DEC recently announced the opening of the Saratoga Sand Plains Archery Range on a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in the Town of Wilton, NY, stating “(its) the first of its kind in New York State and will provide a unique recreational opportunity for both novice and expert bow hunters and archers.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos declared, “DEC’s first-ever archery range, Saratoga Sand Plains will encourage more New Yorkers to take up archery as a sport and help prepare hunters for the hunting season.
New and experienced bow and crossbow users will appreciate this opportunity to enjoy the recreational aspects of New York’s archery heritage. The range will also benefit the local community, and DEC thanks the town of Wilton and our other partners for their help to develop and open this new facility.”
The range sports 16 targets; eight adult lanes ranging from 15 to 50 yards, four youth lanes from five to 20 yards, and four lanes accessed by an elevated platform ranging up to 40 yards.
“The elevated platform simulates shots from a tree stand when deer hunting and allows archers to practice shots from known yardages and angles, promoting safer shot placements for both urban and rural settings. Archers must use a full body harness and connect to the carabiners on the platform while using the elevated stand.”
Construction of the range shows what can be accomplished when local, state, and federal agencies work together toward a worthwhile common goal. It was funded with approximately $15,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program, New York State, and the town of Wilton.
DEC said it worked closely with the town of Wilton on all phases of the project with the town donating time, materials, and town equipment to help clear trees and stumps, build the parking area, and construct the elevated platform.
“Wildlife Restoration funding is an important resource for state fish and wildlife agencies to provide safe and clean public target shooting opportunities,” said Richard Zane, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who advised DEC on this project.
“These target ranges are great places for families to participate in outdoor activities and are important in local communities and youth programs as well.”
Wilton Town Supervisor John Lant said, “This archery park is a great amenity to have for the sport enthusiast in our area and for the residents of Wilton. It has been a pleasure working with DEC on this project.”
Wilton Director of Planning and Engineering Ryan Riper added, “The archery project is an example of a successful joint effort between DEC and the municipality for the benefit of the community.
Both entities have been working over the last couple years to bring this into fruition. I hope this project will foster other like-minded recreational enhancements in our area for the public enjoyment.”
The archery range is close to several schools that participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) and is a convenient location for the Saratoga County 4H Shooting Sports Program and DEC’s bowhunter education classes.
Bill Schwerd, Association Executive Director for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County and NYS 4-H Shooting Sports Director, is a strong supporter of youth shooting sports and other programs. Bill said of the project,
“Youth, and especially families will enjoy the opportunities that the range provides. Melissa Neeley, DEC Region 5 Hunter Education Coordinator had the dream, and her team have worked long and hard to make the range a reality creating a safe environment for shooters of all ages.
Opening just prior to the 2021 Summer Olympics I expect that participation will grow as Olympic archery disciplines will introduce archery to a new generation of shooters.
Congratulations to all who have made the range possible. I am looking forward to many more across New York.”
Melissa Neely, a Senior Wildlife Biologist and Regional Hunter Education Coordinator for DEC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Resources, designed the parcel to create a safe recreational area for the community while prioritizing hunters and archers.
The archery range is open and maintained year-round for public use. To protect public safety, the following rules and regulations apply:
The range is only open during daylight hours, except by permit;
No alcoholic beverages allowed;
Arrows may only be nocked onto the bowstring when standing on the shooting line preparing to shoot;
Shooting is allowed only from the shooting line and only into the designated targets;
Shooters are allowed to bring and shoot at a paper target placed on an existing target as long as it is removed from the range once an individual has finished shooting. Personal targets are not allowed on range, except by permit;
Bows must be hung on the bow hanger behind the shooting line when waiting to shoot or while archers are down range retrieving arrows. No shooting shall be allowed while anyone is down range;
All persons are to remain behind the shooting line while shooting is taking place;
Arrows from bows of 30-pound draw weight or more may only be shot into the targets on the adult range. Arrows from bows of less than 30-pound draw weight may be shot into targets on the youth or adult range;
Only arrows with field or target points may be used or possessed on range. No broadheads may be possessed on the range, except by permit;
All individuals standing on or utilizing the elevated platform must wear a full body harness, including shoulder and leg straps, and attach themselves to the appropriate safety cable carabineer; and
There are no trash receptacles on site. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it at home.
Happy Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping until next time.
News and Notes
Local bass tournament results are in: Bill Johnson announced the results of the first Lake Taghkanic Bass Tournament are as follows — First place went to the father and son team of Gerry and Chris Damm of Elizaville with 14.38 lbs.
In second place, Ben Hart and Todd Shook of Columbiaville weighed in with 13.07 lbs. and third place went to Brett Holmes and Justin Brantley of Claverack with 11.10 lbs. Lunker was caught by Ben Hart weighed in at 4.35 lbs.
The next tournament is scheduled for Saturday, July 17 from 4-11 a.m. Entry is $40.00 per person and includes lunker prize entry. Weigh-in is at West Beach. 100 % pay-out for 1st place, 30% for 2nd 25%, 20% for 4th and 15% for 5th 10% with 6th place winning their entry fee back.
Tournament rules are five fish per boat, fish must be alive at weigh-in, live bait is allowed. Boats must have a live-well. For more information call Bill Johnson at (518) 537-5455.
Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.
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