TPWD Funds Olympic Shooting Training Facility In Kerrville

Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701,

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is awarding $300,000 in matching grant funding to the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center in Kerrville. The facility has been selected by USA Shooting, the governing body for national Olympic shooting team development, as the future site of a majority of the nation’s Olympic training shooting events and possibly host to a prestigious international clay target World Cup competition in 2006.

The grant is one of four such projects approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Aug. 25 public meeting and consists of a 75/25 funding match through the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration federal aid program for hunter safety. The grants are administered by TPWD’s target range development program.

Other projects receiving funding include: $60,000 for indoor range facility improvements at the Winchester Gallery in Ft. Worth, $30,000 for shotgun range infrastructure improvements at the Elm Fork Shooting Park in Dallas, and $30,000 for access improvements at Jake’s Guns and Clays, Inc. in Midland.

Funding for the Kerrville complex will be used to enhance the construction of an airgun hall for activities such as indoor archery, airgun and hunter education activities. The funding will also help offset costs for range improvement and hunter education projects at the site.

According to USA Shooting, the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center will be the only full service sport shooting public facility of its type in the United States. Training and competition in rifle, pistol and shotgun events, including Olympic events and the 31,000 square foot airgun hall will make this range completely unique. The range is located 60 miles west of San Antonio on Interstate 10. There are currently only two venues that can host major competitions–the International Shooting Park on Fort Carson, in Colorado Springs, which is only capable of holding shotgun events, and the United States Army Marksmanship Unit ranges on the Fort Benning military base near Columbus, Ga. By sanctioning the development of the Kerrville facility, USA Shooting is signaling a move away from traditional shooting range complexes on military installations.

The Winchester Gallery in Ft. Worth is the largest indoor range in the Dallas/Ft.Worth Metroplex and is one of the top certifiers of hunter education students in the area as well. Grant funds will be used to improve the range quality for the public including numerous law enforcement agents, hunter education students and hunters. Funds will specifically be used to improve ventilation to ensure that the site meets stringent lead handling requirements for indoor ranges. Funds will also be used to improve the electrical system that is required for automatic target returns; audio/visual equipment used in hunter education training and related activities.

The Elm Fork Shooting Park grant will be used for continued improvement of their world-class shotgun shooting facility in Dallas. The center has received prior target range grant funding to upgrade existing range facilities and current funding will help improve parking and roadways into the facility.

Jake’s Guns and Clays is situated southeast of Midland and serves the Odessa/Midland shooting sports community. The grant project involves construction of handicap accessible restrooms and improvements to the five stand sporting clays range at the site. The facility hosts many youth shooting sports venues including hunter education courses, 4-H and boy/girl scouts.