Hunter Arms Homecoming Preserves Local History

Two men face the woods with shotguns
Jim Hunter and Les Weldin shoot at moving targets.

FULTON – Descendants of the original Hunter family, history buffs and L.C. Smith gun enthusiasts came together this weekend for the ninth annual Hunter Arms Homecoming.

Hunter Arms was a factory in Fulton from 1889 to 1949 and produced the famous L.C. Smith gun.

Each year the Friends of Fulton History host this group of people and display L.C. Smith guns at the J.W. Pratt House Museum on South First Street in Fulton.

The group also competes in a series of target shooting obstacles with the antique guns at the Pathfinder Fish and Game Club.

Jim and Teri Hunter, who live in Detroit, come out every year. Jim is the great grandson of James Conrad Hunter, one of the original six Hunter brothers, and is named after him.

“It’s heartfelt for us because it’s part of our roots, and to see all of these people that are interested and share this love of the L.C. Smith shotgun, and help preserve the family history so it goes beyond the family ties,” Teri said.

Jim has been visiting family in Fulton since he was born, and since he is the firstborn male of his family’s generation, his aunt gave him a dog upon his first visit – a long standing Hunter family tradition, and surprise to his parents.

Almost a decade ago, his family started a new tradition – coming back for Hunter Arms Homecoming.

Although their three children have not been able to make it each year, Teri said she hopes the whole family will come out for next year, the ten-year anniversary of the event.

Teri said after her oldest son, James Conrad Hunter III, graduated from college, he wanted to come up to Sterling, New York, to visit the old family farm before moving to Atlanta, Georgia.

Teri went with him and they stopped at the Pratt House to learn more about their family. There, they met Rich Byer, one of the founders of Hunter Arms Homecoming.

“He set us on this course and reconnected the Hunter family, started this organization,” Teri said. “It’s been such a positive relationship ever since, on both sides.”

Teri joked her family is not a big competitor in the target shooting, but support it and enjoy it greatly.

“We’re blessed because we get so many people telling us stories and learning about different things about olden days with our family that we don’t know about and the history behind it,” Jim said.

Here are the results of the shooting competition:

Skeet – 1st Place: Jent Mitchell 47/50 shots, 2nd Place: Tom Snyder Jr. 46/50 shots, 3rd Place: Terry Rickart 46/50 shots.

Trap – 1st Place: Frank Finch 39/50 shots, 2nd Place: J.D. Shank 39/50 shots, 3rd Place: Rich Ghenn 38/50 shots.

5-Stand – 1st Place: Tom Snyder Sr. 42/50 shots, 2nd Place: Jent Mitchell 41/50 shots, 3rd Place: Terry Rickart 38/50 shots.

Sporting Clays – 1st Place: Tom Snyder Jr. 38/50 shots, 2nd Place Rich Ghenn 37/50 shots, 3rd Place Thomas Mathias 37/50 shots.

High Gun – Tom Snyder Jr. 126/150 shots.

For further history and background on the Hunter Arms factory, L.C. Smith guns and Hunter Arms Homecoming, listen to Oswego County Today’s latest episode of Fulton, New York: A History.

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