Brian Beattie

Local children helping to boost wood duck population



By Ron Giofu


Members of the AMA Sportsmen Association are reporting seeing evidence there is a growing number of wood ducks in the area and local children have helped with that.

The club’s annual wood duck box building day was held last Saturday morning with about 41 children along with their parents and grandparents turning out to build 40 boxes. The number of children was about the same as it was in 2017.

Local children helped to build wood duck boxes last Saturday at the AMA Sportsmen Association. Most of the 41 children who attended show their boxes.

“They range anywhere from six months to 16-years-old,” said Brian Beattie, AMA Sportsmen Association member and also a member of the club’s conservation committee.

Beattie pointed out that 14 grandfathers gathered a few days before to prepare for the assembly day.

“We cut out all of the wood for the boxes,” commented Beattie. “It was like a kit for them to put together.”

The wood duck boxes were taken home by some children with others leaving them at the club so that members could put them up around the community. Beattie said some wood duck boxes on the AMA Sportsmen Association property need replacing while others will be taken to local marshlands.

Nash and George Garant work together to create one of the 40 wood duck boxes that were built at the AMA Sportsmen Association last weekend.

“They last about ten years, then they have to be replaced,” he said.

Beattie added there is a noticeable difference in the wood duck population, pointing out that they like to nest in trees that are rotting out or in the boxes. The boxes are deep so that raccoons can’t reach in and get at the eggs with metal plates being screwed on near the box openings to further deter raccoons.

Those who maintain the wood duck boxes, including those who installed them in marshlands, report cleaning out egg shells every year, a sign that more and more wood ducks are hatching and going into the wild.

Justine Varney helps daughter Rylee construct their wood duck box.

The AMA Sportsmen Association is planning a similar event March 3, only with bat boxes. The bat box assembly day will also start at 10 a.m. with Beattie explaining that the bat boxes are smaller and flatter than a wood duck box. There are also more places bat boxes can be installed, he added, noting that bats are good because they eat mosquitoes.

The club’s conservation committee gets $2,000 per year, Beattie said, with plans for next year calling for wood duck box construction as well as boxes for screech owls.

What’s happening at the AMA Sportsmen Association this winter



Construction to the back of the clubhouse at the AMA Sportsmen Association is almost complete, adding more storage and clearing the back hall of clutter.

The archery program is continuing every Monday from now to April and is going very well with up to 40 kids and up to 20 adults shooting each week.

Our 2018 3-D season kicks off with the first of five shoots on our annual “Big Buck Sunday” March 11. Anyone wishing to have a set of horns measured can bring them to the club on this day. There will also be local vendors and fellow sportsmen displaying and selling their goods.

The air rifle program every Wednesday is doing well with up to 30 shooters coming out regularly. The annual “turkey shoot” took place Jan. 17 and this event had 175 shooters from age three to grandparents.

Euchre is still being played every Friday at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Again this year, the AMA Sportsmen are showing their commitment to conservation by making 40 wood duck nesting boxes and 40 bat boxes. The club is asking for the help of the boys and girls from the club and community to assemble these boxes. It is a fun day to learn a little about building and the importance of preserving wood ducks and bats.

The wood duck boxes are to be assembled Feb. 3 starting at 10 a.m. and the bat boxes assembly day is March 3 at 10 a.m. Lunch will be provided for all helpers on both days.

The AMA Longbeards, our local chapter of the Canadian Wild Turkey Federation, is holding its first banquet Feb. 10. There are still a limited number of tickets available for this event. Call Brian at 519-736-2221 for tickets.

On Feb. 17, there is a chicken wing dinner from 5-7 p.m. You can either eat in or get take-out. After you eat this dinner, you will not have to stop for a burger on the way home.

March 10 at the club is the seasonal Easter Craft Sale with 30 local vendors displaying and selling their crafts from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Our annual pot luck dinner this year is March 24 at 6 p.m. Tickets will be going on sale soon so get your tickets early because this event is a sell-out every year.

Plans have begun for this year’s 35th annual Walleye Tournament, which will run June 22-30. The wrap-up party is July 1. The Bob Meloche Kids Fishing Derby is Father’s Day, June 17.

As always, every Saturday, lunch is available at the club from 12 noon-2 p.m.

So what are you waiting for? With all of these events, there is something for everyone so visit the AMA Sportsmen Association at 468 Lowes Side Road. Anyone with questions can call the club at 519-736-5706 and leave a message. The call will be returned.

People can also visit us on Facebook or check out our website at Hope to see you there!


—Prepared by Brian Beattie

Action picking up at AMA Sportsmen Association


Special to the RTT

The last 3D archery shoot for the 2017 season was held last Sunday and it was a beautiful sunny, warm day.

This brought out 40 shooters from ten-years-old to seniors. They came out to shoot for fun or to prepare for the upcoming hunting season. Their reasons were not as important as getting out for some fresh air and exercise walking through the trail and taking a shot at the 30 life-sized targets.

Meanwhile, back at the clubhouse, a fine lunch was prepared that was enjoyed by the shooters and anyone else who dropped by. Also at the club, some of the members and a local archery dealer brought out some of their gently used hunting gear to sell or trade with people who attended. There were guns, traps, fishing gear, decoys, hunting stents, arrows, bows and too many other things to list.

Our 2018 3D season will start with a shoot on “Big Buck Sunday” in March 2018. Watch this paper for the date or come out and see us at the club.

The AMA Sportsmen are getting ready to open their doors once again for this year’s kids archery season, which starts Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. We welcome all kids from 7-16 to learn the sport of archery. At 8 p.m., anyone over 16 can shoot, If you don’t have your own bow and arrow, don’t worry as we have lots of bows and arrows. If you have never shot before, don’t worry as we will attempt to teach you.

If archery is not for you or your kids, come to the club Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. to try the sport of air rifle shooting. This is for children seven and older and, of course, adults come out to give it a shot or two. All guns, pellets, safety equipment and supervision is supplied.

Bob Dube, the long time chair of the air rifle program is stepping down this season. Bob will be missed and we thank him for his leadership.

On Nov. 18, the club is hosting a craft show with 30 local crafters displaying and selling their crafts. Watch this paper for times or call us at the club.

Euchre has started again on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

There are 15 members of the AMA Sportsmen Association working on forming a local chapter of the Canadian Wild Turkey Federation. This group will be holding an annual banquet to raise funds and will be involved in educating the people in the area about the care and management of the wild turkeys in Essex County. They will also being doing some work in the area helping to supply a healthy habitat for our wild turkeys.

Speaking of turkey, we hope you can join us Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. for a deep fried turkey dinner. These are not wild turkeys.

So what are you waiting for? Get out this fall and visit the AMA Sportsmen Association at 468 Lowes Side Road. With all these events, there is something for everyone. If there are any questions, call the club at 519-736-5706 and leave a message. Someone will call you back.

The public can also visit the club on Facebook or check out our website at

See you there!


—Prepared by Brian Beattie

“Big Buck Sunday” held at AMA Sportsmen Association



By Ron Giofu


A long-standing tradition continued March 12 at the AMA Sportsmen Association.

The club held its “Big Buck Sunday” event, something club member Brian Beattie said has been happening for the last 18 or 19 years.

While antlers were measured and scored, it wasn’t just about the “biggest buck.” A variety of vendors were brought in with anything from ATV’s to hunting equipment as well as lures, taxidermy, blankets, knitting, food and wood carvings among other things.

Six-month-old Eli Callja enjoys his view from a seat of an ATV.

Six-month-old Eli Callja enjoys his view from a seat of an ATV.

“We open the room to vendors,” said Beattie. “A lot of these vendors have been here for a while.”

There is no charge for vendors for the annual event, he added.

The day also coincided with the first 3-D shoot of the season, an event where animal replicas with targets are laid out on a piece of nearby land and arrows are shot into them. A perfect score is 300 with awards such as patches and pins handed out for scorers who approach it.

Big Buck Sunday offered a wide variety of vendors.

Big Buck Sunday offered a wide variety of vendors.

“You’ve got to be able to judge the distance to get an accurate shot,” said Beattie. “It’s a fun thing.”

There were 52 shooters including about 15 children in the 3-D shoot. An additional 60 came for breakfast.

The next 3-D shoots are April 9, May 28, Aug. 20 and Sept. 24.

“Big Buck Sunday”is a tradition that looks to be continuing well into the future.

“We’ll continue as long as everyone comes out and enjoys themselves,” Beattie stated.

AMA Sportsmen Association gets building again, this time for Eastern Bluebirds



By Ron Giofu


The AMA Sportsmen Association teamed with local children to help increase the population of wood ducks last month and now they’re trying to do the same for the Eastern Bluebird.

Like they did for the wood ducks, 40 boxes were built for the Eastern Bluebird Saturday morning by club members along with children and their families.

Mike Wilcox helps daughter Hannah build an Eastern Bluebird box last Saturday morning at the AMA Sportsmen Association. Looking on is son Kale.

Mike Wilcox helps daughter Hannah build an Eastern Bluebird box last Saturday morning at the AMA Sportsmen Association. Looking on is son Kale.

“We’ve got two styles of boxes,” explained Brian Beattie, the club member who helped organize the conservation project. “Both boxes are very similar.”

Five of the boxes that were assembled were from the Canadian Wildlife Federation while the remainder were from the association itself. Each box was sent home with an instruction sheet on how and where to install them.

The Eastern Bluebird boxes were smaller than the wood duck boxes and can go in a backyard, Beattie said, though the ideal location is in a hedgerow between two fields where it is quieter.

“It can either go on a pole or in a tree,” said Beattie.

The population of Eastern Bluebirds is dwindling, he added, hence the need to assemble boxes so they can lay their eggs and expand the number of birds.

Beattie added the club was happy with the turnout last Saturday morning as they had no trouble finding enough children to assemble the 40 boxes. The next conservation project will be next spring, he continued, and could be owl boxes or bat houses. Beattie said he hopes to get $2,000 from the club’s youth fund for conservation projects.

Bryson McLam and Maddy Bull show the types of Eastern Bluebird boxes that were constructed.

Bryson McLam and Maddy Bull show the types of Eastern Bluebird boxes that were constructed.

The youth fund comes mainly from the bar at the AMA Sportsmen Association, Beattie pointed out. None of the bartenders take tips and instead any money designated for tips goes into a donation box to fund youth activities at the club.

The AMA Sportsmen Association is located at 468 Lowes Side Road and their website is