About WIU Sportsman: The WIU Sportsman Club is comprised of students who love spending time outdoors. During your time as a member you will get to enjoy various hunting and fishing trips that are established during meetings. We also as a club hold raffles and banquets in order to help support our foundation and enable us to keep the WIU Sportsman Club alive.
How to get involved: Every fall semester various clubs and intermural teams hold an open house in the Union Grand Ball Room. Which time incoming freshmen or transfer students can sign up for the team or club in which they desire. This is where I had the unique opportunity to sign up for the Sportsman Club, where you will put down your phone number and email address in order to inform you of meeting times, locations, changes, and other items of business. If for some reason you cannot attend the open house you can contact someone you know who is in the club. Or using Western’s home page and in the search bar type in Sportsman Club it will tell you when and where to meet, who is in charge, and how to contact them.
Meetings: Meetings are held on Thursdays every week, unless informed otherwise, generally around 6 p.m. either in Waggoner Hall room 202 or at Argyle Trap Range. The duration of the meetings is completely dependent on how much material we have to discuss, they can last 20 minutes or they can last up to an hour. The first meeting of the year is to cover the bases of what is needed to join; such things include a 20 dollar fee and a foid card if you are going to bring a firearm and ammunition. If you do not have a foid card the members of the club will be more than willing to help you obtain one. Because the storage of a firearm or ammunition is obviously prohibited on campus you might be wondering then where do we keep them if we want to bring our own? Some members of the club have apartments off campus that would be willing to shelter your firearm until the time you need it. I myself had to have the president of the club shelter my gun until we went on a hunt or to the trap range.
After the first meeting we discuss various things such as banquets in which the students of the club sell tickets in order to raise money for our club. At which time the participators of the banquet can win various prizes and enjoy a delightful meal. Also during the club meetings members organize hunting trips, fishing trips, and a raffle in order to further our funding for the club. On days that are nice out we tend to make our way out the trap range and get to shoot 25 rounds for 5 dollars. If you have your firearm at someone’s apartment they will bring it with them or you can use someone else’s gun, however you have to bring your own ammunition. Not everyone who joins the club is going to like both the hunting and fishing, as for me I joined for the hunting portion. While I do occasionally like to fish but when it comes between the two, hunting takes the top priority.
Hunting and Fishing Trips: Last year we were able to do a pheasant hunt that was located a couple of hours away from Western. Upon arrival of the place we were given instructions of what would happen and then proceeded to the hunting grounds. The man had several acres of upland game bird habitat and ran bird dogs to aid us in harvesting the pheasants. As shown from the pictures it was a rather successful and fun day. After the hunt was over we paid a portion of the fee and then the club covered the rest. We took the birds back with us, cleaned them and then divided them up between the members of the club.
Also from last year we were able to take a trip down to Missouri in order to go fly fishing. The club stayed at a cabin and had to purchase their own fishing license, pole, lures and waders if you were daring enough to plunge yourself into the cold water. The trip was for two days and again was successful in catching various amounts of fish. The club this year is looking to return to the pheasant grounds and is hopefully able to keep the good fortune alive. We are in the process now of organizing a hog hunt that is close enough to drive there in a reasonable amount of time and back so we do not have to miss much classroom time.
Banquet and Raffle: Every year in the month of September the club holds a banquet in which the members of the club are given tickets and are expected to sell them. As stated above during the banquet attendees can win various prizes, play unique games, and enjoy a delicious meal. Last year during the WIU AgMech show we were able to raffle off a brand new rifle. The club had its own booth in which spectators would come and buy tickets and then we drew their name out when the event was over. All of the money earned from both the banquet and the raffle goes towards our club funding in order for us to continue what we love to do. If you are wanting to find out more about our organization we do have a Facebook page. All you have to do is type in the search bar WIU Sportsman Club and you will be able to find what you are seeking for.
My name is Matt Nielsen, in the first picture I am second from the right, and am a senior here at Western. I am currently pursuing a degree in Agriculture Science and have had the unique opportunity to join the Sportsman Club here at Western.