By Chris Frederking

[media-credit name=”bigstockphoto” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Man with gun[/media-credit]

As summer kicks off and the seasons change, there’s no better time to expand your horizons and try new things than right now. Chico’s Rod and Gun Club, located in Upper Bidwell Park, offers a wide variety of shooting classes and activities for everyone from first time shooters to long seasoned veterans. The range, originally built in the early 1950’s out of a barracks from the old Chico airport, is owned and operated by the members of the club, and has proudly served Butte county’s sportsmen, and women, of all ages ever since. Their indoor range offers practice shooting for the general public on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Monday of each month, as well as each Wednesday from 7-9pm year-round. I went out on a warm Wednesday in May to see what the Club had to offer and having never been to a range, really did not know what to expect. After a short drive, I arrived and was greeted warmly by the range master, Bruce Gray. He was very knowledgeable and made me feel right at home in no time at all. I met several of the members and enjoyed the general feeling of the clubs camaraderie. There were twelve lanes for shooting, the other members and I lined up and waited for the range masters instructions. After safety checks and an explanation of general regulations, we loaded up and had some fun. I met a kind woman named Julia Mattson, and she said that she has been a club member off and on for 30 years. By the looks of her targets, I could tell it had paid off. Another friendly member and talented marksman, Don G. even let me take a few shots with his semi-automatic .22 when I was getting low on ammunition. Whenever dealing with weapons of any nature, safety is the first priority. The Rod and Gun Club go to great lengths to ensure the safety and security of each and every one of their members and guests: cutting no corners when it comes to upholding the standards necessary to cultivate an exciting and enjoyable environment. If you have ever wanted to learn to shoot, this is a great place to do it: in a safe, comfortable, and judgment free environment. They offer classes for concealed, carry weapons, junior rifle indoor safety, women’s only pistol safety, general pistol safety, as well as hunters safety. If you, or someone you know would like to become a member, simply pay an annual $36 fee on the first of the year, fill out an application, and be prepared to have a good time. I would sincerely recommend for anyone with an adventurous spirit or inquisitive mind to come out and give the club a “shot,” and I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed. If you want more information, want to watch, or would like to try it your self, you can contact the club by phone at 530-894-1648 or visit them online at