By Lars Dalseide | April 30 2014 10:01

Public ranges offer hunters the chance to check you sights and test your gear

Public Range partial funded by grants from the NRA

Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado - The advent of Spring (at least in some parts of the country) brings about a welcoming of all things new. New jobs, new hunting season, and new gear you’re chomping at the bit to take out in the woods. But before you’re ready to take anything out for more than dry run, best to make sure all is in working order. That’s why the reopening of Byers Canyon Shooting Range in Colorado is so important.

Closed in a seasonal fashion in order to protect the “wintering wildlife,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife has reopened the Byers Canyon Shooting Range for the coming season. Open seven days a week, the range is open from sunrise to sunset throughout the fall.

"Our efforts to maintain the area for wildlife has been successful and we thank range users for their cooperation," said Doug Gillham, Colorado Parks and Wildlife property technician in Hot Sulphur Springs. "It has helped with animal survival and keeps wildlife away from private property as well."

The importance of public ranges cannot be diminished. Think abou tit - you’re one of the lucky souls who acquired a new rifle, scope, stock or other shooting accessory then a few shots downrange are a must. Where else are you going to try out your gear? The 25 yard indoor pistol range just isn't going to go the job. And a dry run just isn't worth the risk. After all, you don’t want to have a nice 10-pointer in your sights only to see the shot sail a good 20 feet right of the target. And who hasn’t been there?

Located just west of Hot Sulphur Springs, the Byers Canyon Shooting Range features five centerfire rifle ranges of 25, 100, and 200 yards, one .22 caliber rifle range, one shotgun and one handgun range. The wait times are minimal, there’s wheelchair access to the 25 and 100-yard range, and plenty of straw bales for the archery enthusiast.

With limited supervision, shooters can rely on a handful of volunteers to provide assistance.

With the establishment of NRA’s Public Range Fund in 2009, the National Rifle Association has been working with county, city, and state governments to build and improve public ranges across the United States. Current projects include the Lincoln Shooting Park and Education Center in Nebraska, the Oahe Downstream Range in South Dakota, and the 5 Stand/Sporting Clays/Trap & Skeet Range Project in Georgia.

To find out more about the NRA Public Range Fund Grant Program, visit their webpage at rangeservices.nra.org.

For more information about the Byers Canyon Shooting Range, contact the Hot Sulphur Springs office at 970-725-6200, or visit www.cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/ShootingRanges.aspx.

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