ODNR ‘Free Range Day’ happening soon


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Experienced and beginning recreational shooters are invited to visit any of Ohio’s premier public shooting ranges on Saturday, Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during Free Range Day, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. On this date, the shooting range permit requirement is waived at all Division of Wildlife Class A, B, and C shooting ranges.

The Division of Wildlife is partnering with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to host Free Range Day as part of a continued effort to provide more opportunities for recreational shooters. New shooters can gain hands-on experience with firearms at no charge from certified instructors at five public ranges. Staff will offer on-site instruction to beginning shooters and will provide equipment, ammunition, ear protection, and eye protection free of charge.

The following public ranges will have Division of Wildlife staff on-site to assist shooters:

—Deer Creek Wildlife Area, corner of State Route 207 and Cook Yankeetown Road NE, Mt. Sterling

—Delaware Wildlife Area, 1110 State Route 229, Ashley

—Grand River Wildlife Area, 6693 Hoffman Norton Road, Bristolville

—Spring Valley Wildlife Area, 3570 Houston Road, Waynesville

—Woodbury Wildlife Area, 41384 State Route 541, Warsaw

Free Range Day is being offered as part of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.’s National Shooting Sports Month. The Division of Wildlife shooting ranges provide the public with comfortable, safe places to shoot archery or firearms. A complete list of range facilities can be found at wildohio.gov.

Outside of Free Range Day, all persons age 18 and older shooting on Division of Wildlife Class A, B, and C ranges are required to purchase a shooting range permit, available at all hunting and fishing license outlets, wildohio.gov, and the HuntFish OH app. Class A ranges offer supervised rifle and pistol target shooting. Class B ranges have unsupervised rifle and pistol target shooting, while Class C ranges host unsupervised clay target shotgun shooting.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.

In other news from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, ODNR will welcome 42 new students as members of the Conservation Teen Advisory Council (ConTAC) for the upcoming school year. ConTAC members serve as a voice of Ohio’s youth to ODNR to help expand reach, impact, conservation efforts.

“The future of Ohio’s natural resources is in the hands of young people like this group,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “I am inspired by their passion for nature and can’t wait to see the ideas they bring to the table.”

Members will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies and campaigns that best represent Ohio’s young people. In the past, the students have helped with presentations for the Great Lakes Commission, participated in stream clean-ups/litter pick-ups, crafted social media posts, shadowed staff, and much more. They are then encouraged to take those experiences and the skills learned into their communities.

The new ConTAC team joins 18 returning members. The group spans across 28 counties and accounts for 45 Ohio schools. The kick-off meeting will be held at Alum Creek State Park on August 13, 2021.

New ConTAC Members for the 2021-22 School Year include students from the following counties: Athens, Brown, Butler, Clark, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Geauga, Greene, Hamilton, Hocking, Jefferson, Knox, Licking, Lucas, Montgomery, Portage, Sandusky, Stark, Summit, Union, Warren and Wood.

ConTAC members serve a minimum of one year on the council. They will dedicate approximately 10 hours per quarter to this work. Learn more about the group and its mission on the ODNR website.

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