The Cache Valley Public Shooting Range opened in 1991 on Logan’s west side. Known at the time as the Cache Valley Hunter Education Center, the range was small, but over the years it has grown to include shooting options for virtually any type of weapon, and a variety of shooting events for adults and youth.
Ja Eggett was hired by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as manager of the range in the summer of 2009, moving from a position as the city park planner for Layton. He had been a long-time hunter education instructor and had been involved in the Dedicated Hunter program, Eggett said, “so I had a lot of association with the division.”
Eggett sat down with a Herald Journal reporter in mid-October to talk about current offerings at the shooting range and how its use has changed over the years.
What was the shooting range like in the early days?
The range has been open to the public just over 20 years. When it first opened it was just the main building here with the indoor classrooms and indoor .22 and archery ranges, with construction going on the outdoor ranges. Originally it only had a 100-yard range, and that’s been expanded to include a 100-, 200- and 300-yard range.
What types of shooting options are available here?
Rifle, pistol, shotgun, archery; pretty much anything you can shoot can be shot down here. With automatic weapons, as long as they have their permits, they’re allowed to shoot here.
How much does it cost to use the range?
Five dollars for adults gives you access to the archery, rifle and pistol ranges for as long as we’re open for the day, so you can move from range to range all under that same cost. It’s $2 for youth 15 and younger. Our shotgun range is $5 per round of trap or skeet, and five-stand sporting clays is $7.
Do you have more people using the range as hunting season approaches?
Our rifle range sees a lot more use, with guys coming out to sight their rifles for the deer and elk hunts. We actually had a lot of muzzleloaders the last little while, but with those hunts over we aren’t seeing as many of those.
What’s new this year?
We are building a new organized training range facility. Friends of the NRA gave us some grant money (for that facility), and a lot of our organized shooting groups shoot out of that range. It’s a 100-meter shooting range. Basically it’s a just a covered shooting area that we can enclose so we can have year-round shooting events out there.
Our silhouette shooters have been using it, our Youth Hunter Education Challenge groups uses that range a lot ... any of our organized groups that don’t want to compete or utilize ranges at the same time as the public, where they’ve got conflicting interests, use that range so that they can run things the way they need to.
The range hosts a lot of youth shooters. What programs are available to youth?
We have three main organized youth programs. Our hunter education program obviously is first and foremost, and we have several thousand youth go through the facility each year for hunter education. An extension of that would be the YHEC program, the Youth Hunter Education Challenge. It’s an NRA-sponsored event where kids can put into practice what they learn in hunter safety in a competitive setting with four shooting events and four non-shooting events.
And then our Scholastic Clay Target Program for shotgunners is the other program we run out of this facility. And the youth who practice here tend to do fairly well in competitions. The kids get a lot of practice time in down here, and the groups have been well organized and put in regular practices.
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What other activities or competitions are held at the range? What other groups use the range?
We have our Cowboy Action group that shoots here every second Saturday. Our Cache Practical Pistol Shooters (CAPS), their monthly outdoor match is on the fourth Saturday, and they’re getting ready to start their indoor .22 matches; those will run from Halloween until the first of May. And then we’ve got a bull’s-eye pistol league, a silhouette rifle league, we’ve got our Cache Archers with their youth leagues and their open leagues. We’ve got a registered skeet club that shoots here, I think they’ve got three matches a year.
We’ve been holding turkey shoots on a regular basis on our shotgun range, and we do some leagues on the shotgun range. Wintertime is probably our busiest time.
How is the range financed?
Our budget comes from the Division of Wildlife Resources. We’re a non-profit, so we’re subsidized by the state.
What are your goals for the range?
We would like to see some future expansion. Obviously that would involve property acquisition, but that’s a long-term goal. We would like to increase usership down here. We’re trying to get more beginning shooting classes taught here, and we have several range officers and several firearms instructors who have expressed interest in teaching some beginning classes other than a hunter safety class. We’re trying to get a contract to begin offering those courses here on a regular basis.
How has the use of the range changed over the years?
It’s interesting because we’re getting fewer and fewer hunters, but the places where people can go shoot are decreasing as well. You used to be able to just run up the canyon and do this or do that, and those places are being closed, so even with a decrease in some of our hunters and shooters, we’re seeing an increase in usage at the range. A lot othat is based on safety concerns in those other places — it’s nice to have a facility where you can come down and have some structured shooting in a really safe environment.
Hunter education is still a priority here. We offer classes every month; it doesn’t matter when people are thinking about it, they can sign up for a class. There is an online option for hunter safety, but they still have to come in for a day with an instructor, and we offer a field day at least every month, some months two or three days.
The Cache Valley Public Shooting Range is located at 2851 W. 200 North, Logan. Hours are Wednesday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (3 p.m. to 8 p.m. beginning in November); and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The range is closed Sunday through Tuesday. For more information call 435-753-4600 or go to http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/cachevalleyshooting.html.