Shooters Get a Chance to Hone Their Skills at Whitefish Rifle Range

By Beacon Staff

“Gentlemen, the range is open. Put your ears on.”

And with those words from Barry Hatton of the Whitefish Rod and Gun Club, gun-toting citizens armed themselves with their hunting rifles, put their ear protection on, and commenced to firing their guns Sunday at the club’s rifle range on KM Ranch Road.

About 85 people, from young men to seasoned shooters, showed up for the club’s annual “hunter sight-in days,” a two-weekend event that gives local hunters a chance to sharpen up their shooting — and tune up their rifles — before Montana’s big game rifle season opens Oct. 21. Nearly 150 people used the range during the course of the two weekends, Hatton said.

The club supplies the shooters — many of whom are not club members but get a chance to use the 300-yard firing range — with targets, gun rests and sometimes a bit of instruction. For some people, this was the first time they’d fired their rifles since last year’s hunting season, so they had to do a bit of tweaking of their rifle sights and scopes.

The Whitefish Gun Club was founded in 1970 and occupies a portion of state land off of KM Ranch Road between Whitefish and Kalispell. The club has about 350 members, according to Hatton.