Northfield Turkey Shoot returns Sunday

  • Residents line up at the shooting range at the Davis Gravel Pit for last year’s Turkey Shoot. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Competitors and family spectators enjoy a cool fall morning during last year’s Turkey Shoot. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Participants of the Northfield Fire Department’s second annual Junior Firefighters Day stand in full gear as they observe how construction materials burn for part of the day’s training. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/2/2019 5:52:23 PM

NORTHFIELD — A shot at winning a turkey is on the line when the Northfield Fire Department’s annual Turkey Shoot returns Sunday, running weekly through October.

“It takes some skill, but mostly luck,” said Northfield Fire Chief Floyd “Skip” Dunnell III.

Starting at 9 a.m. and going until finished, the friendly competition is held at the Davis Gravel Pit and is open to anyone and all ages. The gravel pit is located at the access road off Route 10 near the Connecticut River bridge, and signs will be placed along the road to guide drivers.

Each round consists of up to 25 people and 25 targets, with a single shot fired per target. The number of rounds for the day depends on attendance, Dunnell said. Participants register on-site when they arrive and can purchase shells, provided by the Fire Department, for $1.50 per shot.

Firing from 50 feet down range, competitors hope to hit closest to their target’s crosshair. After each round of shooting, the targets are retrieved and brought to the judging table for review.

“I’m usually the judge,” Dunnell said. “If two shots are really close we will have a shoot off, which does happen occasionally.”

A turkey is the top prize for the participant with the best shot. Money raised from the annual Turkey Shoot helps the Fire Department to purchase equipment. Dunnell said the Turkey Shoots usually raise between $600 to $800 after the cost of shells and prize turkeys are accounted for.

The event was originally run by the Northfield Lions Club, Dunnell said. But nearly 15 years ago, the Fire Department partnered with the club to host the Turkey Shoot as a way to raise money for the department’s Jaws of Life — hydraulic rescue tools used by emergency personnel to assist vehicle extrication of crash victims. A few years after the original partnership, the Lions Club asked the Fire Department to take over the event.

Now, the annual Turkey Shoot brings in families every Sunday of October for a morning out in the fresh air. Coffee and hot chocolate will be served, and Dunnell said firefighter Scott Milton will supply food.

Junior Firefighters Day

Last week, the Fire Department held its second annual Junior Firefighters Day. Firefighter Amanda Dunnell said several young Northfield residents took part in the day of instructional exercises.

“It was a day of hands-on training that will hopefully lead to future careers as firefighters,” she said.

The juniors observed how construction materials burn, participated in a small muster competition, and learned search techniques in a smoked out building with full gear and tanks.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.


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