The Delano Sportsmen’s Club is one of the oldest organizations of it’s kind in the state, having been established about 1898 as the Delano Gun Club. In those days the club was made up of the community elite and activities consisted mostly of hunting raccoons and training outstanding dogs. Trap shooting soon became one of the club’s major activities as well.
As the years went by, it became evident that conservation of the environment and wildlife was necessary to preserve the community’s heritage and future well-being, so the club gradually became involved in activities promoting this. The club was largely responsible for governmental action prohibiting the unregulated dumping by industries and others into the Crow River.
In 1937 the club changed it’s name to the Delano Sportsmen’s Club, as a broader membership base was desired. Membership in the club in the early days seldom exceeded 25 members. A spurt in the club membership occurred in the early 1940’s, when as many as 175 members were listed. But with World War II, and throughout the ’50s,’60s, and ’70s, membership seldom exceeded 100 members.
With the building of the new clubhouse in 1974 and the new traphouse in 1985 and constant improvement of the range facilities, including the shooting shelter in 1987, membership has now reached over 500 members.
Some projects of the club have included winter feeding of pheasants, raising pheasant chicks for restocking, and annual planting of evergreen tree plots for habitat improvement. The club also has provided a Firearm Safety course since 1955, and a Bowhunter Safety course since 1991.
The club also provides financial support to many organizations; National Wildlife Federation, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Freshwater Society, TIP, and many others. The club financed as well as provided labor to build a new public access on Lake Sarah and also on Dean Lake. Club trapshooters have raised about $50,000.00 for the Variety Heart Club Children’s Hospital at the University of Minnesota. The club has also donated $1,000.00 in 1990 to get the Wright County 4-H Shooting Sports program going.