Bad River Sportsman's Club shooting range upgraded, still open to the public

by Del Bartels

An area three miles west of Philip on the north side of Highway 14 has been used for decades by local target shooters. That shooting range, recently upgraded by the Bad River Sportman's Club, is open for use by all safety-minded shooters.

The newly named Thompson Shooting Range now has a backstop at 100 yards, made of thick railroad bridge beams. Two concrete shooting tables have been erected on top of a large concrete slab. The improvements come courtesy of the Bad River Sportsman's Club. Much of the work was done by Nels Crowser, Jerry Ellens, Trace O'Connell, Brian Olivier and Doug West.

The funds needed to put up the backstop and the shooting tables, and to continue putting in future improvements, come from the club's annual coyote calling contest. Donations are also accepted. Plans are to erect a backstop at 200 yards before the end of this year's deer season. Eventually, a 300 yard backstop will also go up. A water pipe exists to the property, with the club members having long-range intentions of putting up an enclosed trailer or small building for storage with access to water. A trapshoot clay pigeon thrower, and maybe a building, is also in future plans. Possibilites exist for a handgun and an archery range.

The necessary paperwork has been completed requesting the state to build up the access from Highway 14. The land that the shooting range is on has been donated by Hazel Thompson.

West said that the club has always been a community-wide, county-wide and western South Dakota wide organization. He said that the use of the range is free, but people who use it are responsible for their own safety. The goal of the club is to make a nice, respectable shooting range for everyone's use, but especially for youth. To give youth's parents a place to sight-in rifles. "All for youth; for kids to be able to go out for practice and to learn to shoot and learn gun safety," said West.

West believes that all users of the range are kind of owners of it, and that they should take care of it and clean up after themselves. The Bad River Sportsman's Club is a registered, non-profit entity.