Department of Fish and Wildlife
Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Shooting Ranges On Wildlife Management Areas A Free Place To Hone Shooting Skills
Kentucky’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) are a blessing to all Kentuckians. Although managed primarily for wildlife habitat and hunting and fishing access, any citizen of the state may use these thousands of acres to hike, watch birds, picnic, photograph wildlife and pursue other outdoor-related recreation, as well as hunt and fish.
Kentuckians may use these lands whether or not they help pay the bill by purchasing a hunting or fishing license. These wildlife areas are a gift to the rest of the state provided by hunters and anglers.
Shooting ranges are another service provided on some of Kentucky’s wildlife management areas. Most Kentuckians don’t have easy access to a private gun club where they can sight in their deer rifle or practice their wingshooting.
Wildlife management areas across the state have public shooting ranges for target shooting with a rifle, pistol or shotgun. On Curtis Gates Lloyd WMA in Grant County and Miller Welch-Central Kentucky WMA in Madison County, shotgunners may use the self-serve trap ranges to hone their skills.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife approved clubs operate skeet and trap ranges at Curtis Gates Lloyd WMA, Miller Welch-Central Kentucky WMA and West Kentucky WMA in McCracken County. Participants in the club event may use these facilities.
The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission recently passed new regulations to improve safety at public shooting ranges on wildlife management areas by banning certain types of weapons and ammunition.
Users may not discharge cannons, artillery or any replica of those weapons on public shooting ranges on wildlife management areas. Mortars, grenades, incendiaries, explosive devices or explosive bullets are prohibited as well.
Modern firearm bullets 500 grains or larger may not be used at these public shooting ranges. Shotgun slugs larger than 10-gauge or muzzleloader balls or bullets larger than .78 caliber are also prohibited from use. Also, people may not fire rifles that are not shoulder-mounted or pistols that are not hand held.
“The impact of those rounds creates significant damage to the safety backstops at those ranges,” said Brian Clark, assistant director of public affairs for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
Feel free to use these public shooting ranges this summer as you prepare for the coming hunting seasons. Enjoy these public areas and appreciate them as gifts. They belong to you; treat them as you would your own.
Here is a list of shooting ranges on wildlife management areas:
1. Curtis Gates Lloyd WMA, Grant County: shooting range with tubes for single projectile firearms, self-serve public trap range, archery range, club-operated skeet, trap and rifle/pistol ranges.
2. Miller Welch-Central Kentucky WMA, Madison County: shooting range with tubes for single projectile firearms, self-serve public trap range, club-operated skeet and trap ranges.
3. Taylorsville Lake WMA, Spencer County: shooting range with tubes for single projectile firearms.
4. John A. Kleber WMA, Owen County: shooting range with tubes for single projectile firearms.
5. Peabody WMA, Muhlenberg County: shooting range with tubes for single projectile firearms.
6. Higginson-Henry WMA, Union County: shooting range with tubes for single projectile firearms.
7. Jones-Keeney WMA, Caldwell County: rifle-pistol range and archery range.
8. West Kentucky WMA, McCracken County: Club-operated skeet range and archery range.