I grew up hunting. It’s just part of me,” said Keith Haley.
Haley, a volunteer shotgun and taxidermy instructor at Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in Bois D’arc, Mo., loves wing shooting for duck, pheasant and quail. He has been shooting at the range for seven years, and he put in almost 300 hours of volunteer work in 2010 alone.
Haley shares his passion for hunting and shooting sports with Missourians across the state. Some of the most treasured Missouri memories have been made in tree-stands, duck blinds and camouflage. However, shooting sports are enjoyed beyond the woods and bottomlands as well.
The Missouri Department of Conservation maintains five staffed and more than 70 unstaffed shooting facilities around the state to provide fun, safe places to practice shooting and archery skills.
Missouri has a rich history of hunting and shooting sports. With more government provided shooting ranges than any other state, Missouri is a national leader in public range development. Such facilities date back to 1952 when August A. Busch Memorial Wildlife Area featured the state’s first archery range. Interest in range development rose with expanding population and rural development and peaked with the rise of hunter education.
“From its beginning in 1957, hunter education has always advocated that hunters practice shooting skills and sight in their firearms and bows,” said MDC State Hunter Education and Range Coordinator Tony Legg. “Shooting ranges provide safe opportunities to do that.”
As Missourians recognized the need for safe and accessible shooting ranges, MDC began developing these ranges in 1972 with the construction of a staffed range at August A. Busch Memorial Wildlife Area in Defiance, near St. Charles. Range development grew to include Jay Henges Shooting Range in High Ridge near St. Louis; Lake City Shooting Range in Buckner, near Independence; Andy Dalton Shooting Range outside Bois D’arc, near Springfield; and Parma Woods Shooting Range in Parkville, near Kansas City. Combined, these five facilities serve approximately 140,000 shooters and program attendees each year.
The staffed facilities provide rifle and pistol ranges with covered booths, training and meeting rooms, outdoor skills training programs and special events. Other services vary by range and include shotgun patterning ranges; field, broadhead and 3-D archery ranges; and trap and skeet ranges.
Get With the Programs
Each staffed shooting range is also an outdoor education center that provides shooting and non-shooting programs such as fishing, camping and