Florida's Babcock-Webb shooting range hours to change; public input sought
In maintaining its commitment to a high standard of safety at the public shooting range in the Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Charlotte County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) is soliciting comment on needed adjustments to the hours the range is open to the public.
The Babcock-Webb shooting facility is the most popular of the FWC’s seven public ranges in the state, hosting more than 60,000 shooters last year. With its growing popularity, having a sufficient number of range safety officers on duty at peak-use times is central to the safety of shooters using the range, and it is the main reason for having to adjust its hours of operation.
As part of its process, the FWC is soliciting public comments on an adjustment proposal made by the Babcock-Webb Shooting Range Working Group. This group is composed of agency staff and local shooters who use the Babcock-Webb range. The FWC established the group several years ago to provide input on a variety of issues concerning management of the shooting range, one of which is public safety.
Presently, the range is open from sunup to sunset except for Mondays and Thursdays, when it opens at 10 a.m., after cleaning. It is also closed on Christmas, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after Thanksgiving until noon.
The working group submitted for public comment and suggestions the following proposal for changes to the hours of operation.
- During Daylight Saving Time the range would be open on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. On Mondays and Thursdays the range would be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- During Eastern Standard Time, the proposal is to operate the range on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. On Mondays and Thursdays the range would be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Closed days would include New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, the Friday after Thanksgiving until noon and Christmas.
“We don’t anticipate the new proposed operating hours will significantly affect those who use the range, but we’d like to have as much information about the public’s preferences before a final decision is made,” said John Weatherholt, FWC Hunter Safety Administrator for the Southwest Region.
Please go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/webbrange to register your comments.