A view of the newly completed shooting range on Packsaddle WMA. Photo by Don P. Brown.
Recreational shooters are proving to be a major contributor to wildlife conservation. When shooters purchase sporting arms and ammunition, manufacturers then pay an excise tax to the federal government that must be distributed to the states for wildlife conservation efforts. It's a user pay, user benefit system, and recreational shooters along with hunters and anglers are top players in ensuring conservation happens and that wildlife abounds for those who love the outdoors. And with recreational shooting on the rise, the Wildlife Department is working to help meet the demand for places to shoot including the most recent completion at the Packsaddle WMA in Ellis County.
Progress continues on a multi-year program to renovate or construct shooting ranges on Wildlife Management Areas statewide. Renovations have been completed at Beaver River, Cherokee, Lexington, Pushmataha, James Collins, and Okmulgee WMAs. Upcoming renovation and new construction projects include Kaw, Atoka, and Optima WMAs. Five ranges are in the planning stages at WMAs including Canton, Copan, Fort Supply, Fort Gibson, and Arcadia. The Wildlife Department, in partnership with the city of Altus, is currently in the planning stages for a new shooting range complex that will increase shooting opportunities for new and existing hunters, and both recreational and competitive shooters for the communities of southwest Oklahoma and beyond.
To shoot at a Wildlife Department shooting range, users must possess a hunting or combination license. Rifles, handguns, and shotguns are permitted. Click here for coordinates and driving directions to WMA shooting ranges.
Other shooting locations can be identified through wheretoshoot.org. Managed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (the trade association for the firearms industry) this website is the most comprehensive online directory of shooting ranges.