Shooting ranges play an important role in the success of your hunt. The sage advice to follow is "perfect practice makes perfect."
Before the opening of any gun season, it's a good idea to check to be sure that your rifle is still sighted-in. I always fire more than one shot to ensure that if the first one's dead on, it wasn't just dumb luck.
Whenever I purchase a new rifle or need to check the firing on an older one, I usually go to the Apalachicola Shooting Range. It's close to home, has a nice set up, and you can shoot rifle or pistol.
Be sure to bring your own targets. To reuse targets that aren't too shot up, I sometimes place little sticky circles over my bullet holes then keep on firing.
One sunny Sunday we met April and Mike at the Apalachicola Range. They were sighting in Mike's bolt action .17 HMR rifle. Mike said he needed to get her "dead on" so he could do a little squirrel hunting.
Here are some public ranges in Northwest Florida that allow you to bone up on your skills or sight-in your firearms:
APALACHICOLA SHOOTING RANGE
Apalachicola Shooting Range
Forest Road 305
Southwest of Tallahassee off Springhill Road in the Apalachicola National Forest
Apalachicola Shooting Range Brochure
CECIL M. WEBB SHOOTING RANGE
Cecil M. Webb Public Shooting Range Tucker Grade Road on the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area in Charlotte County Contact: John Weatherholt (863) 648-3206
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is in the process of writing a new business plan for the operation of the Cecil M. Webb Shooting Range. Here are the draft minutes of the first fact-finding meeting in this process.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SHOOTING RANGE
Northeast Region Indian River County Public Shooting Range 10455 102nd Terrace Sebastian, FL 32958 (772) 581-4944
Indian River County Shooting Range Brochure
OCALA PUBLIC SHOOTING RANGE
Ocala Public Shooting Range Forest Road 11 (north of S. R. 40) in the Ocala National Forest (Range closed from sunrise till 1:00pm every Wednesday for maintenance) Contact: Ocala Conservation Center (352) 625-2804 GPS Coordinates: N 29 degrees 11.275 W81 degrees 46.223
Ocala Shooting Range Brochure
OSCEOLA SHOOTING RANGE
North Central Region Lewis D. Whitaker Osceola Shooting Range Off of Forest Road 278 near Lake City in the Osceola National Forest Contact: Steve Robbins (386) 758-0525
Osceola Shooting Range Brochure
PACE SHOOTING RANGE
Northwest Region FWC Public Shooting Range
6950 Quintette Road
Pace (Milton), Florida 32571
The range is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; and from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.
$10.00 per person to shoot (all-day access).
Call for more information.
TENOROC SHOOTING RANGE
Southwest Region Tenoroc Shooting Range 3755 Tenoroc Mine Road Lakeland, FL 33801 In Polk County in the Tenoroc Fish Management Area via Exit 38 off I-4 (863) 666-2500
Tenoroc Shooting Range Brochure
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE TRAP & SKEET
Tyndall AFB Trap & Skeet
6611 Lance Street
Panama City, Florida 32404
The range is open as follows:
Thursdays - 3:00 p.m. to sundown;
Saturdays - 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.;
Sundays - noon to 4:00 p.m.
Call for more information.
Here is an additional source for locating shooting ranges in Florida: