Oconto County shooting range closed after rapid fire complaints

TOWN OF MORGAN – The Oconto County Machickanee Forest Shooting Range has temporarily been shut down.

A handful of people complained about rapid fire coming from the range Thursday evening, with bullets going through some of their yards.

The incident comes two days after neighbors met about stray bullets damaging their property.

Virgil Brown says he’s sick of having run-ins with stray bullets.

“Anytime I come outside, I’m worried, who is it going to be? Me? Grandkids?” said Brown, who lives in Abrams, about a mile away from the shooting range.

Brown says a stray bullet damaged his gazebo about two years ago.

Brown was happy to hear the range has been temporarily shut down.

“It’s about time,” said Brown. “Can’t have bullets flying around like that.”

Two people told the county bullets came through their yards.

“I did talk to the person that did the complaining and they’re pretty certain,” said Bob Skalitzky, the head of the Oconto County Forestry Department. “He said with 100 percent certainty it was rapid fire, might have been two or three people.”

John Duggan says the bullets came through his yard. Duggan showed FOX 11 damage to his home on Tuesday that he says came from bullets.

“We’re not exactly sure how it’s happening, but we want it to be safe,” said Duggan on Tuesday.

County officials say on a typical weekend day, as many as a hundred people could be at the range, which they say can make it sometime sound like someone is shooting rapid fire. However, they say Thursday night’s complaints were different.

“If people were using the range properly, shooting at the targets, the backstops would stop the bullets from leaving the range,” said Skalitzky.

The county runs the range.

Duggan and Brown both say they’d like it to reopen, but only if the safety issues are resolved.

“Wisconsin is a hunting state,” said Brown. “Shutting it down, that’s not the answer.”

County officials say they’re already using feedback from Tuesday’s town hall meeting to try to resolve the issues.

They say the earliest the range could reopen is Thursday, after the county forestry’s committee meeting.

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