If you like to cast a line or spot an eight-point buck and live in the Las Vegas Valley, chances are you’ve heard of the Las Vegas Woods and Waters Club.
The group plans to host its 23rd annual Sportsman of the Year Awards and Banquet on March 1 at the South Point, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The event is open to the public. The Sportsman of the Year will be announced, along with Angler of the Year.
The club promotes outdoor activities such as fishing, archery and hunting.
“There are a lot of people who like to enjoy the outdoors, but a lot of people don’t know where to go, what to do,” said Mike Reese, the club’s treasurer and past president.
Woods and Waters was started in 1991 by sportsman Ken Johnson after he relocated to Las Vegas from Texas. He met up with other outdoorsmen, and the group was formally set up. It holds events every month except October and November, as many members are out of town on hunting trips.
Meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month. Presentations might cover bird seasons, how the fish are biting or information about an upcoming river float trip. An activity is usually slated for every month — archery, striper fishing at Lake Mead, dove hunts, pistol silhouette shoots, fly fishing, coyote calling outings and, in winter, ice fishing trips.
“When you join an organization such as ours, you have the luxury of volume,” Reese said. “If you were going to plan one trip yourself, whereas calling up somebody and doing a fishing trip for 12 people, you generally get a discount.”
Members sometimes bring their guns to events to show others. That’s how Reese came to handle a black powder gun for the first time. He liked it so much, he bought his own. It cost about $500. It’s purchases such as that, he said, where sportsmen help spur the economy.
“And you’ve got your hunters (buying) four-wheelers and RVs and boats,” he said.
In January, the group held a Three Gun Shoot event where members got to try out a pistol, a SWAT rifle and a fully automatic machine gun.
“We’re all hunters; we don’t get the opportunity to do that,” Reese said of firing the non-hunting weapons. “But if you went to that business, you’d pay about $120 to rent that, not including the ammo. But when you have 20 guys with you, it costs like five bucks.”
Club president Mike Taylor has been a member for 22 years. One of his favorite things to do is shoot trap. When he goes hunting, he said it’s for game birds such as quail, chukar, ducks and geese.
“I’ve been hunting well over 20 years, and usually there’s a lot of birds out there, but this drought we’ve had, it’s really cut back on how many birds there are,” Taylor said. “In fact, I’m not hunting them right now because they need to recoup. The numbers have dwindled considerably because of the drought. We’re conservationists, also, in that respect.”
The club puts out a newsletter called Game Bag, whose banner touts the group’s philosophy: “All we want to do is hunt and fish and talk about it.”
The newsletter points out that even though less than 6 percent of the population age 16 or older hunts or fishes, outdoorsmen spent $70 million in 2001, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The money, it said, went to wildlife conservation efforts.
“We have members who are on the board of directors of other coalitions, such as the Southern Nevada Coalition for Wildlife, Fraternity of (the) Desert Bighorn, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited. So a lot of our members aren’t just members of one organization but members of multiple ones,” Reese said.
Sean Cassidy, first vice-chairman, is an all-around sportsman, liking fresh and saltwater fishing and heading to the mountains to fish in streams.
“You can fish here locally at the Lake Mead and Lake Mohave facilities,” he said. “There’s great trout fishing. I find it within a 2-, 21/2-hour drive,” he said.
Reese estimated that the group has 125 family memberships. There is a one-time fee of $15 to join, then yearly dues are $48, which covers a steak fry/pig roast and an annual spring feast that features a shrimp and crawdad boil.
The group is not just about hunting. Cassidy said members have assisted in gathering and transplanting bighorn sheep into new areas and helped maintain guzzler water features for wildlife.
“Mostly what we do is support the core habitat groups … we provide physical and promotional support to their projects,” Cassidy said. “We’re kind of the melting pot of the specialty organizations.”
Doors for the March 1 event are set to open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $60.
For more information, visit lvwoodsandwaters.org or call Taylor at 702-245-2012 or Cassidy at 702-371-1612.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.