Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Yo! The Lodge! Greetings, and welcome to the Sonoma Valley Muzzle Loader website. We hope this will help members of the shooting community get to know us. For now, the website will help keep members of the shooting community informed of club  shooting events sponsored by the SVML and other local clubs.

Christopher Chung/Press Democrat
Who We Are: Our membership includes men and women with a passion for shooting muzzle loading rifles, pistols, and shotguns as would be seen on the frontiers of 18th century America. In addition to shooting, many members share an appreciation for the historical accuracy of the firearms they use and the accessories, or accouterments, they carry. It is not unusual to see shooters in leather clothing made in the style of the Native Americans who shared the frontier. Others wear clothing in the style of the the working class who made their living at the edge of the frontier and had access to manufactured fabrics. 

Our Place In Time: Historically, our members share an affinity for the “Shining Time” which started shortly after the return of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806 and ended in the first half of the 1840s. John Colter, a member of the Corps of Discovery, left his comrades on the return voyage to become a “mountain man”, and would return to the mountains he just left to trap beaver for their valuable pelts. Colter’s Hell, the hot springs on the Shoshone River near Cody, Wyoming, was named after him. 

Shining Times: During its heyday, the Mountain Men would spend their time in the “High Lonesome”, trapping beaver and processing their hides. Once a year they would venture to the plains and bring their processed pelts, or plews, to a pre-determined meeting, or  Rendezvous, where merchants would exchange the plews for needed supplies such as flour, tobacco, gunpowder, lead, and whiskey. Amid the bartering, men who had lived in relative isolation had a chance to meet with old friends, share stories, and in many cases, to compete in contests of marksmanship. It is the camaraderie and friendly competition that best reflects the modern Rendezvous, just as it did in the nineteenth century.

Trading at the Pierre's Hole Rendezvous, by Clark Kelly Price. Order your copy here.

The Beginning Of The End: The Shining Times ended in the late 1830s as the demand for beaver pelts started to decline. Of the 15 annual meetings held, eight of the Rendezvous took place at a Green River site and five convened near the junction of Horse Creek and the Green River. Today, the main Rendezvous site, located near Pinedale, Wyoming is a National Historic Landmark. This is significant, because historically correct “buckskinners” (modern rendezvous participants) wear clothing and carry weapons and accessories (accouterments) that would have existed prior to 1840.  

Christopher Chung/Press Democrat
Get To Know Us: The April 11, 2016 edition of the Sonoma Index-Tribune ran a story about the SVML, and features some background information on the club and its activities.  Kevin Mccallum wrote an excellent article, photo illustrated by Christopher Chung of the Press Democrat. You can read the article by clicking here.

Additional information about upcoming events can be viewed by clicking the desired button in the site's side bar.