Hunters and shooters in Mississippi have cause to celebrate—a new place to shoot will be available to them soon. The new public-access shooting range will be constructed on the Charles Ray Nix Wildlife Management Area near Sardis in Panola County in the northwestern part of the state. The provisional design includes: a 15-station sporting clays range; two skeet fields with a trap range overlaid in each; a 5-stand range; a pistol range; rifle ranges to 100 and 300 yards; and a 3D archery range.
The range is a team effort between the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), who will own, operate, and partially fund—via the Wildlife Restoration Program (WRP) Grant—the facility, the Foundation of the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (FMWFP), and Winchester Ammunition, who gave a substantial contribution towards the project.
John E. Taylor, Chairman of FMWFP, commented, “This facility will allow Mississippians of all ages, as well as our out-of-state guests, the opportunity to have use of a facility to practice an outdoor recreational activity.” The WRP Fund grants (sometimes referred to as Pittman-Robertson funds) are generated from excise taxes paid on the purchase of firearms, ammunition and other outdoor sporting equipment, and shooting-range construction is a designated use for those monies.
The Winchester plant in Oxford, Miss., one of the nation’s largest ammunition manufacturing facilities, is a major employer in the region, and so along with supporting its customers, the company is investing in the community. President Tom O’Keefe said, “This is an opportunity to provide avid outdoorsmen, women and youth, a safe and friendly environment in a state that deeply respects shooting sports activities.”