Ross Huffman, Wildlife Program, (509) 406-5949
Staci Lehman, Public Affairs, (509) 710-4511
YAKIMA – The Sheep Company Road shooting range on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Wenas Wildlife Area near Selah has reopened for public use. The range was closed for updates recommended by a volunteer advisory committee, several of which make it more accessible for people of all abilities.
“With help from our partners, the range is now a place that can be used and enjoyed by all,” said WDFW South Central region Director Mike Livingston.
Upgrades to the site include a new gravel road and parking lot, ADA-compliant packed gravel paths, new signs marking designated ranges of 25 yards for pistols and 100 yards for rifles, ranges for shotguns and other long-range shooting, side berms and backstops. There are also ADA accessible tables for the 25-yard range and better stormwater drainage for improved protection of wildlife habitat.
Many of the improvements are the result of help from community members and organizations. Local business Western Materials donated $5,000 in wood for target stands. Local Master Hunter Ken Gray donated his time to build the stands, and several other Master Hunters are ready to keep the range stocked with target stands. The Washington Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation donated money for shooting benches and tables to be installed in the next few months, and the Yakima Training Center Range staff provided range design reviews and analysis to determine the impact area surrounding the range. Taxpayers contributed as well through capital funds that went to this project.
“We couldn’t have made this happen without the dedicated people of this community who saw the importance of a facility like this,” said Livingston. “We want to thank all the individuals and groups that helped.”
Target shooters will need to bring targets and a staple gun to attach their paper target, and until benches are installed, users will need to bring their own benches or tables. Wildlife area manager Cindi Confer Morris is pleased to get the public back on the range but asks people to take care of it by packing out what they bring in and observing social distancing from other parties while using it.
“We understand that the outdoors is one of the best and safest places to be right now,” she said. “We ask the users to do their part to keep the shooting range safe and clean for themselves and others. Increased use of WDFW properties this past year has put a lot of pressure on facilities. We need the public’s help to maintain this range in good condition so that everyone can enjoy it.”
Confer Morris also asks that all people who use the wildlife area be aware of each other. That includes shooters being cognizant of other people recreating and recreationists being aware of their proximity to the shooting range.
Range hours are sunrise to sunset. Use is on a first come, first serve basis. Principles for how to safely target shoot are posted at the entrance to the site.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.