Latest ODNR gun range project to cost $9 million in upgrades

Photo courtesy PxHere.com

State cost tops $2.2 million toward more shooting positions, environmental work

The state is spending more than $2.2 million to renovate and upgrade a shooting range in Delaware County, a project Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials say will attract outdoor enthusiasts from around Central Ohio. 

The Delaware Shooting Range is among 40 ranges managed by ODNR around the state. The project involves building more rifle and handgun shooting positions; putting in an archery range; and constructing an “educational building” on-site that will include bathrooms. 

There is also environmental work to clean up the site and re-positioning the shotgun range for “more efficient lead management,” an ODNR news release states.

In total, the project will cost just over $9 million. ODNR’s Division of Wildlife is paying for the project cost up front, and then 75% of it will be reimbursed by grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Those federal funds come from weapons and ammunition sales. 

The state’s share of the project comes out to $2,263,000. An ODNR spokesperson said the state finances projects like this through proceeds from fishing and hunting license sales. 

“The Division of Wildlife is excited to provide outstanding new range facilities for Ohio’s sporting enthusiasts,” said ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker in a news release. “This project includes an educational facility with family friendly amenities to welcome many recreational shooting sports enthusiasts.”

Of the 40 public ranges in Ohio, a little more than half are for archery only. Only six, including Delaware, allow for rifle, pistol, shotgun and archery practice. 

ODNR also partners with a number of other local and private ranges around the state.

The cost to visit is $5 for one day or $24 for an annual shooting range permit (those 17 and under do not need a pass). Archery ranges are free to visit. More rules and information is available on the ODNR ranges website. 

Tyler Buchanan
Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.