Shooting Range Grant Program
Grant Applications are not being accepted at this time, but we expect to offer some after July 2023.
Shooting Station Cover at the Big Pine Gun Club range in Guilford.
MDIFW has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to offer small grants to eligible non-profit shooting organizations. This program is part of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and is funded through the Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937. Funds from manufacturer taxes on ammunition, firearms, and archery equipment provide the basis of this program. These funds are available for many wildlife-related recreation and hunter development programs, including the construction, enhancement, and operations at non-commercial firearm and archery range shooting facilities.
On this page:
New high five stand house at the Arnold Trail Sportsmen’s
Association range in Sidney.
MDIFW initiated a small grants program in 2012 to provide support to eligible non-profit shooting organizations and certain government units and agencies for non-commercial firearm and archery range enhancements, which could include:
- Improve public recreational firearm and archery shooting opportunities by providing small grants to range-owning organizations for range enhancement.
- Accomplish improvements at existing firearm and archery range facilities.
- Develop new firearm and archery range facilities.
- Provide facilities accessible by persons with disabilities, where feasible.
- Integrate safety, accessibility, and environmental Best Management Practices into the physical facilities of ranges and the management of ranges.
- Support firearm and archery education to learn safe and responsible hunting and shooting practices.
Initially, each organization could submit an application for project funding of up to $50,000. The awards did come with some other conditions:
- Applicants needed to provide up to 30% of project costs, which may include cash or in-kind contributions of labor, services, or materials.
- Grant requirements include providing public access to the range facility.
- Any construction or enhancement project must use industry standards and BMPs.
- There is a competitive evaluation of grant applications and an effort to provide a state-wide distribution of awards.
To date this program has provided:
- Four separate rounds of small grants 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017. With more opportunities in the next five years.
- Funded 36 distinct projects
- Awarded more than $1,140,000
- 19 different clubs were able to improve safety, access or opportunities for the shooting public.
Highlights of Previous Projects
Arnold Trail Sportsmen’s Association
Arnold Trail is a very active shotgun club that has received two sub-grants in 2016 and 2017. The first grant was to clear the primary shot fall area of stumps, and brush to improve access to recover lead for their lead management program and replace the lower house pictured. The second grant replaced the 50-year-old high house with a New Five Stand house and several clay throwing machines outfitted with remote controllers. This club has a strong commitment for public education of novice shotgun shooters, but specialize in offering specific programs for youth and women. They have regular weekly public hours for a minimal charge. The club frequently hosts Hunter Safety Programs to the public.
Big Pine Gun Club
Big Pine Gun Club received three grant awards; one each grant cycle in 2013, 2015, and 2016. These grants allowed the club to expand the number of individual ranges and improve the safety of each range. This enhancement increase the overall capacity of users at the club’s facility and allowed increased availability of public access days and events. The Club hosts several Hunter Safety courses annually, with active range time. They also provide programming for introductory firearms safe use and handling specifically targeting youth and women. Additionally, the club hosts a week-long Summer Camp for youth, and each youth that completes the camp receives a certification for NRA basic rifle instruction, and basic shotgun instruction, as well as their Hunter Safety certificate in both firearms and archery.
Carrabassett Valley Outdoor Association
Carrabassett Valley Outdoor Association facility sets in the western mountains of Maine and is a special gem of a place to shoot aerial targets. The facility is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. They accept donations, in an “iron maiden” at the gate to help with maintenance of the facility. This facility has a pistol range, two rifle ranges with 20 ft. side berms and firing berms, and an area for the public to set up clay throwers when the facility is not operating. There is a membership available for a very minimal charge. The area is without a doubt the prettiest locations in the state to shoot five stands, surrounded by mountains and local beauty. The club received grants in 2013, 2016 and 2017 cycles to create an enclosed 5-stand house, and to make safety improvement to both the 100-yard range, and pistol range.
A view of the 100-yard rifle range that includes an additional 8 ft. backer on top of the 20 ft. firing berm. This design has allowed the range to have a reduced sound to the surrounding area and increased projectile containment on site. The “goal post” approach keeps the mind’s eye to the target area.
Hermon Skeet Club
Hermon Skeet Club has received three grant awards in the 2013, 2015, and 2017 cycles. Their projects improved access to the skeet fields, as well as increased shooting opportunities (with additional equipment) and safety measures. This club regularly holds classes for new shooters, including special trainings for several area schools – providing education and training in firearms safety, shotgun shooting skills for multiple disciplines, as well as building confidence within themselves. The club is open for public access at a minimal charge on a regular basis and is used by many shotgun shooters, often travelling long distances to participate in shooting sports at this facility.
Town of Phillips
The Town of Phillips had a very small primitive range on town property adjacent to the Town Highway garage. The town received a grant in 2013 for the re-construction of a basic 100-yard shooting range, with a covered shooting station. In addition to the safety and access improvement measures at this facility, the town also incorporated sound abatement into their improvement plan. This municipal-maintained facility is open to the public from 10am to 6pm during the weekdays and 10am to 5pm on the weekends (unless the park is being used for events or functions). This facility is not staffed or supervised on a regular basis, but rules of use are posted on a sign at the parking are of the facility.
Scarborough Fish and Game
Scarborough Fish and Game has received grant awards during all four cycles. Each of the projects have increased availability of public shooting access throughout the facility. Scarborough Fish and Game is the largest club in Maine and sits in the center of the largest population in the State. The club is very active and holds multiple events for the public, and regularly holds training programs, including Recreational Safety programs for firearms, archery, and crossbow. The Club facility includes ranges for pistols, rifles, and aerial shotgun. They have developed a management plan to protect the environment and work closely with Maine DEP and EPA to ensure compliance with Best Management Practices.
One of the grants helped build a nNew skeet and wobble trap range which is computer controlled, and allows shooters to use a card to pay for and load clay targets for shooting. The area is designed to meet the standards for Olympic training for skeet and trap.
Spurwink Rod and Gun Club
Spurwink Rod and Gun Club is a small club in urbanized area of Cape Elizabeth that was faced with the challenge of being surrounded by residential development. Much of the club's work associated with their 3 separate grant awards was to make improvements allowing them to be a better neighbor and fit harmoniously within this urban area. The club passionately worked with the town to develop interesting solutions addressing noise and the containment of projectiles. Public use and demand at this facility increased so much that the club added an archery range to provide additional opportunity. The club sits within an expanded archery hunting zone and provides a great area for members and the public to hone their archery skills. Like many of the clubs that have opened their doors to greater public access, this club has seen a rise in their membership, allowing the club to resume providing a variety of educational offerings including Recreational Safety Programs for firearms, archery and crossbow.
West Gardiner Rod and Gun Club
West Gardiner Rod and Gun Club has received two sub-grant awards, 2016 and 2017. Their projects included the construction of side berms and increasing heights of existing firing berms to increase safety, reduce noise, and better contain projectiles on the range. This club is surrounded by growing residential development, so during these projects the club worked cooperatively with the owner of a neighboring sub-division development to create a vegetated and wooden zone to provide a visual and sound buffer, while creating a solid working relationship. The club regularly offers education and training opportunities, such as: Recreational Safety Pograms for firearms, archery, and crossbow, or specialized events open to all public members.
Grant applications are not being accepted at this time, but we expect to offer some after July 2023, check back soon for further information about upcoming opportunities.
If you are a range operator or are looking for technical assistance, please contact MDIFW Shooting Range Coordinator Craig Gerry at Craig.I.Gerry@maine.gov or call 207-287-5212 or 207-446-4249.