A Trip To Cold Mountain

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission runs a number of shooting ranges that are open to the public. The one closest to me is the Wayne E. Smith/Cold Mountain Shooting Range. It is in the shadow of Cold Mountain in the Pisgah National Forest. The range first opened in 2008.

When I first went to the Cold Mountain Shooting Range, it was an unmanned 100-yard range with a gravel parking lot. The only improvements were the berm, the covered shooting line, and concrete walkways to the 25, 50, and 100 yard lines. There was no range safety officer, no toilets, and no pistol only range.

This is what it looked like looking towards the shooting line.

Fast forward to yesterday. There are now dedicated rifle and pistol ranges. The rifle range has a series of steel strike baffles going out to 50 yards. Each of the five rifle stations is universally accessible and have sound suppression baffles.

More importantly, there is a range safety officer hired by the NCWRC there at all times. All first time users must go through a safety briefing. Everyone gets a shooting range pass which can be used at any of the ranges run by the commission. The RSO assigns shooting lanes, maintains control of the range, calls cease fire, etc. In other words, the often unsafe practices of the unmanned range are gone.

There is a range office and a pair of PortaJons.

There are now 10 Wildlife Resources Commission managed ranges, another one is under construction, and two more are proposed.

I think the Wildlife Resources Commission should be applauded for how they have continually upgraded this range as well as the other ones. It takes money and it appears they have spent it wisely. Given most of these ranges are free, that money has come from licenses and Pittman-Robertson monies.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission Seeks Comments On 5 Game Lands

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking comments on the development of management plans for five of their game lands. Closest to me is the Cold Mountain Game Lands in Haywood County. Yes, it is the same Cold Mountain as in the book and movie. The four other game lands mentioned are way the hell and gone from me down in the eastern North Carolina.

Of particular interest about the Cold Mountain Game Lands is the Wayne Smith Shooting Range which is a free and open to the public range. It is also the closest range of its sort to the Asheville area. If you follow the links below, the draft management plan for Cold Mountain discusses the range in detail including potential plans for a 25-yard pistol range and a trap range. Among the concerns are noise mitigation and degradation of the facility from overuse. There is discussion of adding a fee for its use or limiting the amount of time one can stay and shoot at the range.

Wildlife Commission Invites Public to Comment on Five Game Land Plans
RALEIGH, NC —  After conducting a series of public meetings to gather input on developing management plans for game lands across the state, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has posted draft plans for five game lands on its website for additional public comment. 
The Commission is accepting comments through March 15 for the following game lands:
·         Bertie County, comprising 3,884 acres in Bertie County
·         Cape Fear River Wetlands, comprising 7,191 acres in New Hanover and Pender counties
·         Cold Mountain, comprising 3,631 acres in Haywood County
·         Neuse River, comprising 4,900 acres in Craven County
·         Van Swamp, comprising 5,505 acres in Beaufort and Washington counties
Comments can be e-mailed, with the game land name in the subject line and the individual tract within in the body of the email, to gamelandplan@ncwildlife.org. For more information on game lands, go to www.ncwildlife.org/gamelands.
About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities.
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