Transferring control of federal lands would devastate hunting and fishing

The recent movement to do away with the concept of federal lands has nothing to do with freedom. It’s just the opposite—and would change hunting and fishing as we know it

By Hal Herring

Field and Stream

“We have to do this,” Blaine Cooper told me in a rush. “The BLM lit a fire to burn this ranch down because they want the uranium that’s under it! The left blew up buildings, killed people, enslaved people to make this wildlife refuge!”

Cooper was sitting behind the wheel of a white pickup, heater blasting, and talking to me through the open window. It was the middle of last January, maybe 12 degrees above, here at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, with day just breaking over a universe of frost-whitened sagebrush and 6 inches of old snow.

Duane Ehmer, riding by on his cow horse, Hellboy, was dressed for duty in a furry cap with earflaps and an old red, white, and blue leather jacket and well-worn chaps, plus a cap-and-ball Colt pistol. The big American flag he carried barely moved in the ice-fogged stillness. Later in the day, Ehmer would tell me that he believed that the federal government had “taken away the land from good-hearted American people,” and that soon enough, our public lands would be sold off to help pay the U.S. debt to China. He was worried that he would have no place to hunt or ride his horse if and when that happened. He seemed like a good guy, the kind of person who would be handy to have with you on a tough job, or in a backcountry camp.

I went to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to meet these militants who had taken over the refuge headquarters and talk to them about what they were doing, and why they were so opposed to the public lands that are the sole reason I moved to the West 26 years ago and raised a family here. Cooper and some of his companions seemed to be lost in a shadow world of conspiracy theories, falsehoods, and boilerplate antigovernment fury.

But the friendly Ehmer was at least half correct. There is indeed a carefully crafted movement under way to rob Americans of their public lands. It’s a movement led not by armed and ranting men decked out in militia getups, nor the Ammon Bundy types in their cowboy hats, but by soft-handed politicians in business attire, dreaming of riches and a transformation of our country that will bring us into line with the rest of a crowded world where only the elite and the very lucky have access to wildlife, open spaces, rivers and lakes, and the kind of freedom that we have for so long taken for granted.

Randy Newberg, one of America’s most outspoken public-land ­hunter- ­conservationists, points out that transferring control of public lands to the states, or to private hands, is not a political issue—it’s an American issue. “So many people I talk with just don’t seem to know what is at stake,” says Newberg. “The idea of our public lands, in public hands, is one of the greatest contributions that America ever gave to the world—that we the people are invested in our own lands. It’s part of our democracy, and it is exactly what gave birth to the American conservation movement that made us the envy of the world.”

The Great Land Rescue

At Malheur, none of the occupiers I spoke with knew the history of what they claimed to be opposing. Here’s the short version: Homestead acts beginning in 1862 awarded more than 270 million acres of land (about 10 percent of the nation’s land area) to tough, optimistic settlers who staked their claims from the Midwest to the Pacific Ocean (the only requirement was being able to prove that you had never taken up arms against the U.S. government). The Railroad Act of 1862 was the first of a series of grants that gave away another 175 million public acres (much of it timberlands that could supply railroad ties and other materials) to encourage railroad companies to build the transportation infrastructure that would complete the settling of the West. In the rough-and-tumble closing of the American frontier in the late 19th century, millions of acres that were too remote, dry, or rugged for settlement or other uses went unclaimed. These lands were subjected to a ruthless free-for-all of mining, logging, and grazing that left much of the landscape unusable, and the wildlife threatened with extinction.

It was a dire situation, and the American solution was unique to the world at the time: President Benjamin Harrison set aside the first “forest reserves” from these unclaimed lands in 1891, to protect the mountain headwaters of major rivers that supplied navigation and irrigation. Between 1901 and 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt expanded these reserves, now known as the national forests, to almost 148 million acres. Later, as unclaimed rangelands were severely overgrazed, the Bureau of Land Management was created to restore and oversee 245 million acres of that unclaimed land, which included millions of heavily degraded acres abandoned by homesteaders who had tried and failed to make them produce enough crops or livestock to survive. We were left with 640 million acres of public land—land that has become the cornerstone of American outdoor recreation and represents the best public hunting and fishing country in the world.

From the beginning, the idea of a vast public estate, and especially Roosevelt’s dramatic expansion of the national forests, was greeted with unmitigated scorn by many powerful Westerners. The ruthless Gilded Age robber baron William A. Clark, who built his fortune on Montana’s timber and copper, was allied with Idaho’s Sen. Weldon B. Heyburn and Colorado’s Rep. Herschel M. Hogg, a mining magnate, to block every attempt at creating public lands or conserving natural resources of any kind. Clark often said, “Those who succeed us can well take care of themselves.”

The Move to Privatize

In the 1950s, as restoration efforts on BLM and U.S. Forest Service public lands began to improve grazing conditions and reestablish cutover forests, the movement to take these lands began to build. In 1955, the renowned Western historian Bernard DeVoto wrote that “the ultimate objective is to liquidate all public ownership of grazing and forest land in the United States…the plan is to get rid of public lands altogether, turning them over to the states, which can be coerced as the federal government cannot be, and eventually into private ownership.”

The Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and ’80s was sparked by changes in federal land-management policies mandated by Congress that, in part, required surveys of possible new wilderness areas and studies of the effects of grazing and timbering on wildlife, fish, and recreation. The Sagebrush Rebellion, whose supporters wanted more state and local control of those lands—if not actual transfer of the lands to the states, or outright privatization—had widespread support across the rural West. Even Ronald Reagan, on the campaign trail in Utah in 1980, claimed, “I happen to be one who cheers and supports the Sagebrush Rebellion. Count me in as a rebel.”

But the ranchers who were leading the movement began to recognize the possible consequences of individual states taking over management of federal lands. The repercussions would have included the most radical expansion of state government in history to deal with the administration of such marginally productive lands, as well as increased taxes to support it, grazing fees that would rise as much as tenfold, and finally, the inevitable sell-off of most of the lands to private interests that would almost certainly not include the Sagebrush Rebels. It would actually mean the end of small-scale ranching in the arid West.

The precedents then were as clear as spring water—and they are just as clear today:

  • Nevada was given 2.7 million acres of federal land when it became a state in 1864. All but 3,000 acres of that has been sold off.
  • Utah has already sold more than 50 percent of the lands granted to it at statehood.
  • Idaho has sold off 41 percent of its state lands since gaining statehood in 1890, which equates to 13,500 acres per year going into private hands.

And the history of land under state ownership is not good. A report by Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a national sportsmen’s conservation group, cites these figures:

  • In Colorado, only 20 percent of state trust lands are open to the public for hunting and fishing.
  • To help ease budget woes in Wisconsin, the state is currently in the process of selling off 10,000 acres of state-owned land.
  • In Oregon, as timber revenue from it has declined, the state has been forced to auction off the 92,000-acre Elliot State Forest. Oregon was originally granted 3.4 million acres and has only 776,000 acres left.
  • In Idaho, a European-esque hunt club has leased state land for exclusive hunting rights.

The Modern Land Grabbers

The new leaders of the so-called “divestiture movement” are not ranchers, at least not in the conventional sense. They are inspired by the work of theorists and political appointees like Terry L. Anderson, who wrote “How and Why to Privatize Federal Lands” in 1999. They are men like Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, of the American Lands Council, a group advocating for the transfer of public lands to the states. Ivory, who sponsored legislation that would do just that, told reporters that the transfer of the lands was “like having your hands on the lever of a new Louisiana Purchase.” (Of course, in the Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. actually bought 827 million acres from France, paying $15 million. Ivory makes no mention of buying any public land from the American people who currently own and use it.)

Rep. Ivory is not a rancher. He represents the district of West Jordan, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City, but he knows where the money is in American land. His group receives funding from Americans for Prosperity, the main political advocacy arm of Charles and David Koch, of Koch Industries. Ivory’s bill, the 2012 Transfer of Public Lands Act, has been followed by similar bills in the legislatures of 10 Western states. The Utah legislature has passed a resolution to spend $14 million of Utah taxpayers’ money on a lawsuit against the federal government, demanding transfer of all public lands within the state.

“The difference between the land grabbers today and in past years is that they are much more organized than ever before. There is a lot more money behind them than there ever has been,” says Land Tawney, the executive director of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

The public lands that were once viewed as useless have now attained fantastic value, on a planet of 7.3 billion people, in the ­fastest- growing developed nation on earth. Dramatic, huge-scale private land holdings across the nation have become the norm, from the recent purchase of 330,000 acres of ranchland in the Missouri Breaks of Montana by the Texas-based Wilks brothers, to Ted Turner’s 2 million acres, the Koch brothers’ 200,000- acre Montana ranch, or the Mormon Church’s ownership of 650,000 acres in Florida and a 201,000-acre ranch along the Wyoming-Utah border. There is little doubt that there would be a huge demand for U.S. public lands, both from our own wealthy residents, from investors, and from ­resource- ­stressed nations like Saudi Arabia and China.

Basic natural resources are most at risk. “Think about the water we’d lose access to if these lands were privatized—70 percent of the headwaters of our streams and rivers in the West are on public lands,” Tawney says. “That is why the lands were set aside in the first place. We knew that under federal management we’d be able to harvest timber and still protect the water resources. With private ownership, there was no guarantee.”

And “no guarantee” applies to hunting and fishing, too, Tawney says. “The transfer of these lands to state control would change American hunting forever. State lands have an entirely different set of rules for management. And private lands are mostly not accessible for the average hunter. The experiment, unique to our country, where the fish and wildlife and the public lands belong to the people, well, that would be the end of that.”

For Randy Newberg, whose TV shows On Your Own Adventures and Fresh Tracks are based on nonguided public-lands hunting, the transfer or privatization of public lands is what he calls a “cold dead hands” issue. “I will never give up fighting this terrible idea,” says Newberg, who has represented hunters in Congress and state legislatures. “For me, America without public lands is no longer America.”

The way to fight it? Contact your congressional representatives. “Tell them you want no part in these schemes to transfer or get rid of our public lands,” says Land Tawney. “The system works. Your voice still counts as an American. But only if you use it.”

Renovation begins at Neosho Wildlife Area


Neosho Wildlife Area is getting a much-needed makeover. An extensive renovation project that has been in the works for nine years began this summer. Enhancements to the aging infrastructure on the waterfowl management area near St. Paul will be completed in two or three phases over a two-year period. Funding for the project will come from the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, which is derived from excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment, and a grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.


Phase 1 will subdivide Pool 4 with a new levee and include new water control structures. The levee in Pool 2 will be removed and a new parking area and two new boat ramps will be constructed. The old water control structures will be replaced and new ones will be joined into the new pumping system. Rip-rap will be placed along the refuge levee and ¾ of a mile of 24-inch pipe with butterfly valves will be installed to allow each pool to be flooded independently.


Other Phase 1 projects include installing a new pump at the confluence of Flat Rock Creek and the Neosho River. The new pump will operate on a variable frequency drive and pump 2,000 to 12,000 gallons per minute (GPM), depending on river flows and management objectives. Flows from the old 10,000 GPM pump cannot be varied.


During the renovation work this fall, the marsh will hold very little water. Pool 1, 2 and 4 will be kept dry while dirtwork is completed and the pipeline is installed. The South Unit will be pumped with water as long as river conditions meet Department of Water Resources permit requirements. Pool 5 will not be affected by Phase 1 activities and could hold water if conditions allow it to be filled. Control structures will be closed after contractual crops are harvested on pools that rely on runoff and they could fill with sufficient rain.


The 3,246-acre Neosho Wildlife Area was purchased by the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission in 1959, and it opened to waterfowl hunters in 1962. In 2015, the wildlife area hosted 3,188 hunters, who harvested 5,432 ducks.

Youth learn outdoor skills at unique fair in Osborne

There’s no better place for kids to learn outdoor skills than the Annual Northcentral Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair in Osborne on Sept. 10. And there may not be anything like this one-day, fun-filled event, which is free of charge and open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to youth ages 17 and younger (all those 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult).

Activities include archery, wingshooting, flyfishing, rifle and muzzleloader shooting, canoeing, dog handling, trapping, whittling, biking and many others. Youth must be registered by 11 a.m. the day of the event to be provided lunch and an opportunity to win door prizes, including a lifetime hunting license, hunting and fishing trips, and a weekend at an area lake cabin.

Archery hunters 14 and older are invited to bring their bows for tune-ups. All other equipment and supplies are provided at no charge.

The Northcentral Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair is made possible by the Osborne County Pheasants Forever Chapter, Osborne Gun Club, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Nex-Tech, and the Keith Hahn Memorial.

For more information, contact Cleo Hahn at (785) 346-4541, John Cockerham at (785) 346-6527, or Chris Lecuyer at (785) 218-7818.

USFWS plan to expand hunting, fishing on wildlife refuges provides important access


Katie McKalip

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Enhanced access would benefit public lands sportsmen on 13 refuges in nine states, including new hunting opportunities in Colorado and Michigan

New hunting and angling opportunities on national wildlife refuges provide increased public access for sportsmen during a time when access is shrinking, said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, commending a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand hunting and fishing on 13 national wildlife refuges in nine states.

USFWS Director Dan Ashe announced the proposal, which encompasses migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting opportunities, as well as sport fishing, and would modify existing regulations on more than 70 other national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts.

BHA President and CEO Land Tawney welcomed the announcement from Director Ashe.

“National wildlife refuges occupy a special place in the hearts of most American hunters and anglers,” said Tawney, who has hunted waterfowl on refuge system units his entire life. “Our refuge system provides accessible, high-quality fish and wildlife habitat, as well as havens for sportsmen to experience solitude and tranquility – experiences central to our identity as public lands recreationists.

“Public lands also play a central role in the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers mission,” continued Tawney. “We’ve stood up for them, consistently and strongly, and will continue to defend the right of citizens to partake of the wealth of opportunities they offer. Our thanks go to the Service and Director Ashe for his unwavering dedication to sustaining – and expanding – these opportunities.”

BHA members in Colorado commended the announcement, whereby elk hunting would be opened for the first time in parts of Baca National Wildlife Refuge and expanded in the Alamosa and Monte Vista national wildlife refuges. All three refuges are located in the Centennial State.

“Enjoying our public lands – including by hunting and fishing – is a way of life in Colorado,” said David Lien, chair of BHA’s Colorado chapter. “Expanding hunting opportunities on the Alamosa and Monte Vista national wildlife refuges, as well as opening the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, currently closed to public use, to bird and big-game hunting, is some all-too-rare good news for sportsmen. We applaud the Fish and Wildlife Service for its commitment to the responsible management of our nation’s refuges, and we thank Director Ashe for upholding our outdoor traditions.”

The Michigan chapter of BHA highlighted the importance of the announcement to sportsmen in the Wolverine State.

“The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is located within the greater Detroit metropolitan area, a place with limited public lands hunting access,” said Jason Meekhof, chair of BHA’s Michigan chapter. “An expansion of opportunity here will be of great value to an area where quality hunting options are scarce – and will be particularly important to waterfowlers due to the vast amount of birds that travel and live within this corridor. Michigan public lands sportsmen enthusiastically support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision.”

Sportsmen cite insufficient access as the No. 1 reason for forgoing time afield. National wildlife refuges provide valuable opportunities for time afield during an era where sportsmen’s access is steadily decreasing. Regulated hunting is permitted on 336 wildlife refuges, and fishing is permitted on 275 refuges. They play an important role in managing fish and wildlife populations on many refuges.

Public comments on the changes are invited before Aug. 15, 2016. For more information and to submit comments, visit and reference docket no. FWS-HQ-NWRS-2016-0007.

Save Marbled Murrelets and Northern Spotted Owls

Take Action for the Northern Spotted Owl and Its Old-Growth Forest Habitat


The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is asking for your help to protect old-growth forest habitat critically needed for endangered Northern Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets.

Please write to your Members of Congress and President Obama today and urge them to support stronger forest protection for the endangered Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet. The owl and murrelet’s old growth forest habitat is at risk from a new federal management plan, and a logging rider in Congress.

The Bureau of Land Management has proposed to weaken President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan which was put in place twenty years ago to protect the owl’s habitat, and restore the old growth forest ecosystem. The plan is working to bring the forests back and slow the owl’s decline; its protections should be maintained.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering logging legislation that undermines wildlife protection and public involvement. Your voice is urgently needed in support of saving the threatened Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet, and ensure that the many benefits of the Northwest Forest Plan, such as carbon storage and clean water supplies, are not lost.

Use the following link to go to ABC’s website to submit a letter to the important recipients who can influence the decisions being made regarding old-growth forests in the western U.S. Just enter your information and send your comments.;jsessionid=BBC6976B5F0070C05F7EC2F342807DCE.app203a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=197

Is it finally time to talk about what Sportsmen need in this election?


With the conventions over, the heat of campaign season is before us—and it’s not too late to voice your concern for conservation priorities

By Steve Kline


The confetti and balloons have been swept from the floors of both the Republican and Democratic national conventions, marking the traditional beginning of the general election season, a flurry of activity that will run through November 8. We all know what to expect: commercials, debates, door-knocking, bumper stickers, yard signs, and social media posts from our friends. Of course, in the midst of all this, the one thing that all Americans seem to agree on is that they have already grown weary of an election that has been going on for well over a year.

As a delegate myself, to the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, I can attest that the messages the parties and candidates seek to deliver, both to those in the room and those watching from their living rooms, are pretty similar and follow a predictable course. A heavy dose of keeping American families safe, growing the economy, and creating good-paying jobs, plus assurances of competence and clarity of vision. The formula was alive and well in Cleveland and Philadelphia. It is the tale as old as time.

But after listening to the convention speeches of both candidates, and many other speakers, any sportsman would feel overlooked. Both parties missed a golden opportunity to communicate with an essential constituency, one important to anyone who hopes to actually win a national election. Neither candidate made a direct pitch to the more than 40 million Americans who hunt and fish, and in the process, contribute nearly $100 billion to the national economy.

What would a real pitch to sportsmen look like? A commitment to renewing the investment in fish and wildlife habitat conservation programs that benefit all Americans. A pledge to defend the values of common opportunity implicit in our national public lands. A vow to support the conservation of our private working lands. Perhaps a promise to enhance recreational access to our nation’s woods, fields, and waters.

Many candidates for elected office at all levels have created, or will soon create, sportsmen’s coalitions to support their candidacy, an acknowledgement that hunters and anglers are an important constituency, one that turns out to vote in higher numbers than many other subsets of the population. But we often don’t demand enough from candidates in exchange for our votes. So, this campaign season, attend a candidate forum or town hall, and ask questions about sportsmen’s priorities. Utilize your Facebook and Twitter accounts to put issues important to hunters and anglers in front of the candidates. Email their campaigns, in a thoughtful way, to share the things sportsmen and women in your part of the world are thinking about.

Candidates often profess to champion what America’s sportsmen care about, but it is up to us to let them know.

About the Author: Steve Kline, Director of Government Relations, joined the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) in April of 2011. Prior to joining TRCP, Steve worked as Senior Government Affairs Representative for the Alaska Wilderness League in Washington, D.C., and has also served as Director of Federal Forest Policy for the National Association of State Foresters, and as Associate Conservation Director of the Izaak Walton League of America. An avid waterfowl hunter and angler, Steve surprises even himself with his uncanny ability to miss clay pigeons.

St. Francis’ Ward Cassidy appointed to Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission

Governor Sam Brownback has appointed Ward Cassidy, St. Francis, to the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Commission. Cassidy replaces Roger Marshall, Great Bend, whose term ended in June. Cassidy will serve a 4-year term.

Cassidy has resided in St. Francis since 1969, teaching for 11 years before serving as principal and counselor for 20 years. He coached high school basketball for seven years. Cassidy’s wife Gloria taught first grade for 38 years. The Cassidys have two daughters, both married and living in St. Francis. They have six grandchildren.

In 2010, Cassidy was elected to the Kansas House and represented District 120 for two terms. He did not seek re-election in 2014.

“I have been an avid hunter all my life, and one of my greatest pleasures is spending time with my grandchildren in the outdoors,” Cassidy said. “I am honored to represent northwest Kansas on the Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission.”

Mr. Cassidy told Michael Pearce, Wichita Eagle outdoors page writer. “I have four grandchildren who like to hunt and fish, and that’s who I’m always looking out for and always want to spend time with,” said Cassidy. “I really don’t have an agenda (for the Commission). I just know the outdoors is a wonderful place for kids. I’ll encourage all we can do for youth hunting and youth fishing.”

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is advised by a non-partisan, seven-member commission. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and serve staggered 4-year terms. The Commission advises the KDWPT Secretary on planning and policy issues and approves regulations which are adopted and administered by the Secretary. Cassidy will join Commissioners Chairman Gerald Lauber, Topeka; Vice-Chairman Tom Dill, Salina; Aaron Rider, Columbus; Gary Hayzlett, Lakin; and Harrison Williams, Wichita.

Commissioner Cassidy can be reached at [email protected].

Register for mentored dove hunt on Clinton Wildlife Area

The Jayhawk Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) invite youth age 16 and younger to register for the 9th Annual Youth Dove Hunt. The Sept. 1 opening-day hunt will take place at Clinton Wildlife Area west of Lawrence and will begin at 3 p.m. Mentors will accompany all participants, but non-hunting family members are encouraged to attend, as well.

Non-toxic shells, and eye and ear protection will be provided to participants, who are encouraged to dress in camouflage or dark-colored clothing. Shotguns may be provided upon request.

Participants age 16 must have a Kansas hunting license, unless exempt by Kansas law, and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit. For more information, visit and click “Services / Education / Hunter.”

For more details and to register, contact Dr. John Hill at (785) 841-9555 or (785) 550-5657, or by e-mail at [email protected].

The 2016 hunting season for mourning, white-winged and exotic doves (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle) is Sept. 1-Nov. 29. The season for exotic doves only is Nov. 30, 2016 – Feb. 28, 2017 for the exotic dove season. For information regarding migratory bird hunting regulations, license and stamp requirements, legal methods of take, non-toxic shot and more, visit and click “Hunting,” “Hunting Regulations,” then “Migratory Birds.”

Youth Outdoor Festival in Hays August 20

If you’re interested in introducing your child to the world of shooting sports, hunting, fishing and other outdoor-related activities, mark your calendar for Saturday, August 20. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hays area businesses, conservation groups and shooting sports groups will offer a free day of target shooting and outdoor activities for youth 17 and younger at the 19th Annual Youth Outdoor Festival. The event will be conducted at the Hays City Sportsman’s Club, ¼ mile north of I-70 Exit 157.

Youth will learn about and experience trap and skeet shooting, archery equipment, air rifles and BB guns, muzzleloaders, small-bore rifles, and more. There will also be a casting competition, paintball target shooting, and a furharvesting demonstration.

Youth will be closely supervised at each station by expert volunteer instructors, and all equipment will be supplied. Hunter education certification is not required, but youth must be accompanied by an adult. Registration for the event can be completed onsite prior to participation. Lunch will be provided, and youth will have a chance to win prizes, including guns, fishing tackle and other outdoor equipment.

For more information, contact Kent Hensley at (785) 726-3212 or Troy Mattheyer at (785) 726-4212.

Learn to shoot at gals-only event

Women interested in becoming more comfortable and familiar with firearms are invited by the Friends of Fancy Creek Range to attend a Women On Target (WOT) event on Saturday, Sept. 10. This women-only event is designed to provide female shooters with instruction on basic handling and shooting skills for handguns, rifles, muzzleloaders and archery in a safe and comfortable environment. No experience or equipment is necessary. The $50 registration fee covers loaner equipment, ammunition, eye and ear protection, instruction, and lunch. Deadline to register is Aug. 26.

Fancy Creek Shooting Range is located at the Fancy Creek area of Tuttle Creek State Park, approximately one-half mile east and one-half mile north of the junction of U.S. Hwy. 77 and K-16 on county road 893, near Randolph.

To register, contact Marci Ritter, (785) 293-4406, or [email protected]. Space is limited to 36 participants, so shooters are encouraged to register early.

WOT is one of the National Rifle Association’s programs for women shooters. For more information on WOT, visit