DNR gets boost in efforts to improve public shooting ranges in Michigan – to the tune of $1.25 million

(Michigan DNR)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently approved a total of $1.25 million over a five-year period for the Michigan DNR to provide up to 75 percent of funding for improvements to partner shooting ranges throughout Michigan.

The DNR received these additional federal funds via the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (Pittman-Robertson Act), through which hunters and sport shooters who purchase firearms, ammunition, archery equipment or hunting licenses help fund wildlife management, habitat improvement, hunter education and shooting ranges in Michigan. The federal funds will be available to partner shooting ranges around the state to improve, expand or develop archery and firearm range facilities. Entities selected by the DNR for funding must provide the needed 25-percent matching funds for their project.

The initial phase includes a project in the western Upper Peninsula and one in the northern Lower Peninsula. Michigan Technological University in Houghton will upgrade the HVAC system at its existing indoor shooting range, improvements that will create a safe, fun indoor facility open to students and the public. The grant awarded to Ogemaw Hills Sportsmen Association will enable the club to develop an archery park in West Branch. Improvements will include upgrades to existing buildings to create an indoor archery range, classroom and clubhouse as well as outdoor archery opportunities.

There are more than 1.25 million target shooters in Michigan, according to a recent report on shooting sports participation, prepared for the National Shooting Sports Foundation by the National Sporting Goods Association.

In a report on the 15-year history of shooting sports participation, the foundation found that, nationally, participation in target shooting increased 28 percent – and 64 percent among women – from 2001 to 2015.

Archery continues to grow in popularity as well, the report shows. Total participation in archery target shooting increased by 77 from 2001-2015, female participation by 164 percent.

More than 300 Michigan schools currently offer the National Archery in the Schools Program for students in grades 4-12, and the program continues to expand. In 2016, the archery team from Michigan’s Hartland High School won first place in the National Archery in the Schools national tournament. In 2017, Hartland High School team won first place in the national IBO (International Bowhunter Organization) 3D Challenge.

To learn more about the DNR’s shooting ranges, other ranges around the state and the shooting sports, visit michigan.gov/shootingranges.

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