Tuesday, May 7, 2019

MDWFP Raises Range Fees

Practicing the Second Amendment costs more in Mississippi after the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks abolishes the annual permits and tripled the daily fees on all public shooting ranges in April. 

MDWFP operates McHenry, McIvor, and Turcotte shooting ranges for pistol, sporting clays, rifle, skeet, and archery.  They are only open from Thursday to Sunday.  The agency sold annual passes for $45 and charged $5.50 per hour although there were additional charges for sporting clays.

However, MDWFP raised the rates last month.  MDWFP submitted the required notice to the Secretary of State on March 1.  The notice stated the new range fees would be $15 per day. The proposed rule was adopted on April 5. Sporting clays are $.30 per clay. 

MDWFP justified the price hikes after reviewing fees for public and private ranges in the Southeast.  The agency determined the old fees were much cheaper than the "market rate" and limited the improvements that could be made to the more popular ranges.  The fees had not changed since Turcotte opened as the state's first shooting range in 2006. 

Kingfish note: A review of public shooting ranges shows that Mississippi will be one of the few states that does not offer an annual pass as well as having somewhat higher prices for daily use.  Most of the surrounding states offer an annual pass or allow hunting or fishing license-holders to use the shooting ranges at no extra cost.

The following fees were gleaned from the websites of MDWFP's public agency counterparts in surrounding states.  

Nachitoches: ANNUAL PASS  is $100 for first person, $20 for additional family members.  Student/military is $69. Daily fees are $20.
Pearl River/Honey Island: ANNUAL PASS is $60/individual, $75/family. Daily fee is $6.

The other public ranges are free although there are additional fees at all ranges for sporting clays.  The free ranges are considered to be substantially subpar to the "pay" ranges and usually have no staff on hand to ensure range safety. 

Must possess a WMA hunting or fishing license.  Most ANNUAL licenses range from $18-$27.

Tier 1: ANNUAL PASS is $101 w/out a hunting license.  NO FEE is possessing an annual hunting license. A fee of $5.50 per two hours is charged for no license.
Tier 2: ANNUAL PASS is $151, $8 for two hours.  Tier 2 includes more ranges.
Tier 3 (Bartlett): ANNUAL PASS is $175. Daily charge is $11.

ANNUAL hunting or fishing license accepted at most ranges.  The annual combo license is $30 while the daily combo license is $5.  An annual hunting or fishing license is $15.  However, there are a few ranges that require separate fees.

Bobby Brown (archery only): $7 per day
Cedar Creek, Chestnut Mountain: $5 per day (Rifle only)
General Coffee: ANNUAL PASS: $50, Daily fee is $10.

Bay County, Tenoroc Triple N Ranch, Indian River, and Knight Trail Park:  Rifle/Handgun ranges from $10-$12 per day, additional $5/day.   Additional fee for clays.  Some ranges charge additional fees for specialty ranges such as air rifle and archery.
Apalchicola, Osceola, Ocala: Free
Triple N Ranch: $12 per day for rifle

Conway: $3 for pistol/rifle, $4 for 25 rounds of skeet/trap.

JJ submitted a public records request for the surveys conducted and will publish them when received. 


Anonymous said...

Plenty of problems at Wildlife if you want to expose them.

There is an elite hunting club funded by taxpayers up around Rosedale.

Anonymous said...

Turcotte also closes down all the time for private events and closes ranges not in use for the event to the general public during the events.

Anonymous said...

We're fortunate to have these facilities, but they do need to charge enough to operate them along with keeping the equipment updated.

If that means higher prices, so be it.

Anonymous said...

Rosedale my ass. What do you think the land grab from ATCO over in Issaquena/Warren counties is going to be?

Anonymous said...

A state agency charging "market rate" for its services ignores the fact that the facilities were build with public funds and salaries are paid with public funds. How is that not a "double-dip"?

Anonymous said...

Well damn. I've had an annual pass for several years. I've never spent more than an hour on a range. $15 is way too expensive for an hour of shooting. The rifle range is closed for flooding 25% of the year. I don't do skeet or clays so there is not much to do most of the time. I believe in supporting the range, but I think this is a bad idea and they will see usage go way down. I would be interested to see what their books are like in six months.

Anonymous said...

Which hunting club near Rosedale? Marigold hunting club? Catfish point hunting club? Benoit? I don't think those have anything to do with mdwf corruption

Anonymous said...

I would prefer no yearly fee. A yearly fee would be fine if it gave you better access with extended hours. I stopped going there because they are only open a few days a week if there are no special events. Throw in weather closures for more limited use. I drive to a range farther away because it’s open 365 with a posted schedule of a few limited events and I pay less than $150 a year. The sporting clays at Turcotte are nice. Would try to go if the place had better hours.

Anonymous said...

Turcotte, where the "muzzle sweep" was invented.

Anonymous said...

State has land near Rosedale not open to the public but it is being hunted.

Anonymous said...

I’d imagine the books are available for the public to review and assess. The way I understand the whole deal is that anytime the State runs short to fund their certain earmarked splendid ideas, the first pot they reach in is from the revenue produced by hunting and fishing license sales. Chaps my hide. I’d like to know which elite club we’re talkin about. Does Daboy Hose Man sip his whiskey there?

Anonymous said...

The MDWFP has illegally commandeered the old state park at Rosedale and surrounding land owned by the school board. They illegally torched the river-view tower and closed the grounds three years ago. Meanwhile, Scott Coopwood, who owns newspapers and magazine publications (used heavily by the agency) is one of three board members who assisted in shit-canning the public park and reserving it for dignitary use. Argue these facts all you like, but you'll be wrong. The place is closed to the public other than for a piss-ant walking trail. If you're a legislator or governor, this is your place.

Then they virtually turned the Holmes County State Park into their own little get-away playground and seminar venue.

This is an agency gone mad. A literal political playground. And it started many years ago. Then Amy Tuck's brother suddenly was put in the number two position when she and her truck were Light Gov. All downhill from there. Replicates the wisdom that runs the Pearly River Valley Water Supply District.

Anonymous said...

I think the increased fees are great. It will help keep out the Jackson residents and the other undesirables. They’ve been very open that the change was coming. I bought an annual permit a week before the change took effect.

Anonymous said...

@5:20: if what you claim is true, then ALL pols who participate should resign with shame. Those are the kind of things Russian and Chinese leadership pull off. SHAME!

Anonymous said...

What 5:20 said is spot on. Its the old river park. They are hunting it along with friends and colleagues. PLENTY of corruption going on at MDWFP if you dig. They have ran off some great employees in the process. Tourcotte and the new facility up north are very nice facilities for a state run course. I don't mind a slight increase in fees, but I'm not going to pay private course money for it. Coopwood, sure he has a membership at Donaldson Point, but far from someone who should be a commissioner for the agency running our dept of wildlife. Only one or two of the guys on that board seem to slightly care about the common man in this state.

Anonymous said...

7:50 - Why would they resign? They've accomplished exactly what they set out to accomplish. The three commissioners are appointed by the governor. The agency has been filled with political appointees for forty years. The governor loves to hunt and spends a good bit of time hunting private lands. This is another toy at what used to be Great River Road State Park south of Rosedale.

Mississippi is now the only state on the Mississippi River without a state park featuring at least an over-look. The whole thing now is a WMA reserved for dignitaries and 'important folks of wealth'. And those who travel in MHP SUVs.

The junction of highways 1 and 8 (Rosedale) and that area are a gold-mine of opportunity for development by the state.

Rod Knox said...

I want to see a sharp shooter pop a balloon at 1,000 meters shooting a revolver like I saw on facebook, Will someone demonstrate that at one of the ranges?

Anonymous said...

If you can afford the gun and ammo, you should be able to afford the fees.

Anonymous said...

A round of sporting clays will now cost $35-40 per person per round(with $5 cart rental which is reasonable). That's 50 rounds and some extra mulligans for practice. Takes about 1 hour to complete. $50/hour is pretty high.

Anonymous said...

Law enforcement officers by the hundreds get either free entry or steep departmental discounts at these state ranges. The objective is to force the public to quit using them, thereby making them available only to MDWFP employees and LEO.

Anonymous said...

Local, as in Rankin County, costs of private shooting ranges are much higher in cost as daily, monthly or yearly memberships. MDWFP prices are still affordable and ran by by regulated authority.

Anonymous said...

Turcotte only closes for open to the public events for great programs for youth. I can;’t take complaints from this too seriously. Many states do not support shooting g camps, fairs or competitions at all. I am proud the MDWFP still offers this for youth.

Anonymous said...

Went up there with the kids day before Easter and was shocked at the price and when they said $20 for golf cart I like to have sh.. I said I play golf all over and 90% less than that for 18 holes and I was told WELL JUST WALK. I did I walked back to the car with the kids and left. I have gone up there several times but no more I will not go and pay that much.

Anonymous said...

4:30 - Do you think MDWFP offers programs for youth (including allowing them to hunt and fish without a license prior to age 12) simply because of their interest in youth? Of course not. The goal is to round them up, gain their interest and know they will then purchase licenses for the next sixty years.

Deb said...

Sorry sorry MDWFP the multi millionaire commissioners have destroyed everything they touch. I bet everyone is worth millions. They are on the board to make more money off us. Went up there with the kids Saturday before Easter and I almost sh.. when told cart would be $20 each and I said I play lots of golf and most all that I play are $18 or less for 18 Holes they said well you can walk if you dont like the price so I did we walked back to the care and took the kids home disappointed but called a friend and went to his place with my single skeet thrower and a box of skeet had a great time. Not only are carts high I think a 400% increase from last year $5 to $20 but I think the skeet went from 5 cents to 35 cents they are crazy

Anonymous said...

Reading Kingfish notes about cost of other states it seems we are the highest with least options they just lied to us the dumb public. Trying to generate money for all the dumb s they are doing! Our WMAs are the worse around they spend 80 million on some land that was completely flooded when they bought it last year and is completely flooded now just so Phil Bryant could have it named after him. Fix what we have it is a disgrace and no we don’t need to spend tax dollars to fix it all they will do is buy more with it and ask for more. Best thing they can do is sell some of their assets and fix what they have and make it nice. We have more public land and WMAs Per Capita than almost any state but they are all a disgrace I would rather have half as much and they be something we as Mississippians could be proud of.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shad White,
This will be painful. But you need to investigate your Governor's friend Scott Coopwood and Rosedale.
Grow a pair.
Sportsmen and women of Mississippi

Anonymous said...

They're the only game in town. They do it because...they can. This agency is untouchable, just like PRVWSD. Politically appointed and politically driven. Everything they touch is driven by politics. Consider all the politicians' names on parks, lakes, trails, shooting ranges, buildings. If you're a politician in Mississippi and manage to retire without going to jail, your name will certainly wind up on a building somewhere. Or a sign.

Anonymous said...

Is golf cart rental now $20 for the sporting clays range?

Its a nice place and the guys who run it are pretty good guys. Jad & Reno. They do help the youth and do host charitable events that go to good causes. I cant bash that. But for a state run course, most likely paid for by tax dollars, and have tax dollars allocated for its annual expenditures, to increase fees closly aligned to private facility prices seems a bit like a for profit operation.

And yes, the whole commission is crooked. I wonder how much that ATCO land went down in price after the whole CWD and shooting all the deer fiasco happened. We've always had sick deer, possibly CWD. We just have better means to test these days.

Kingfish said...

Golf cart fees are reasonable compared to other states.

Anonymous said...

Hate to lose the annual pass option. Still $5 for cart rental as I understand (at least at Turcotte). Have had nothing but great experiences there. Exceptional facility. Professional and friendly staff, quick to offer instruction and correct shooters when necessary in re safety. Surprised it was as affordable as it was all this time. Sporting clays course/golf carts are substantially nicer than Providence. Highly recommend checking it out if you haven't yet...but don't forget your wallet.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish: You fail to see the larger picture. It's not about golf cart fees - It's about government competing with the private sector for profit.

We shouldn't celebrate 'competitive pricing' as long as salaries, equipment, vehicles, structures, facilities, roads, utilities and general overhead are all paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify one point. MDWFP ranges are NOT supported by taxpayer dollars. The department is funded by license sales and Pittman Robertson dollars. It’s entertaining, yet also extremely frustrating to read the comments of individuals that THINK they know what they are talking about. My recommendation is to be informed before you develop an opinion or state something as a fact. It’s expensive to operate any business and ranges are no exception. The MDWFP range prices help cover cost so that those ranges can be open to the public in a safe and effective manner. I can assure you that they are not turning a profit at the expense of the taxpayer. How can I assure you of that you might ask? Because I run a business that is regulated by state government that makes me intimate with the enormous amount of regulations in place to ensure that abuse doesn’t take place.

What is the Pittman-Robertson Act?
In the early 1900s, when many wildlife species were disappearing or declining, the firearms and ammunition industry asked Congress to impose an excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition to help fund wildlife conservation in the United States. The resulting Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Act, passed in 1937, is now known as Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration. Revenues generated from these excise taxes are apportioned to state wildlife agencies for their conservation efforts, hunter education programs, and operation of archery and shooting ranges. In the 76 years since its inception, over $7 billion have been collected from manufacturers and has been made available to states, including over $116 million to Mississippi. This partnership of hunters and sport shooters with the firearms and ammunition industry is by far America's largest contributor to wildlife conservation and public access to our natural resources.

How does the Pittman-Robertson Act work?
The excise tax is set by law at 11% of the wholesale price for long guns and ammunition and 10% for handguns. It is paid by manufacturers, producers, and importers and applies to all commercial sales and imports, whether their purpose is hunting, sport shooting, or personal defense. This tax is handled by the Department of the Treasury, which turns the funds over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for apportionments to states.

Yes, I copied that straight from MDWFP’s webpage.

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