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Caywood Memorial Shooting Range Reopening for Weekend Use with Changes

Wisconsin DNR

Nearly a year after the Wisconsin DNR closed the C.W. Caywood Memorial Shooting Range in Woodruff, it will re-open to the public later this month.

It will only be open on the weekends and with some changes.

The range closed last year over safety concerns with the nearby gravel pit.

Since then, the DNR has brought in a national range inspector to go over the range and see where the DNR can make changes to make it safer.

DNR Northern Wisconsin Secretary’s Director James Yacht said many of them will be longer-term solutions.

“There were a lot of recommendations that were made in that inspection. We wanted to make some immediate changes in order to get the range open to users as soon as we could, but in the long-term there will be some engineering fixes including bolstering some of the existing berms that are out there,” said Yacht.

For now, the DNR will be putting up fencing to make it more obvious which target each lane should be shooting at and some excavation work to protect the parking area.

Other changes made to operations include:

1.     100-yard range for rifle shooting only. No handguns are allowed on this range.

2.     25-yard range where handguns and rifles are allowed.

3.     Users may only shoot at the placed target stands provided by the DNR, with their paper targets attached.

4.     The Clay Shotgun Range will remain closed.

5.     Users will be expected to read and to follow the range rules which are posted on site

6.     Range staff may be present on-site to help monitor user behavior, ensure adherence to the rules and etiquette steps.

To report unsafe shooting practices, contact the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office or report it to the DNR Tip Line at 1-800-847-9367.

Yacht emphasized following the posted rules and being smart and safe is key to the range re-opening, including only shooting at the targets that are out there.

“Do not take the opportunity shoot off targets on the landscape. We feel like that’s potentially where some of the safety concerns stem from. Basically, abiding by the posted rules and hopefully we can keep a safe range operating at least now for the part-time and hopefully more hours in the future,” said Yacht.

The range will reopen this Saturday.

It will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to dusk.

Yacht said the DNR will be coordinating with its partners to help monitor the site.

“This is not a staffed position to monitor that range on a full or part-time basis. What we do is roving patrols. We try to ensure that there’s presence out there as much as we can during operating hours,” said Yacht.

The range will likely reopen more as the DNR makes other safety changes and when the gravel pit operation nearby shuts down. 

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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