PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has halted target shooting on Holly Shelter and Stones Creek game lands, citing habitat destruction and public safety concerns.
After multiple complaints of trees being shot in half, trash left on the lands, and numerous safety issues the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission officers are putting their foot down.
“We've seen toilets, TVs, and other items they end up shooting into smaller pieces and they don't pick up after themselves,” explained Wildlife Officer, Fred Gorches. "They leave lots of trash and a lot of damage to the trees in the environment."
Gorches explained shooters think they are being responsible by placing their targets in front of trees to stop the bullets, but instead they are harming the environment and breaking a state law.
"Since these (Holly Shelter) trees are state property any destruction to them is a class 1 misdemeanor if you are charged with it," said Gorches.
That's why the Resource Commission is building a shooting range on the west side of the game land, just for target practice.
”I think it is a good thing overall," said Jonathan Hardwicke, a local target shooter. "It will keep the target shooters in a localized area and it will keep the hunters and the hikers safe.”
The plans show the range having a designated parking lot, a 100 yard rifle range, and a 25 yard pistol range.
"So I think both sides got what they want as far as the range being built as far as the shooters, the residents, and the sportsmen,” added Gorches.
is on target to open this summer.