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Oconto County shooting range will stay where it is, with some changes

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OCONTO COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) -The Oconto County Forest, Parks and Recreation Committee has approved changes to a controversial shooting range.

Over the spring, county officials closed down the Machickanee Forest Shooting Range after stray bullets damaged property in that area.

Now the committee has okayed a plan to keep the range where it is, but change the layout of the shooting area.

“The intent is to change the direction, more north and northeast. If there are any stray bullets that leave the range, hopefully no stray bullets leave the range, but if they do leave the range, they’ll be going to the area where there are no homes for two to three miles,” Oconto County Forest, Parks and Recreation Administrator Bob Skalitsky told FOX 11.

Skalitsky says the range is normally open every day, but options include reducing the times the range is open and raising the daily shooting fee.

The new range will get a facelift as well. Plans are in the works to improve safety, so shooters can focus on the task at hand.

“We’ll put in shooting benches, where there’s a canopy, a roof if you want to say that doesn’t allow the shooter to see blue sky on the berm. It’s called a no-blue-sky,” said Skalitsky.

Skalitsky says he will apply for a grant to cover 75 percent of the estimated $150,000 project. He says a county shooting range fund containing nearly $70,000 will cover the rest.

Should the grant be approved, the county hopes to begin construction in the spring of 2015, with the opening of the new range later that year.

(Additional reporting by FOX 11).

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