to accomplish this yearly community event.Also Bob Etue thinned every third row of the eleven acres of tree`s from the back of the property.

Club members were now enjoying the expanded grounds and many group picnic`s and get togethers were being held. Club members could book the property for different events, one such event was the yearly C.N. picnic which produced through donation, the current target storage shed ( a one time scale house from the railroad, installed by Murray Waymouth and Eugene Kittmer) and as well as` 24 Sussex Drive`.Not to be outdone with 24 Sussex Drive, Bob Etue at a cost of $20.00 and two day`s work, installed the `official opposition` along side the shooting range.
During the 1970`s and early 1980`s the club also was involved with an information booth in Tavistock, sharing information for both conservation and club events.

The water well was drilled in 1974, 136 feet deep and at a club cost of $1088. Neil Steimen was the well driller
In the 1970`s another club fund raiser was started, a beer tent at the Tavistock fall fair.
In 1978 the current trap shooting station was brought in. Bob Ross built the current  trap house as club members were getting a `rust shower` being inside the old dump box.

Also in 1978 the club Charter was established by Floyd Sippel
In 1979 membership to the O.F.A.H. began March 26 at a cost of $536.90 per year. Also in 1979 improvements were made to the club house,cupboards were built and installed by Bob Wettlaufer and electrical updates were done by Bob Ross

The early 1980`s saw more improvements made to the club house and the grounds.
The pond was dug by machinary supplied by Bob Mathies, and the back grass was seeded down and surrounding area landscaped.

During the fall of 1981 and spring of 1982 , the steel bridge was constructed and installed over the back creek, at it`s present location.The steel I beams were `donated`, (three beams having to be cut and welded into two) and the steel mesh was purchased, Jamie Fitzgerald and Murray Waymouth were organizers of this event, with many club members helping. During installation of one of the main support beams, Stan Thomas, Ken Kipling and Ken Gimbel picked up one end of the beam and Ray `Razor` Brunk picked up the other end by himself.

The early 1980`s also saw the start of inter-club trap shooting events held between the Tavistock club and clubs from Mitchell, Kippen, Oxford and Gadshill associations.
Wiring was installed to the current trap house, work and materials was donated by Warren Graff, Murray Waymouth and John McNally.

Trap shooting was held Wednesday evenings during the summer and Sunday afternoons during the winter.
The rear expansion to the club house was constructed in 1984 with the roof and steel being completed in one day.

Grass cutting was still being done by club members and their lawnmowers, one eventful day saw Murray Waymouth being called upon to drive Jamie Fitzgerald and his `big toe` to the Stratford general hospital for a 10 day visit, during which time Jamie`s toe was re-acquainted with his foot. Club members, lead by Floyd Sippel put on a fund raiser to support Jamie while he was on the`hop`.

The late 1980`s saw the re-building of the creek, in partnership with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. Bob Mathies trucked in fill and supplied the Hi-Hoe for this job, the creek was re-built on both sides to each property line. The club donated $ 3,500 and the community fishing enviroment program contributed $ 5,400 to this event.The club also was re-stocking the creek with rainbow trout for the next five years, 1987 to 1992.

Family time was also a high priority during these years , with winter tobogganing and skating parties being held, many of which included meals in the club house. Bob Mathies was our first contractor for snow removal.

Monthly club meetings also featured many guest speakers for a variety of interests, including talks on homing pigeons,race horses, investments, wild turkey, M.N.R. and the upper thames river conservation authority.

Club membership during this time was usually between 40 and 65 members with membership high`s in the late
1990`s being 112 members.

The club has also made considerable donations over the years to community projects and organizations, including the 150th Tavistock anniversary, Harrington Ball Park, Bruce Peninsula Sportsman Association`s fish release program, Tavistock Minor Hockey,the new Tavistock Arena building fund ($2,000), Ducks Unlimited(1983-1990),  Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from Embro, Hickson and Kintore, and funded a sponsorship for the Wild Turkey Association.

1988 was the year that Archery became a formal activity at the club.
Dan MacKenzie , Terry MacKenzie and Ron Huffman were the leaders in the early years, these and other members were attending other club sponsored bow shoots , they asked for and received permission from the club to start our own club shoots. Again the club members pitched in and developed the target range for archery that is in place today. The club became affiliated with the Ontario Association of Archers, and in the fall of 1988 started the first of two yearly club shoots that were open to the public.
The club donated 20 targets for these events , with about 40 to 50 people attending, after two years the tournaments were paying for themselves with attendance getting as high as over 100 people. Today`s events include tournament classes for traditional, limited and non-limited, as well as men, ladies and children classes.
Two club trophies came out of the Archers group. The Dan MacKenzie Memorial Trophy for archer of the year and the Jeremy Whaling Memorial Trophy for Volunteer of the year .
The annual February meeting also was reserved for a euchre tournament with members playing for the Floyd Sippel trophy.

September 26, 1992 brought to the club our 25th anniversary celebration, with Jamie Fitzgerald and Larry Haynes organizing a pig roast at a cost of $5.00 per person. A large party tent was set up on the lower flats and a good time was had by all.

The club officially took over the Harrington Kids Fishing Derby in 1992, after the M.N.R. stocking of the Harrington pond program was discontinued. John McCaffery organizied this event, complete with food and prizes for the kids, which is still held on the opening day of trout season.
A couple of high lights in 1994 saw the archery group hold a shoot at the club in May which resulted in 142 Archers at the shoot and a club profit of $ 1200.00.
A new 24 Sussex Drive was constructed by Charlie Ledrew and Jim Salisbury.

Over the years a few club members have made a special effort to get to know the local snake population just a little better. Burns Holden and the` trap house snake`, Warren Graff and the` retaining wall snake`, and Keith Jacobs and Robert Stock with the `railroad tie` snake, will go down as true rod and gun club folklore, some things are better left to be explained by the actual people at these events.

Through out the club years, the property chairman has played a very important part to the club history, keeping the day to day up keep of the club in working order and the organizing of the spring and fall work days. Stan and Steve Thomas, Paul and Dave Fulton, Keith Jacobs and Robert Stock are just some members in a long line of volunteers. Stories of falling off the roof when clearing snow, barrels `rolling` into the pond, the lawnmower and trailer almost being part of the same pond are part of the club history that cannot be forgotten.

Other events happening in the late 1990s saw the back cement floor poured in 1996 at a cost of $900.
The cement retaining wall to the east side of the club house was poured in April of 1999 at a cost of $ 8,000.  Warren Graff, Jack Massey, Robert Stock and Keith Jacobs were the organizers for this event with Nicholson Concrete doing the contracting work.
1999 also saw another first at the club, a wedding ceremony featuring club member Bill Ellis and his new bride Ruth-Ann.

Also in the late ninties Jim Salisbury started Hunter Safety courses, F.A.C. / P.A.C courses and firearm safety courses at the club.

The year 2000 brought the harvesting of the forest in the back part of the property, which was planted 25 years previously. White pine (90% and norway spruce 10%) were logged out, which changed the club zoning from residential to farm use.

2001 was the year the rifle range was updated, with the Stratford hand gun club affiliated with the Tavistock rod and gun club. The Stratford Rifle and Revolver club donated @ $15,000 to bring the rifle range up to new province wide standards. The new range was also expanded to 150 yards and included provisions for hand gun use. Jim Salisbury and Robert Stock were the main organizers for the construction of the project.


Ed Pellow - 67, 68, 82
Bill Bannerman - 69
Floyd Sippel - 70, 71
Bill Wettlaufer - 72
Ray Brunk - 73, 74
Dave Oliphant - 75
Bob Wettlaufer - 76
Carl Huiser - 77
Ed Dennis - 78
Jim Stock - 79
Tom Kittmer - 80
Ken Kipling - 81
Eugene Kittmer - 83
Jamie Fitzgerald - 84
John Becker - 85,97,98,99,00
Warren Graff - 86
Bruce Waymouth - 87
Glen Coghlin - 88
Larry Haines - 89, 94
Steve Walker - 90
Bill Robertson - 91
Bob Etue - 92
Murray Waymouth - 93
John McCaffery - 95
Jim Salisbury - 96, 01
Dave Featherstone - 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10


Herb Clark
Dave Stock
Charlie Horton
Bill Stock
Floyd Sippel
Stan Thomas
Gordon Pittock
Bob Wettlaufer
Peter Grant
Ray Yungblut

Many people have contributed to this club project, a big thank you to all of you,

and a special thanks to Floyd Sippel, Bob Wettlaufer,Ray Yungblut, Stan Thomas and Murray Waymouth .


David Featherstone

December 26, 2001
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