Less than a year ago, hunters and other recreational shooters who needed places to sight-in their long guns or put in practice time on the range had few options. Those that were available, all two of them, were private clubs requiring membership and associated fees. And the indoor ranges in town generally are not set up to handle rifles, let alone provide the distance needed to sight-in a hunting rifle at 200 yards or more. The reason for that should be obvious.
Since there were no public facilities, most of us simply would head out to a favorite place in the desert and set up our impromptu shooting ranges and go to work. Though most of us were responsible and kept safety in mind, some shooters weren’t as conscientious, and their actions created public safety concerns. Moreover, the population growth in Clark County in the past 20 years made the use of these traditional shooting locations inappropriate.
What we had was a need for a public shooting facility. Then, in December, that need was met when the gates at the new Clark County Shooting Park opened to the public. Since then, the facility has seen constant use, as far fewer people shoot in the desert, where they might have to worry about breaking the law or the integrity of their backstop.
Years ago, I was taught that to be successful in business you first have to identify a need and fill it. Then you have to cultivate the market and improve your product to meet your customers’ further needs. There was a bona fide need in Clark County, and the shooting park filled that need, but it will take time for its customer base to grow. It also will take a monetary investment in marketing efforts. So any talk of privatization or closure of the shooting park is more than a little premature.
■ NEVADA SPORTSMAN’S ROUNDTABLE — "Your presence is requested at the Nevada Sportsman’s Roundtable, an important discussion of some of the key issues affecting Nevada Sportsman."
That invitation was sent via e-mail to select Southern Nevada sportsmen last week with a request that the initial recipients forward the summons on to others. Its author is Eric Petlock, field coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, one of the event’s sponsors. Agenda items include energy development on Nevada’s public lands, special land designations such as wilderness and national conservation areas, wild horses and burros and their impact on wildlife habitat, sage grouse, wildfires and invasive species, and Second Amendment rights.
"This event is being organized to bring leaders from Nevada’s sportsman’s community together, along with state and federal agency leaders and elected representatives to discuss some very important issues. The issues to be discussed will impact the future of hunting and fishing in Nevada. We hope this roundtable will help bring sportsman and sportsman’s organizations together for a lively discussion," the invitation read.
The roundtable will be at 6 p.m. today at Bass Pro Shops, 8200 S. Dean Martin Drive. Joining the National Wildlife Federation as event sponsors are the Coalition for Nevada’s Wildlife and the Desert-Las Vegas Chapter of Safari Club International.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His "In the Outdoors" column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at email@example.com.