Whitefish Rifle Club hosting shooters for 50 years

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DIRK BURKE peers through a sighting scope after his son Trevor fired a shot from his rifle Oct. 5 at the Whitefish Rifle and Pistol Club hunter annual sight-in. Club members, from right, Dave Landstrom and Justin Beauregard were part of the team that assisted hunters as they prepared for the upcoming big game season. The club will host another sight-in Oct. 19-20. (Scott Shindledecker/Daily Inter Lake)

Flathead Valley shooters and gun enthusiasts have been going to the Whitefish Rifle & Pistol Club for half a century to enjoy the shooting sports.

The Club was formed in the late 1960s in the Skyles Lake area before moving to its current location on Rifle Range Road, off KM Ranch Road.

“My parents got it going,” said member Scott Svee.

Keith and Mary Svee were Scott’s parents, the ones with the foresight to start the club.

The club sits on 13 acres of leased property.

“The cost of land here so it’s critical for us to hold on to it,” Svee said. “It’s a good, safe place to shoot.”

The club hosted the first of two annual rifle sight-in events for hunters preparing for the upcoming big game season.

Non-members are charged a $5 fee, but it’s a small cost to know exactly where the bullet is headed when one pulls the trigger on a trophy elk or buck.

“Hunters that have passed the Hunter Education course for the first time can come to the club and sight in their rifles for free,” Svee said.

“When my dad saw this land, it was still heavily forested, but he immediately envisioned how it looks today,” Svee said. “Dave Morris did the CAT work for us and here wer are.”

Rifle shooters can fire at 100- and 300-yard targets while the pistol range was built to accommodate handguns, shotguns and even muzzleloaders.

The pistol range has a covered firing line with a distance of 50 yards.

The range has a total of 30 firing points, including 15 firing points for bullseye competition shooting.

The rifle range also has a covered firing line. There are 18 benches for rifle shooting at distances from 100–300 yards.

“As a courtesy to our neighbors do not permit the use of exploding targets, shooting skeet, .50 cal BMG rifles, and automatic weapons or rifles with bump stocks to be fired at our facility,” Svee said.

While the club is a private non-profit, it is always accepting members, which number 280.

“We promote the safe use and education of personal firearms,” Svee said. “Our membership is varied from the casual shooter to the tournament shooter. We have grandparents who bring their grand-children out to learn how to shoot to NRA certified instructors who train on firearm safety, reloading or even black powder shooting.”

The club meets bimonthly at the Florence Borgen 4H building at the Flathead County Fairgrounds in Kalispell. The months are January, March, May, July, September, November.

To ensure the security of the range, there is a locked gate. The gate lock is changed every year. To receive a key, you must submit a membership application with the annual membership fee to the club and attend a club orientation. The fee is $70 for individuals and $105 for husband and wife.

The range hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (or dark), Monday – Sunday, year round. There is no power or lights at the range.

The club is located at 323 Rifle Range Road, off KM Ranch Road.

For more information, go to the club’s website at http://wrpc.club/#!home, email at secwrp@gmail.com or call at 406-314-8149.

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