I've shot at this Florida club. They are in the middle of nowhere in regard to having close neighbors, so I was surprised when I first read of an effort to close the club headlined as "Volusia County Trap and Skeet Club works with county to resolve site issues".
Here is the rest of the story...
Letters to the editor for Dec. 29, 2009
News-Journal Corporation / Florida
Pull, clear to shoot
I would like to expand on the Dec. 16 News-Journal report "Skeet club may stay on site in Samsula":
As reported, Volusia County sent out a sound survey crew twice in response to neighbors' noise complaints. No noise violations were found. As to allegations of horses being spooked by loud noises, the properties of Richard Beckman and others border on a hunting lease area. Therefore, the possibility exists for a deer hunter or other hunter to discharge a high-powered rifle within 500 yards of Mr. Beckman's or others' property, which may, indeed, be enough to frighten a skittish or not-well-trained horse.
I invite any County Council member to go out there when we are shooting at the end of Langford Road, which is 1.2 miles as the crow flies from Mr. Beckman's property and listen to see what they can hear. Also, if council members care to go out to the 65 acres we lease from the county to listen to what's going on there when we are not in operation, they may hear firearms being discharged from various directions, but on other property.
Although not part of the news report, the club has heard complaints that individuals have found lead shot and pieces of targets on their property. As to the shot issue, #7 1/2 shot is the largest shot allowed at Volusia County Skeet and Trap Club and will carry a maximum of 260 yards or 720 feet. It is a physical impossibility for shot and broken clay targets to come from our location onto neighboring property.
Remember that we are open only 12 hours per week: Wednesday and Sunday 9 a.m. till 1 p.m., and Saturday 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. These are our normal operating hours as of this time. We have the ability, according to our lease, to be open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on either of those days.
Readers may have construed from the news report that the club had no insurance, when, actually, Jerry Miller paid for range insurance for years before the club relocated from the former Strickland shooting- range site. When we set up the new skeet and trap fields on the land leased from the county, we understood from county staff that we needed X amount of insurance; then, after we obtained the increased insurance, we were told in another meeting that our insurance was still insufficient to meet county needs. We, again, sought out the required insurance and found that, because of certain county requirements, this insurance was impossible to obtain. After lengthy negotiations between our insurance company and the county legal staff, a mutual resolution was finally agreed upon.
As to the statement in The News-Journal that the club agreed to no alcohol on the premises after the county stipulated it, this has been a club policy from the beginning. It was a condition of our original insurance policy. In fact, if we even smell alcohol on someone, they will be asked to leave.
As to county officials looking into developing a more modern skeet range and trying to interest the club in paying for it, the county actually wanted nothing to do with developing and running a skeet and trap facility, unlike the development of the Strickland Rifle and Pistol range that cost more than $1 million and employs three full-time county employees. The county has invested less than $30,000 in the trap and skeet venture, and it costs the public nothing to operate. In the future, if this endeavor continues, this could be a first-class clay-target shooting facility for Volusia County and the surrounding area at a cost of nearly zero dollars to the taxpayer.
It would seem to me that the fact that we have more than 600 members after being in operation at the new site for only two years, that there seems to be a serious need for this facility. This does not include the well over 2,000 visitors who have used or visited our facility and for the many people who are traveling in our state who have contacted us for a place to shoot. Also, this public facility is the only place in Volusia County where a person owning a shotgun can enjoy the sport of clay-target shooting and learn safe gun handling at an organized and responsible clay-target sport- shooting range. The Strickland Rifle and Pistol range does not allow any type of shotgun on its premises.
JIM BORDWELL, Vice President, Volusia County Skeet & Trap Club, Inc.