Utahns love their guns.
They love them for protection. They love them for hunting. They love them for sport shooting. And they love collecting them.
So it figures that the home state of gun inventor John Browning and a place with a state gun should also feature a number of good shooting facilities?
Perhaps, but not necessarily everywhere.
A few ranges, such as the Lee Kay Center in Salt Lake City, the North Springs Shooting Range in Price, the Cache Valley Hunter Education complex in Logan and the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park in Hurricane rank with the best in the country.
Others feature only shotgun sports such as trap and skeet. A few towns boast short indoor ranges, often at private gun shops. Some facilities are functional but primitive. And some unofficial shooting areas are simply out in desert areas, something that is causing some concern among public land managers due to litter and safety worries.
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said more and better ranges are needed in Utah.
"If you built more ranges, people would end up filling them," he said. "We need a range in the Draper-Bluffdale-Riverton area and in the Lehi/Eagle Mountain area. I'd like to see one much farther west than the Lee Kay Center. There is a lot of land out there."
Woody Powell, president of the Utah State Rifle and Pistol Association, has been trying to find a place for a new shooting range west of Utah Lake since 1995, with no luck, though he sees a ray of hope that it could happen in the next two or three years.
He estimates that 70 percent of Utah's population owns a gun, with that stat jumping to 80 percent in rural parts of the state.
For Powell, who coaches and teaches shooting, the sport is a challenge.
"It's a demonstration of skills," he said. "People enjoy seeing how good they are and whether they can master the principles of shooting. I teach a marksmanship class at the University of Utah, and the bulk of participants are new shooters who have never had their fingers around a firearm. They are taking the class to learn something about shooting."
For many Salt Lake Valley shooters, the Lee Kay Center in western Salt Lake City is the place to go. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the facility offers rifle, pistol, muzzleloading, archery, cowboy action, trap, skeet and five-stand ranges as well as a large dog training area and hunter education classrooms. A 65-unit campground with hookups is in the planning stages.
The facility hosts about 40,000 shooters a year.
"This is a nice place," said Mike Smith, of Sandy, who brings his shotgun to the Lee Kay Center trap and skeet range about once a week. "It's convenient and local. They keep making improvements to it. It's a fun place to shoot. They have everything I need."
Tom Griffiths, of West Jordan, said he enjoys the people he meets at the range, including those who operate the facility.
Some, like brothers Michael and Jeff Wolfe, of Salt Lake, use the trap and skeet range to hone their shotgun skills for duck and pheasant hunting. The two were out practicing last week to prepare for a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota.
Fifteen-year-old Dominik Valdez, of West Valley City, was working with his father, Richard, to sight in his grandfather's deer rifle in anticipation of the deer hunt. He said he liked the center because it was not too expensive and is a nice facility.
Lee Kay center manager Herm Rackl said that the busy season usually comes before the big game hunts, when there is sometimes a short waiting period, especially on the big bore range.
Assistant manager Brent Epperson added that Salt Lake area shooters were fortunate to have a facility so close to a major population center. If such ranges are available near major cities, they are usually a 35- to 40-minute drive out of town.
The Utah Shooting Sports Council and Division of Wildlife Resources maintain lists of ranges around the state.
firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @tribtomwharton Utah shooting ranges by the county
Salt Lake County
Lee Kay Center • 6000 W. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-972-1326. Facilities include smallbore rifle, 50-foot; pistol 15 to 50 yards, muzzleloading range, 100-, 200-, and 300-yard ranges, trap, skeet, archery, airgun, five stands, cowboy action, hunter education classrooms, and dog training ponds. Fee is $5 to shoot ($2 for supervised juniors), $5 a round for 25 birds for shotgun, $10 a year for dog training area. Hours, Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed Monday, Tuesday and holidays.
Impact Arms Indoor Range • 4075 W. 4715 South, 801-967-8005, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., http://www.impactguns.com.
Hendriksen Range • 1-80 Exit 134 in Parleys Canyon, 801-582-6438. Police range open to public for nominal fee.
Doug's Shooting Sports • 4926 S. Redwood Road, 801-966-1802. Indoor pistol and rifle, fee $8, hours 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Magna Gun Club • 4006 S. 8400 West, 801-250-9818, includes trap, skeet and sporting clays.
Get Some Guns & Ammo • 6651 S. State, Murray, 801-562-1222, rifle and pistol ranges with gun rentals available.
Bountiful Lions Junior Rifle Club • 61 S. 700 East, Bountiful. Facilities include 25-yard outdoor pistol range, 25- to 200-yard outdoor rifle range with 11 benches, and five trap houses. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Cost is $6 to nonmembers. Go to http://www.e-clubhouse.org or call 801-298-0301.
Centerville Small Arms Range • Includes outdoor rifle to 600 yards. Go to http://www.centervillesmallarms.org or call 801-295-2740.
Hill Rod and Gun Club • on Hill Air Force Base, 801-777-6767, open Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Wahsatch Shooters Association Public Range • Fruit Heights, open in winter Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Cost is $7 for non-members. Range includes 25-, 50-, 75- and 100-yard setups. Go to http://www.wahsatchshooters.com or call 801-544-9920.
North Springs Shooting Complex • 5245 S. 8000 West, Price, is among Utah's newest and nicest facilities. It includes a cowboy action shooting town with 15 buildings, nine shooting bays and over 300 steel targets. The 640-acre complex also includes 1,000-, 600- and 100-yard ranges with covered shooting benches, a 12-bay pistol shooting range, a 110-target archery range and campground. Frees are $5 per day and free for those under 16. Go to http://www.carbon.utah.gov or call 435-636-3705.
East Carbon City Range • 435-888-4466.
Box Elder County
Golden Spike Trap Club • 1430 W. 330 South, Brigham City. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Fee is $6 for nonmembers. Go to http://www.goldenspiketrapclub.com or call 435-723-3427.
Box Elder Wildlife Federation Tremonton Range • Includes pistol ranges at 25, 50 and 75 yards, rifle at 100 and 300 yards, muzzleloading and archery range. Call 435-734-2612 for information.
Box Elder Wildlife Federation Range (members Only) • Mantua, includes outdoor rifle, 25- to 100 yards, and pistol up to 50 feet. Call 435-723-5711 for information.
Cedar City Trap Club • Kitty Hawk Way, 1150 W. 1200 North, Cedar City. Contact Jack Matheson, 435-586-8921.
Three Peaks Shooting Range • The range has a 300-yard range with plans for pistol, smallbore and 1,000-yard ranges. Drive west from Cedar City's Main Street on Highway 56 (200 North). After 5.3 miles, turn right on Iron Springs Road. Go 5.4 miles to a dirt road, turn right. After two miles, the range will be on the left. Call 435-477-8300 for information.
Fillmore DWR Range • For rifle, pistol and trap, two miles east of Fillmore. Call 801-538-4700 for information.
Delta City Public Shooting Range • Four miles east of Delta on Highway 6, mile marker 94. Pistol and rifle. Call 435-864-2759 for information.
Green River Shooting Sports Park • Includes archery, cowboy action, long range rifle, pistol and trap ranges. Go to http://www.grshootingpark.com or call 435-564-8147.
Gunnison Range • Located on U.S. 89 north of Gunnison. The short and long ranges can be seen from the highway.
Big Hollow Rifle and Pistol Shooting Range • Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, near Heber City. Go to http://www.bighollowgunrange.com or call 801-491-5657.
Heber Valley Gun Club • located at end of Big Hollow Road in Heber City. Go to http://www.hebervalleygunclub.net or call 435-640-1927.
Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park • Washington County Fairgrounds, 5500 W. 700 South, Hurricane, includes shotgun, five stand, rifle, pistol, cowboy action, sporting clays and archery. Go to http://www.sussp.net or call 800-847-2190.
Kamas Valley Lions Club • Two miles west of Kamas, open range trap shooting. Call 435-783-5218.
Kane County Range • Five miles north of Kanab on the west side of Highway 89, includes pistol to 50 yards and rifle to 100 yards. Call 435-644-5053.
Ogden Gun Club • 8805 S. 2000 West, Willard. This is a trapshooting facility. Go to http://www.ogdengunclub.com or call 801-782-3556.
Impact Guns and Range • 2710 S. 1900 West, Ogden. Facilities include 25-yard indoor pistol and 25-yard indoor rifle. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Go to http://www.impactguns.com or call 801-393-2474.
Weber Wildlife Federation Range • Liberty, contact Kents Shooters Supply in Ogden at 801-394-8487.
Cache Valley Hunter Education • 2851 W. 200 North, three miles west of Logan. Facilities include an indoor 50-foot range, indoor 50-foot archery range, outdoor 50-foot pistol range, outdoor 25-50 range, outdoor 100-300 rifle range, outdoor 50-yard archery range, five specialty bays for cowboy action and trap, skeet, five-stand, sporting clays and riverside skeet. Call 435-753-4600 for information.
Provo City Rifle and Pistol Range • Located on Squaw Peak Road, includes rifle and pistol ranges. Patrons need to bring their own targets and target holders. Neither range is fully developed with no shelter. Call 801-852-6600 for information.
Provo Gun Club Shotgun Range • Located 1.5 miles up the Squaw Peak Road from Provo Canyon. Includes trap shooting, sporting clays, skeet and 5-stand facilities. Call 801-437-0595 for information.
Hobble Creek Shooting Range • Near Springville, includes indoor rifle and pistol, outdoor rifle to 200 yards, pistol and blackpowder. Members only, though public use is allowed when supervisor is on site. Call 801-798-6444 for information.
Spanish Fork Gun Club • 2445 Spanish Oaks Drive. Trap shooting only. Facilities include 13 traps with voice release and RV hookups. Go to http://www.spanishfork.org.
Orem Fitness Center • 50-foot pistol-rifle range, with five stations. Participants much bring own targets. For information or reservations, go to http://www.oremrecreation.com or call 801-229-7154.
Rangemasters of Utah • Spring Creek Industrial Park, 712 W. 1300 North, Springville. The range features interactive high-tech targets in addition to paper targets for indoor rifle and pistol to 25 yards. Go to http://www.rangemasters.com or call 801-491-0909.
Pleasant Grove Sportsmen Club • 601 E. Center St., in basement of Sportsmen and Lions Building. Facility is a 50-foot indoor range suitable for .22 rimfire rifles, most centerfire pistols and air rifles. Call 801-796-6605 for information.
The Maple Dell Scout Camp • near Payson. Facilities include outdoor rifle and rifle silhouette ranges. Call 801-373-4185.
Nephi Gun Club • Three miles west of Motel 6 at south end of Nephi. Facilities include five trap fields. Go to http://www.nephigunclub.com or call 435-623-5431.
Elsinore Range • Has 100-, 200-, 300- and 600-yard ranges and 50- and 100-yard pistol ranges. For information, call 435-896-5692.
Sevier Valley Gun Club • 1000 N. State, Aurora, is a trap shooting range. Call 435-896-7189 for information.
Vernal Rod & Gun Club • Three miles northwest of Vernal. The club features 13 trap fields, two lighted; a 15-point handgun and .22 rifle range, 127 camper spaces, a clubhouse and 8,000-square-foot lodge. Call 435-789-0418 for information.
Wendover range • At the Historic Wendover Airforce Base includes high-power ranges to 1,000 yards.
San Juan County
Blanding City Shooting Range • 435-459-4420.
Dutch John Range • For pistol and rifle, 801-625-5306.
Manila Town Range • Rifle and pistol, 435-784-3255.
Emery Town Gun Range • 435-749-7086.
Panguitch City Shooting range • Rifle, pistol, trap and skeet.
Bicknell Shooting Range • Rifle and pistol.
Sources: Utah Shooting Sports Council, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources