FORT WORTH, Texas — Professional and recreational sport shooters in the Kerrville, Waco and San Antonio areas will benefit from the $240,000 in matching grants that their local target range facilities will receive to continue previously funded construction and renovation projects.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the target range grants during its Aug. 27 public meeting in Fort Worth.
Recipients of the fiscal year 2010 funding include the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center near Kerrville. This International USA Shooting and training facility has been approved to receive $60,000 for the fourth and final phase of a four-year construction project to complete parking and storage for their Air Hall facility used for hunter education, state archery competitions and international air gun shooting events. This site previously received a total of $480,000 between the 2006 and 2009 fiscal years.
Another grant recipient is the Central Texas Rifle and Pistol Club near China Springs, west of Waco. The club will receive an additional $90,000 for the third phase of a five-year construction project funded with two previous grants. The third phase implement the recommendations of a certified range technical team advisor from the National Rifle Association. Improvements will include enhancements to berms, baffles and other safety features on new and existing ranges.
The third facility to apply for and receive a grant is the Bexar Community Shooting Range. The facility received $90,000 for the second phase of a construction project that will create new facilities and enhance existing outdoor range facilities, including rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges, classrooms, parking, restrooms and storage. This range is a long-time TPWD project that has been used for the Guadalupe County 4-H Shooting Sports Club and for hunter education in the greater San Antonio and Seguin areas.
TPWD education director Steve Hall said that providing grant money to legitimate shooting ranges allows the operators to improve and promote their facilities. This investment ensures that the ranges will be available and open to the public for a long time.
"Encroachment of cities is a concern in many states in terms of access to safe places to target shoot, sight in rifles for hunting, or enjoy the shotgun sports such as trap, skeet and sporting clays," Hall said. "More people want to shoot, so range owners have to be more creative if they set up shop near urban areas, such as building indoor ranges or building in undeveloped zones conducive to such activities."
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, with support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Assistance, administers a target-range grant program to provide funding for qualifying applicants from both the private and public sectors that open their shooting facilities to the public and offer hunter education.
Applicants must provide 25 percent of the total project cost, and the federal grant funds, made available through Texas’ "hunter safety apportionment," fulfill the remaining 75 percent. The grants allow recipients to enhance their existing ranges or to build new facilities, including ranges, storage units, and accessible restrooms, roads, parking areas and hunter education classrooms.
Target Range Grants are complimented by the other sport shooting opportunities TPWD has available, such as Texas — National Archery in Schools program, which aims at providing International-style target archery training in 4th-12th grade physical education classes. Other sport shooting opportunities include the Sporting Clays Mobile Range, which provides shooting opportunities for youth, women, gun clubs and ranges, and the new Ag Clays Program which combines shotgun sports with the successful Agricultural Science high school curriculum that has incorporated hunter education training since the mandatory program began back in 1988.
Grants are available to qualifying applicants from both private and governmental sectors that provide public use and hunter education at their facilities. For more information on Target Range grants, contact Steve Hall at TPWD at (512) 389-4568 or .