MAYFLOWER, Ark. (News release) — With more than two months of shooting time under their belt since reopening the Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff are ready to celebrate National Shooting Sports Month. A variety of offers are available to any member of the general public during August.
“We’ve offered these discounts for the last few years, and it’s been very popular with our regular customers,” Tomlin said. “It’s also a great time to introduce new customers to the range and show them all of the opportunities we have available.”
For this first week of the month, all pistol and rifle practice is free. Anyone shooting at the 200-yard rifle range and 50-yard pistol range can shoot without any fees. Additionally, any youth aged 6 to 17 and any adult 65 years and older may shoot for free the entire month. All youth under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
“We know a lot of people also have purchased firearms and come back to the outdoors recently, so anyone who brings a proof of purchase from an FFL dealer in the last 60 days or shows their license that’s been purchased on or after July 1 can use the pistol or rifle range for free in August as well,” said Grant Tomlin, assistant chief of the AGFC’s Education Division. “We also have free range passes for anyone who purchases their license here at the Mayflower range.”
A special “ladies weekend” is available Aug. 15-16, when all women can shoot on any section of the range for free.
“We also have discounted prices on the shotgun ranges for the entire month of August,” Tomlin said. “And the 3-D archery range is always free and a great option to use while waiting on your turn at the firearms ranges.”
Tomlin says calling ahead would be a good idea for everyone interested in these offers, as the range has seen incredible use since its reopening.
“We have seen steady increases in the range’s use in the last seven years, but the last month has been unbelievable,” Tomlin said. “Overall use was up 67 percent compared to this month last year, and the time people are spending on the range has gone up 41 percent from last July. It’s been great and we haven’t really begun to hit our busy time before hunting seasons open.”
Range manager Bill Haynes says much of the increase has been from new gun owners.
“We’ve seen a surge in firearms and ammunition purchases in the last six months, particularly with people who did not own firearms before,” Haynes said. “When we opened in May, shooting ranges were some of a few places where people could get out of the house, so many of those new gun owners have come out and enjoyed learning about their firearms.”
Tomlin said the growth hasn’t only been with the regular shooting-sports enthusiasts and hunters. Much of the recent growth has been from women and minorities who are interested in taking up the shooting sports.
“The agency has stressed introducing new audiences to hunting, angling and the shooting sports in our recent plans to recruit, retain and reactivate outdoors enthusiasts and it’s great to see some of these efforts already beginning to materialize,” Tomlin said.
Visit the range’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/argamefishshootingrange for more information about events and opportunities at the AGFC’s Mayflower Range. For helpful information on outdoors skills, including archery and shooting sports, visit the AGFC’s virtual nature center at www.agfcnaturecenter.com.