Firing line hot at Scatter Creek range
PARAGOULD — Recreational shooters and hunters can now find an upgraded experience at William E. Brewer Scatter Creek Wildlife Management Area after the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently completed a $175,000 renovation to the Jack Cox Firing Range on the site. The range was closed for the renovation in March and reopened just in time for last week’s Independence Day holiday.
It has been less than two years since the AGFC helped the city of Jonesboro create the state-of-the-art Jonesboro Shooting Sports Complex, but according to Grant Tomlin, assistant chief of the AGFC’s Education Division who is over shooting sports and range development, the unmanned range at Scatter Creek has remained in high demand for local residents. The firing range is about 30 miles from downtown Jonesboro.
“During the renovation, we were able to route many regular customers to the new range in Jonesboro, and many still didn’t know it was available,” Tomlin said. “But we know there are plenty of people left in the area that the old range served and we wanted to make sure it saw the attention it needed.”
The parking lot and entrance road were both regraded and graveled, and the range itself saw substantial dirtwork to repair washouts and uneven areas that had formed over the years. The range itself was regraded and reseeded to prevent further erosion.
“We also repacked the backstop, which had begun to wash into the 200-yard firing line, causing a buildup of dirt around those target pin locations,” Tomlin said. “We placed railroad tie barriers at the base of the backstop to help prevent future washouts as well.”
Some of the concrete sidewalks and crosswalks downrange had seen better days as well, so contractors replaced them and placed railroad ties in front of them.
“The railroad ties will protect the sidewalks from unintentional bullet strikes,” Tomlin said. “Those can not only cause damage to the concrete, but present a ricochet danger if it hits at the wrong angle.”
The roof over the firing line stations was completely replaced, and any rotten wood on the structure and shooting benches was replaced as well. Additionally, the pins that held target panels at each firing distance were removed.
“They stuck up from the ground enough to cause a tripping hazard,” Tomlin said. “So we’ve removed them and are manufacturing target frames with bases that can be set without the need for them.”
In addition to the firearms facility, the known-distance archery range will also see a fresh set of bag targets for bowhunters to practice with their field tip-equipped arrows.
Tomlin said the range, which opened in fall 2004 and has seen renovations and maintenance in the past, was not only showing signs of age but also damage from improper use. The most troublesome was extensive damage to the baffles just beyond the firing line.
“An unmanned range can be mistreated by a few users, which is unfortunate for those shooters who want a nice range to use and take pride in their local shooting area,” Tomlin said. “Aside from litter, the baffles had seen an abundance of shots, many of which would have had to be intentional. We have had to abandon those baffles completely in the renovation.”
Tomlin said that although area biologists, technicians and game wardens can occasionally drop by to make sure people are following range rules, they can’t be there all the time.
“The best tool we have is for local hunters and shooters to report any violations they see to put a stop to the mistreatment of the facility,” Tomlin said. “There was a lot of hard work by locals and staff working together to get this range built originally, and local hunters and shooters shouldn’t have to suffer because of a few bad apples destroying what their tax dollars helped build.”
The Greene County range offers a place to shoot for fun as well as to get ready for upcoming hunting seasons. Any legal firearm and ammunition (no fully automatic firearms, armor-piercing or tracer ammunition) may be used on the firing range. Please read the list of rules at https://www.agfc.com/en/explore-outdoors/shootingranges/ before traveling to the range. Youths 15 and younger must be supervised by a responsible adult 21 years or older. All targets, brass and other items used must be removed and properly disposed of before leaving.
Firing Range: The roof of the Jack Cox Scatter Creek Shooting Range was completely replaced, as were missing or rotten boards on the shooting benches and tables.
Berm: The backstop at the range was repacked and seeded, and a railroad tie barrier was placed at its base to help prevent future erosion.
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
Nov. 30, 2023
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don't miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!