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  Shooting Sports News - Dec. 2007

Shooting Sports News
Dec 17, 2007

Hello Shooters!

In this issue you will find:

  • Northern Arizona range decisions
  • Ben Avery Master Plan approved by Commission
  • Dedication of wheelchair friendly trap and skeet range
  • Archery and rimfire rifle leagues
  • Skeet 101 referee classes

Forest Service, Game and Fish continue discussions
on proposed Northern Arizona Regional Shooting Facility

The Coconino National Forest has accepted an Arizona Game and Fish Department proposal to continue the process for siting a public shooting range near Willard Springs Road, about 15 miles south of Flagstaff.
Officials from both agencies met on Nov. 27 to discuss activities and timelines, including preparation of a feasibility analysis report that evaluates state and federal properties that would be considered in any proposed land exchange.

The report, which would take an estimated nine months to complete, would then be reviewed by the Regional Forester.

“If the feasibility analysis is accepted by the Regional Forester, an agreement to initiate a land exchange could be completed, and the environmental analysis process under NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) could begin,” says Josh Avey, habitat branch chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Although the environmental analysis can take as much as two-years to complete, we’re moving forward, and that’s what the public expects.”

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been working with the Forest Service for several years on a public planning process to provide a location for a safe, modern regional shooting facility to meet the needs of recreational shooters and law enforcement agencies in the Flagstaff region.

"Flagstaff is the largest city in Arizona without a public shooting facility," says Michael Golightly, chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. "Recreational shooters often use makeshift areas, such as cinder pits in the forest, while law enforcement personnel sometimes have to travel to other cities with shooting ranges for training. A regional shooting facility would serve their needs and would provide other economic benefits to the area, as well."

The process to locate a range site has incorporated extensive input from potential users and the general public. The Coconino National Forest is a partner in the planning process and has provided guidance and input in the selection of appropriate locations.

The Willard Springs site offers desirable features, such as good freeway and road access and utility availability. The department will continue to work with the Forest Service and communicate with area residents throughout the process.

For more information on the proposed Northern Arizona Regional Shooting Facility, visit


Commission approves Ben Avery Master Plan
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted to approve the Master Plan for the Ben Avery Shooting Facility at its Dec. 8 meeting in Casa Grande, Ariz.

The plan was developed over the past year with input from user groups and the public and will guide the future development of the Ben Avery Shooting Facility.

“The plan will help us prioritize use of the property to best serve a wide range of shooting sports customers in the future,” says Ty Gray, assistant director for information and education. “There is no specific timeline or budget for implementing the plan at this point. Projects will be implemented as funding becomes available.” 


One-of-a-kind trap and skeet field “welcomes” wheelchair patrons
The Arizona Game and Fish Department hosted a dedication ceremony on Dec. 11 to unveil a unique trap and skeet field that’s specially designed to accommodate clay target shooters who must use wheelchairs.

The ceremony was held at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center in north Phoenix. Members from the Arizona Paralyzed Veterans of America (AZPVA) were on hand to test out the new field.

“The designs of traditional trap and skeet fields pose challenges to wheelchair-bound shooters. Narrow walkways and raised concrete shooting pads on a dirt field create significant uneven surfaces and navigational obstacles,” says Marty Herrera, range manager for the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. “Shooters end up spending more time and energy moving from station to station than shooting and enjoying the game.”

That all changed when the Arizona Game and Fish Department remodeled a dilapidated field at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center to accommodate shooters who use wheelchairs.

After consulting with Guerry Dalrymple, disabilities service manager for Chase Field and US Airways Center, a plan was created to take the remodel one step further. Rather than just creating wider shooting pathways, a remodeling team from the Ben Avery Clay Target Center agreed to pave the entire shooting field – much like a basketball court.

The team used standard colored concrete to fill in what would be the dirt field area. All the regulation lanes and shooting stations were done in an accenting color dyed concrete. Red concrete represents the trap lanes, while maroon concrete was used to indicate the skeet stations. The end result is a very smooth surface that is very easy for wheelchair mobility and clearly identifies where to shoot from.

“This is a great example of what can be accomplished to make a trap and skeet field wheelchair accommodating. I encourage you to do more just like it,” says Dalrymple.

“When I drove up and saw this – my jaw dropped. I’ve shot all over the country and nowhere have I seen this,” says Gordon Moye, vice president, Arizona Paralyzed Veterans Association (AZPVA). “You’ve started something to be used throughout the country.”

“Ben Avery and the staff have outdone themselves with this new design and I'm once again very excited to come out and spend time at the shooting range,” says Dennis Olp, AZPVA member and hunting and shooting enthusiast. “I can't say enough about this new trap and skeet range and I will definitely let all groups I'm affiliated with know about this.”

The new field is not just restricted to shooters using wheelchairs. It is a multi-use field for all patrons.

The Ben Avery Clay Target Center is located at 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85086. It is just behind the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s main headquarters off Archery Drive. The facility has 18 trap/skeet fields and two sporting clays courses. To schedule a shoot or tour the range contact Tom McMahon at (623) 434-8119 or e-mail


Archery and rimfire target shooting leagues for all ages
Do you want to improve your target shooting? Tired of not having anyone to go to the range with? Now is your chance, in a controlled environment, geared toward league shooting at Ben Avery Shooting Facility in North Phoenix.

Target shooting is self-rewarding, builds hand-eye coordination skills, and teaches patience, discipline and a knowledge of firearms and bows. League shooting offers a slight competitive edge to push and teach you how to become even more proficient.

Archery – League begins Jan. 9, 2008 and runs for eight weeks on Wednesday nights from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on the FITA archery range at Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Leagues will follow the Federation of International Target Archery (FITA), the governing style for Olympic target archery shooting. Both youth and adult divisions are available. Youth is for age’s eight-years-old up to 17-years-old. Adult leagues are for participants 18 years old or older.

The cost is $60 for adults and $30 for youths. Loaner bows are available but only consist of introductory-type models only. Preregistration is required, contact Mike Raum, (623) 582-8313 or email

Rimfire rifle (.22/.17) – League begins Jan. 8, 2008 and runs for eight weeks on Tuesday nights from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on the small bore range at Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Participants will shoot at 25 yard and 50 yard target distances. All ages are welcome and encouraged.

The cost is $10 league fee and $5 per night per distance. Youths, 17 years-old and younger are half price.  Preregistration is required, contact Nancy Hays, (623) 582-8313 or email


Become a certified referee for skeet shooting events
Skeet referee school begins Jan 3, 2008
The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona Skeet Shooting Association are launching a new course to train and certify field referees for skeet shooting throughout the state.

The new two-hour certification course, Skeet Referee 101, will consist of a specially produced training video, classroom instruction and administering the National Skeet Shooting Association referee test. Cost will be $10, which will include the National Skeet Shooting Association test submission fee. Certification is good for 2008.

“This is a revolutionary new program, not only for Arizona, but for the rest of the nation,” said ASSA President and course co-creator, Woody Wilson. “Refereeing a skeet event is more than just pushing buttons. With the new Ben Avery Clay Target Center now on line, our goal is to bring more major registered skeet events to Arizona. One of the most important factors in attracting those events is the quality and professionalism of our field referees.”

The first course session will be offered at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters building at 5000 W Carefree Highway in Phoenix on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008 from 1-3 p.m. To register for the course and test, contact Ashley Lynch, shooting sports coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, at (623) 236-7305, or e-mail Applicants are asked to provide their name, address and phone number. They will receive a free copy of the NSSA Referee Handbook to study prior to the session.

About skeet shooting: Skeet shooting dates back to the 1920s. It was created to offer sportsmen and women a way to sharpen skills during the off-season of hunting. The field moves shooters in a semicircle, presenting them with a combination of 25 high and low targets. It is a great game for an individual or a group of five. Skeet is a recognized sport of the Olympics.

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