Wisconsin’s Columbia County welcomes first no-fee public shooting range in 20-plus years
Poynette, Wis. — For the first time in more than 20 years, southern Wisconsin target shooting enthusiasts will get a new, no-fee public shooting range on public land when the DNR opens the Columbia County Public Target Range on July 24.
DNR Secretary Dan Meyer will cut the ribbon at 10 a.m. to welcome all to the new facility at the Mud Lake Wildlife Area just off King Road – about halfway between Poynette and Rio. The public is invited.
The facility has 100- and 50-yard rifle ranges, a 50-yard shotgun patterning range, and a 25-foot pistol range. Earthen backstops and side berms and overhead baffles bound the shooting sheds to ensure everyone’s safety.
Funding for the range comes from the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds through the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration grant. That money come from an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Donations came from private partners, including the Columbia County Sporting Alliance and the Wisconsin River Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
“Promoting hunting, shooting sports and hunter safety is a long-standing objective within the Department of Natural Resources,” Meyer said. “This target range is one more element in meeting that goal.”
The facility’s construction completes the process that began in 2013 to establish a public shooting range in Columbia County. The Mud Lake Wildlife Area site was selected from sites in several other Columbia County wildlife areas following a process involving many partners in county and local government who formed a range advisory committee. The committee identified several possible sites, then held hearings, a comment period and conducted surveys before making its final recommendation to the DNR. The DNR then worked with the Department of Administration in building the range.