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Hunters hone skills at shooting ranges

A shooter checks his hunting rifle at the Spokane Rifle Club with help from a club member during the annual fall Sight-in Days. (Rich Landers)
A shooter checks his hunting rifle at the Spokane Rifle Club with help from a club member during the annual fall Sight-in Days. (Rich Landers)

Even experienced hunters know they may hunt an entire season for the chance to make one shot. The best among them want to make it count by being sure their firearms are perfectly sighted in.

Inland Northwest sportsmen preparing their guns for upcoming big-game seasons have several shooting range options this year, including the revamped range at  Farragut State Park near Athol, Idaho.

The 100-yard Farragut Shooting Range reopened on June 1 after several years of closure while Idaho Fish and Game rebuilt the facility to increase safety and reduce noise at the 70-year-old shooting site. The original range was built by the military and turned over to civilian use after WW2.

With big game hunting seasons fast approaching, the range will be open every Saturday for the rest of September through

October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., staffed by trained volunteers. Cost: $5 per shooter.

The Farragut Range will have a special Grand Opening on Saturday. Shooters can check out the new and improved facility and sight-in rifles for free.  

Farragut is limiting firearms this year to rimfire and centerfire rifles of less than .50 caliber and shoulder-fired muzzleloaders.

Access to the range is through Farragut State Park, and participants must either be have an annual Idaho State Park pass or pay the $5 daily use fee as they enter the park.  

Area rifle clubs also open their ranges so nonmember sportsmen can zero in rifles before the general hunting seasons.

All clubs expect firearms to be unloaded when arriving at the range. Ear and eye protection is required.

Spokane Rifle Club   along the Spokane River downstream from the Bowl and Pitcher is open to nonmembers Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost: $20. 

The annual Sight-In Days are set for Oct. 2-5 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  For $20 for one rifle (cash or check) plus $5 for each additional rifle, the club offers a scope and firearm checkup before visitors advance to the range, where individual assistance from a helper-spotter is provided along with targets.   

Coeur d’Alene Rifle & Pistol Club  also opens its range on Atlas Road near the Industrial Park (about 2 miles north of Seltice Way).

The range is open daily to non-members, with shooting allowed from 8 a.m. to around 7 p.m. Cost: $10.

Spokane Valley Rifle & Pistol Club, 17700 Belmont Rd., east of Mica, opens for nonmembers daily at 2 p.m. with a variety of ranges, including a 1,000-yard range. The facilities are more rustic than the other club ranges. Cost: $5.