Bois D'arc Opens a New Shooting Range
"Hi. I'd like to sight my gun in please." "You have a wonderful facility here. Are there any more like these in the state?" "A few more practice rounds and I may see an improvement during dove season."
These are just a few of the comments heard at the Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Training Center Complex, located just 15 minutes from Springfield on the Bois D'Arc Conservation Area. It is a great place for shooting enthusiasts of any age to practice.
The Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Training Center Complex, named after former Conservation Commissioner Andy Dalton, opened in 1995. This is one of five supervised Conservation Department ranges in the state. Other ranges are located at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area and Forest 44 Conservation Area near St. Louis, and there is the Lake City Range, just outside of Kansas City, and the Parma Woods Range, currently under construction in Platte City.
The Andy Dalton Shooting Range includes a 100-yard, baffled, rifle/pistol range with 20 covered booths. Two of these meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Two overlaid skeet/trap fields also are available for shotguns, along with a shotgun patterning range with full-size turkey targets provided. Costs are $2 per hour per booth for the rifle/pistol range and $3 per person per round of 25 clay birds on the skeet/trap fields.
A gravel archery range trail with 3-D targets of deer, turkey, bear, coyote, groundhog and raccoon also is available for $2 per hour. In addition to all the shooting facilities, there is a 50-seat classroom for teaching hunter safety education and similar programs.
The range is open year-round to allow shooters an opportunity to practice their favorite shooting sport. The most popular times are just before deer and dove seasons. Along with hunters and those who target practice, law enforcement agencies and various groups are able to reserve the range facilities for organized activities. The range staff produces a monthly newsletter to alert subscribers of upcoming events.
A number of family events are scheduled at the range. Among these are the Shooting Sports Weekend, held each spring; a youth dove hunt, held during the first weekend of September; a youth duck seminar, held in October; and Great Outdoors Day, held on the fourth Saturday of September.
Additional programs include women's handgun training, BB gun shooting and shotgun reloading. Visitors under the age of 15 are required to be supervised by adults, who will be responsible for their conduct and safety.
Staff members are willing to assist anyone who might have trouble sighting in their firearm and will try to answer any question visitors might have concerning outdoor activities. Many experienced users of the range will also offer tips and a helpful hand to newcomers.
The Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Training Center Complex is open five days a week on a first-come, first-served basis, but hours are subject to change due to other scheduled activities. For more information, contact the Training Center Supervisor or Range Officer, Andy Dalton Shooting Range, P.O. Box 1812, Bois D'Arc, 65612-1812; or call (417) 742-4361.
As places to shoot become harder to find, the shooting public must work to protect those that we have. By following a few simple rules you can help maintain the quality and availability of Conservation Department ranges, ensure a safe shooting environment and help extend your shooting heritage another generation into the future.
- Most Conservation Department ranges are self-policing. This means that shooters are responsible for following posted rules. If you're old enough to own a firearm and to drive to the range, you're old enough to read and follow the rules.
- Just because you arrived first doesn't mean you own the place. On most open ranges, good shooters quickly develop a rhythm that allows for a short period of shooting followed by an even shorter period of target repair. However, I have seen people so eager to get started that they head down range while other people are shooting.
- Be neat. Don't pack in trash, such as cans, bottles or boxes. Put forth a little extra effort and pack out someone else's trash.
- Organize groups. Most ranges can be reserved by groups of 10 or more shooters. Reserving a range places you in total control of safety. You can conduct safety reviews prior to shooting and talk about anything that goes wrong. In effect, you'll own the range for the day.