Pennsylvania’s Free Public Ranges to be no more

New regulations are about to be implemented that will eliminate Pennsylvania’s free public ranges. (Managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission). Instead, you will now need to have either a hunting license or a special range permit in order to use the facilities.

Article here…

The reasoning for such is supposedly increased maintenance costs. However, I think there are much better alternatives to this proposal. A few years ago I tried several times to offer to volunteer and help maintain the range. All my attempts to offer my time and money were rebuffed. Basically, it was already maintained by the Isaac-Walton league. My attempt to contact and offer to assist the Isaac-Walton league in their endeavors to maintain the range in question were likewise rebuffed.

So pardon me if I find myself rather pieved when you tell me that in order to use these previously free ranges, I must now expend money on a permit. And you tell me it’s the cost of maintenance. Well, I offered to help keep that cost lower and you rejected the offer repeatedly.

I’ll say it, “the FUDs won”. They got to keep their little private party going. They keep the private clubs small and exclusive so that they can have the ranges all to themselves. Now they’ve managed to eliminate access to the public ranges.

To those who do not think this will hurt. It very much will. These ranges, for all their problems, are the places which many new shooters are introduced to shooting. In fact, I’ve introduced a fair number of individuals to shooting at one of the PGC ranges in Dillsburg. Why? Because teaching takes a LOT more time than just shooting. By myself I can blow through a box of 50 rounds in a few minutes. But when I am teaching and introducing someone to firearms. That same box might be 1/2 full an hour later. It is often too costly to introduce someone to firearms at a private range with lane fees.

This can greatly impede the introduction of new persons to shooting. And frankly, I view that as much more important than hunters needs. Here is the irony, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is planning to charge $30 for a range permit. A hunting permit is merely $20. So they’re really milking the non-hunter with this. A hunter gets the range and all the accompanying benefits for his $20. A non-hunter must spend 50% more and get less benefits. This in no way seems reasonable.

Furthermore, what occurs when someone fails to realize their “range permit” has expired. And they’re stopped by a ranger. Have we just created another victimless crime? I’d be far more accepting of this policy if the $30 gave you a 5 year permit and allowed at least two guests. (That would let me bring a husband and wife who are interested in learning to shoot.)

While others are rather accepting of this policy, I am not. And I will vocally oppose it until it is adjusted to be more reasonable. And if they’re going to make us spend $30 for a range permit. Then they darn well better improve the range.

H/T to Snowflakesinhell

 

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Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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