A Vermont Fish & Wildlife grant program that’s creating more access to safe places to shoot still has money available this fiscal year.
Shooting clubs, sportsmen’s groups and government agencies involved in the operation of shooting ranges, including archery ranges, have until 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 to submit applications for funding from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
The Shooting Range Improvement Grant Program was developed in 2010 to encourage the improvement of shooting ranges and to enhance their safety and operation.
The department made $80,000 available this year, of which $40,000 was obligated in the first round of funding. Examples of projects that could be eligible for funding include noise abatement structures, safety berms, shooting pads and stations, and the construction or improvement of access roads and parking lots. Grant money can be also used for lead mitigation. This could include recycling, reducing range floor surface drainage or liming range property.
These funds come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program and are derived from Federal excise taxes on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment. This is a 75 percent reimbursement grant program and requires a 25 percent non-federal match from the grant recipient. This can come through “in-kind” match, such as volunteer labor and donated equipment or cash.
Federal rules associated with this funding include a requirement that a range receiving one of these grants provide at least 20 hours of public use per week when in operation, and that the facility is open and made available at reasonable times to hunter education courses. Vermont nonprofit organizations, municipalities and clubs are eligible.
For further information or to download an application packet, visit the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. Click on “Hunting and Trapping,” and then on “Shooting Ranges in Vermont.” Or, contact Chris Saunders, Hunter Education Coordinator at 802-241-3722.