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By Amber Hayden
BOYCEVILLE — Located just off of Range Road in Boyceville, the Northwest Rod and Gun Club (NWRGC) has been making improvements over the last year to become better neighbors.
“We are right in the middle of town and we are interested in being good neighbors,” Steve Bauder, one of the ranges supervisors, stated, “we have put a lot of effort into quieting the range.”
Safety issues he said occurred in 2005, with the back portion of the rifle range. A housing development on the other side of the hill started to complain of finding projectiles and holes in their buildings, stated Bauder.
At that time the range was unsupervised and shut down, according to Bauder but the county allowed them to reopen the range as long as there were changes made including a certified supervisor on site at all times when the range is open.
“At that point we went through a lot of construction work and grants, and the county did some work on our behalf,” explained Bauder. “We put what we call an eyebrow on the hill to catch any skipping bullets and that was done back in 2008,” he said.
The staff added a blue sky baffle in order to regulate the sound, but one of the consequences of doing so was it made the sound worse in town being it is a solid surface.
According to Bauder, the range received funding through the shooting range development grants through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is funded through the Pittman-Roberson act, totaling $30,000.
“It’s a 75 percent to our 25 percent match, so we are having to fund raise for our portion, but a big portion came from DNR,” he said.
The rifle and pistol ranges have been combined on the upper level of the range as part of the new layout and to make room for the new archery range down below. The tin roof of the rifle and pistol area was coated with a spray foam in order to help silence a majority of the sound.
Other areas of improvement included carpeting was added to the backside of the blue sky baffle, explained Bauder. The carpet was recycled from pieces that would have gone to the dump had the range not elected to use them. Sound baffles made of wood slats was added to the sides with the carpeting as well to help with keeping the sound from reaching town.
The out buildings that were down in the old pistol range have been moved up to the rifle range in front of the last two stalls on the right side of the shooting area, along with a cement barrier separating the two ranges from each other.
The archery range has been open for six to eight weeks but is not fully finished, he said. The procedures to have access have not been fleshed out completely being the gates are closed and locked and the only members to have access to the combination are the supervisors.
“We haven’t worked it out yet, but for now anytime the range is open, the archery range will be open,” explained Bauder.
Also part of the funding went to planting cedar trees along the edges of the parking lot with hopes that when they grow up they will help mitigate the sound going due north of the range, as well as clearing out the back part of the trap range of all the fallen branches.
The NWRGC asks anyone that comes to the range to follow certain guidelines: always pick up trash, be safe, paper targets only and listen to the certified supervisors.
“We want to be good neighbors, the biggest thing is we don’t want to irritate any of the neighbors,” he stated. “We want to make sure when people are shooting they are hitting the berms directly to make sure nothing gets back up over the hill.”
Bauder, along with the supervisors, hopes to make the public aware that they are still open when a supervisor is at the range. He explained that it is a public range, and the more people who participate, the better.
Anyone can become a member of the club by sending $10 along with a self addressed envelope to the gun range, as well as anyone can become a certified supervisor by attending the training.
The perk of becoming a supervisor, according to Bauder, is if the times on the calendar don’t work for you, you can open the range at anytime between 8am and dusk. To see other times the range is open the public can access the NWRGC website and check the calendar.