DNR: Public shooting ranges on rise in southern areas

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Dane County range to maintain its public-access hours

MADISON, Wis. – The state’s shooting sport expert says new Department of Natural Resources leases at private shooting ranges with continued public access at a Dane County-owned range means more target practice time for shooters and hunters.

Keith Warnke, DNR’s coordinator of hunting and shooting sports, says the department’s partnerships with range operators is an effective and efficient way to support Wisconsin’s shooting sports enthusiasts.

“This is especially true in southern Wisconsin where there are few public ranges and a high population density,” Warnke said. ” For example, Dane County has the most hunters of any county in the state, but does not have a public shooting range.”

Two ranges add public hours

  • North Bristol Sportsman’s Club, near Sun Prairie in Dane County, has rifle and pistol ranges. Public hours are the first, third and fourth Saturdays of the month, April through August. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Lake Delton Sportsman’s Club, in Sauk County near Wisconsin Dells, is open to the public 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Dane County Law Enforcement Training Center Range

Thanks to the continuing project agreement between the Wis. Department of Natural Resources and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, the public will have weekend access to the Dane County Law Enforcement Training Center Range near Waunakee from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends through October 30 for a $10 fee per person per day. November 5-18 the range will be open daily for hunter sight-in for the same cost.

Target stands are provided. As with other shooting venues, shooters should bring their own eye and ear protection, as well as ammunition for their firearm.

Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. A minor must be at least 12 years old and present proof of enrollment or completion of the DNR Hunter Safety Program in order to shoot at the range.

The Dane County Law Enforcement Training Center is located at 5184 Hwy 19 in the Town of Westport, one mile east of the intersection of Hwy 113 and County Trunk I.

This particular county-state partnership is now in its fourth successful year, Warnke says. “The range is supported with excise taxes paid by hunters, shooters and the sporting industry to provide access and opportunity.”

Funds for these partnerships come from the Pittman-Robertson Act, which places a 10 to 11 percent excise tax on firearms and ammunition. These funds, generated by hunters and shooters, support wildlife restoration and shooting sports.

Wisconsin has hundreds of thousands shooters and hunters, and interest in shooting sports is growing. “Providing safe, high-quality places to shoot is a top priority for the department,” Warnke said. “With many hunting seasons opening in September, summer shooting provides hunters with a chance to sharpen their marksmanship.”

Find a shooting range near you from this link.