The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is continuing a grant program that increases access to safe places to shoot.
The grant is available for shooting clubs, sportsmen’s groups and government agencies involved in the operation of shooting ranges and archery ranges. Applicants have until 4:30 p.m. on May 15, 2013 to submit applications. The funding period is Fiscal Year 2014, which runs from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.
The Shooting Range Improvement Grant Program was developed to encourage shooting ranges to make improvements and enhance their safety and operation. “Increased range opportunities encourage hunters to become more proficient with firearms and promote safe and responsible gun handling,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry.
Projects eligible for funding include shooting range development, noise abatement structures, safety berms, shooting pads and stations, and road and parking lot improvement. Grant money can be also used for lead mitigation measures.
The Fish & Wildlife Department anticipates making a total of $80,000 available this year. These funds are derived from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program, which is funded from Federal excise taxes on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment. Grant recipients are required to provide 25 percent of project funding, which may come from an ‘in-kind’ funding match such as volunteer labor or donations.
A range receiving one of these grants must provide at least 20 hours of public use per week when in operation and the facility must be made available at reasonable times for hunter education courses.
For further information or to download an application packet, visit the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department website at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. Click on “Hunting and Trapping,” and then on “Shooting Ranges in Vermont.” You may also contact Chris Saunders, Hunter Education Coordinator, at 802-828-1193.