Target Range Projects Receive Funding Support in Texas

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Five target shooting facility projects, including a new indoor range and hunter education classroom on the Brenham High School campus, will be sharing $420,000 in matching grants for construction and renovation, pending availability of federal assistance funds earmarked for the state's hunter education program.

During its Aug. 24 public meeting, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved an action item to allow the department's executive director to execute contracts with the grant applicants.

More than 19 million Americans safely participate in target shooting, according to National Shooting Sports Foundation statistics, and some states, including Texas, are seeing resurgence in competitive and recreational shooting sports among youth.

"Texas has the largest 4-H shooting sports program in the nation," said Steve Hall, education director with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "Shooting clay targets with a shotgun is a growing sport at high schools and elementary schools across the country. More than 7,000 students from fifth through 12th grade now take part in trap, skeet and sporting clay activities and competitions in 35 states."

The Brenham High School facility exemplifies the kind of resources in high demand and short supply, said Hall.

"In many urban areas, there aren't places nearby where hunter education students can go to take the live fire component of the course," he noted. "There's also a need for target shooting facilities for law enforcement training and use by the general public."

The Brenham Independent School District is supporting the project to improve upon and relocate their existing range facilities to use for hunter education, ROTC, 4-H, law enforcement and the general public at various times throughout the year.

Matching grant funding of $240,000 was approved for the project's Phase II. Brenham received a $120,000 matching grant in April the last fiscal year for Phase I of their project.

The grants consist of a 75/25 funding match through the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration federal aid program for hunter safety. TPWD's hunter education branch staff administers the grants.

"A project such as this is a major undertaking by the school district and we applaud their commitment," said Hall. "An indoor range facility has stringent requirements for air quality and safety."

In addition, the commission approved funding $30,000 for a new archery range facility on Lake Ray Roberts near Denton. The Lone Star 3-D Archery Range is the first of its kind in Texas and will provide Denton ISD students participating in the National Archery in Schools Program with a nearby place to shoot after school.

The program is a new venture of TPWD and its partners and is designed to provide Olympic-style target archery training for fourth through 12th grade physical education classes.

"Lone Star 3-D staff is working with the city of Denton by taking a public parking area that has experienced some vandalism and litter problems and turning it into a public recreation site with this renovation project," said Hall. "It's also next to a state park, which will provide visitors with an additional outdoor recreation opportunity."

Other target range projects funded include:

Elm Fork Shooting Park - This Dallas County facility will receive $60,000 in grant funding for range safety evaluation and enhancements to its rifle ranges. The facility is adjacent and named similarly to the Elm Fork Clay Sports facility that has received several prior grants from the department. Together, both ranges reach the greatest volume of shooters in North Texas.

American Shooting Centers, Inc. - A sporting clays range improvement project will be getting $30,000 in funding. American Shooting Centers, the largest public range facility in Texas and past recipient of target range grant funds, will be improving its world-class sporting clays facilities in West Houston.

Central Texas Rifle and Pistol Club - This facility near Waco will be receiving $60,000 toward range improvements and a classroom to better serve youth and hunter education instructors in the area.

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 [email protected] .