COVID-19 Range Safety
Dear club and region leaders,
I was most pleased to note that the BC Government recently decided that Resident hunting and fishing are considered essential activities.
Further, there has been a recent, major uptick in spring hunting license applications and interest in food security. It is, therefore, important to keep as many ranges open that can be done so safely, so people can keep up the shooting skills and test equipment, that they need to hunt ethically.
In addition, many of our ranges are essential for skills maintenance by Law Enforcement Officers.
Ranges have never been formally directed to close in BC during this COVID-19 pandemic, although many have done so by their respective management teams, for good reasons. These include the inability to separate out to two metres between shooters, too many at-risk members in high-risk categories, and smaller indoor facilities.
Yet we note that golf courses have been reopened under carefully set out new rules for managing risk. So, what should our ranges do? What could we do?
Let us consider what the ranges that are still open are doing. Most are operating under a carefully risk-managed set of new COVID-19 protocols. BCWF Recreational Shooting Sports Committee has created a list of suggestions for safety measures to assist in planning. Thanks to all who shared their concerns and solutions with our committee and programs manager.
COVID-19 Range Safety Planning:
- Limit group size
- Maintain physical distancing (2 metres)
- Focus on practice and skill development, not competition. Competitions can be considered, but successful experiences to date (e.g. trap, PPC, silhouette, etc.) have shown that much effort is required to manage and maintain COVID-19 protocols. This has resulted in almost all action shooting sport events (e.g. IPSC, three gun) having been cancelled.
- Limit range access to members only (with protocols) – similar to golf clubs
- No new shooters requiring one on one attention are allowed unless it is a direct family member
- At-risk persons have been strongly advised not to attend facilities
- Place signs to indicate social distancing requirements
- At fixed bench rifle ranges, close every other bench to meet distancing requirements
- Provide cleaning supplies to numerous stations
- Clean workbench surfaces before and after use
- Increased cleaning of all common areas (doorknobs, bathrooms, and counters)
- Renew memberships electronically (a good time to look into payment software)
- Hold virtual member/executive meetings
- Produce zoom (or other technology) educational content
- Regular email updates to members
- Remote work options (membership, administration)
- If your range has a campground, ensure that it is operating in a manner consistent with the new BC parks campgrounds, e.g. additional spacing between campsites and limitations on the number of guests in campgrounds; and visitors should bring their own hand sanitizer are asked to practice appropriate hygiene.
Every range is different, and the most important message is to be safe and to follow the recommendations of the provincial health officer regarding COVID-19.
I would be delighted to assist any club with questions on such measures about COVID-19 range safety.
In closing, I note that several of our member club ranges were founded around 1918-1920 during the Spanish Flu, by veterans who dealt with that pandemic immediately after making it through the Great War. We shall get through this pandemic too.
For updates regarding fishing and hunting activities during COVID-19 click here!
Chair, Recreational Shooting Sports Committee
President Victoria Fish and Game Protection Association