Tuesday, March 27, 2018

da Range FAQ


  1. Who owns the gun range?   Mike Rhodes owns the land the gun range sits on.  The range is actually in the Rio Grande flood plain and cannot be developed. We shoot with Mike’s permission.  That permission can be revoked at any time.
  2. Who can shoot at the range?   Mike allows owners and renters at Retama Village and Bentsen Palm to shoot at the range.  Mike also allows law enforcement badge holders to shoot, which includes Border Patrol and Mission Police. Mike has also given permission to select individuals, who have range badges.
  3. Who can not shoot at the range?    The range is private.  The general public is not permitted to shoot here.  If they do not have a range badge or a law enforcement badge, you can politely ask them to leave.  If trespassers refuse to leave, you can call 911.
  4. Who enforces the no trespassing?   The Border Patrol and Mission police drive by the range frequently during the day.  They are jealous of their right to shoot there and vigorously evict trespassers.  Wear your range badge!
  5. What is the range legal status?     Our gun range has no legal status.  It is just a group of friends getting together to shoot.  There is no charter, no officers, no board of directors, no tax id number, no checking account.
  6. Why do I have to pay to shoot there?      You are not paying to shoot, you are paying $35 per year to maintain the gun range.  Your maintenance fee pays for the paper targets, steel targets, target stands, shooting benches, porta potty, the blogg site, the calendar site, the name badges, and so on.  Our range may be considered one of the better equipped outdoor shooting facilities — especially for the fee charge.  da Range offers some of the most diversified shooting opportunities available. We offer free classes and training, and shooting events throughout the season. We welcome volunteers to offer their expertise for further expansion…. 
  7. Who pays?     Everyone pays.  No exceptions.  The $35 maintenance fee is about the same cost as 100 rounds of center fire ammo.  Our annual fee is about the same as two trips to a public gun range.  Mike Rhodes pays $500 for range passes to Bentsen Palm renters.  Several Bentsen Palm shooters volunteer to pay the maintenance fee and have their own name badges.
  8. Who holds the maintenance money?     Pat Stewart holds the range funds in cash.  She prepares a monthly cash flow report in season.
  9. Who gets paid?     People who provide Pat a receipt for supplies get reimbursed.  All the labor at the range is volunteer.  No one gets paid for their time.
  10. Why do I have to watch the safety video every year?    Our number one goal is to provide a safe shooting environment at the range.  You do not want to shoot next to a person who carelessly handles a gun.  You do not want to be that careless person.  We have not had an accidental discharge at the range that I am aware of.  We have very safe shooters.  30 minutes of safety training a year is not too much to ask.  Everyone watches the video every year.  No exceptions.
  11. How many people shoot at the range?       We send out emails to 170 addresses.  Some of the emails are families. A few emails are administration.  A safe guess would be somewhere between 175 and 200 shooters use the range during the season.
  12. What changed at the range this past season?    The biggest addition to the range was the $2050 purchase of a storage container we affectionally call “Mabel”.  Mabel provides a location to store all our range supplies.  The money to purchase Mabel came from 25 donors.      We have had a 300 yard rifle range for several years that was never used.  That changed when John de Leon built a rifle shooting bench and target stands.  As the long range rifle course got more use, we realized that we built the rifle bench in a poor location.  During the summer, John plans to move the long range rifle bench down to the west side of Mabel.
  13. What are the plans for next season?   Our wish list includes three or four new rifle shooting benches and a sun shade over all the shooting benches.
  14. Who mows the grass?     The Rhodes crew mows the large areas of grass with their tractor mower.  If we are lucky, they mow around the target stands with their lawn mowers.
  15. What NRA certifications are available?  The past two years we have done the NRA Pistol Qualification.  This season, we did the NRA Rimfire Qualification.  Both these qualifications will be available next season.
  16. What NRA classes are available?  Bonnie Fogg is a certified NRA Pistol and Rifle instructor.  She does an excellent class for new pistol shooters.  The cost is $50.  She trained 24 new shooters this past season.
  17. What is the NRL22?      The National Rifle League for 22 is a monthly competition for rimfire shooters.  There is one class for the factory production rifles costing less than $350, like the Ruger 10/22.  The open class is for target rifles and custom guns.  Anyone shooting a .22 rimfire rifle can compete.
  18. What’s the Steel on the far west side about?  There are two stages of steel plates set on metal posts. Each stage has four white plates and one red/stop plate.  Shooting the steel challenge is a timed event which is excellent for developing eye and hand coordination.  There is a group who practice shooting the steel, and in the RGV there are monthly groups who compete.
  19. Is there a Range committee or management group?  How can I volunteer?    With all the shooting opportunities available at the range, we always need people to organize and coordinate activities.  For example, we need an individual or a group of people to handle the pistol steel.  They would coordinate practice times and shooting events.
  20. Where do I check on range activities?     The range has a blog at: retamarange.blogspot.com        The blog contains the range emails.  The web version of the blog has a link to the gun range calendar at the upper left corner of the blog.  Bonnie Fogg updates the gun range calendar.  Talk to her to post an event.
  21. What is Ladies Day?     The pistol range is reserved on Thursday mornings for just ladies.  Some ladies prefer to shoot without their husbands or other men offering “advice”.  Thursday mornings is also when the ladies pistol classes shoot.
  22. When does the range offer shotgun shooting?      The range has an organized clay target shoot on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am.  The shotgun shooting does not effect other range activities that morning.
  23. When is the range open for shooting?      The range is open seven days a week, during daylight hours.
  24. Is the range ever closed?     Yes, the range is closed occasionally for safety reasons if there are other activities close by.  Notice is posted when the range is closed.
  25. What is the purpose of the orange flag?      Please raise the orange flag when you come to the range and lower the flag if no one is at the range when you leave.  The purpose of the flag is to notify Border Patrol agents and others in the vicinity that the range is in use.
  26. What about helicopters?     Border Patrol helicopters fly along the river and over the range on a daily basis.  Please call a cease fire when aircraft are down range.  Wave with all your fingers.
  27. What is the location of the gun range?         The Border Patrol and 911 operators know the gun range as “Hardwick Farms”.  Hardwick Farms is written inside the steel shelter.
  28. What is in the orange ammo box on the bag bench?          The orange metal box contains a trauma kit for gun shot wounds.  The lock combination is “911”.  The box does not contain band aides for minor cuts.


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