2024 Big Hollow Shooting Range Refresher Course - Take ONLY if you are a current member
As part of Des Moines County Conservation's commitment to safety, we require all certified shooting range users to complete a refresher course in order to maintain certification. This course will keep our range users up to date on rules and policies governing the Big Hollow Shooting Range. On this form, you will be presented information about the range. After you have read the information, please check the applicable boxes to confirm you understand the information presented. This form is required when you renew your range certification.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us any time at (319) 753-8260 or via email at conservation@dmcounty.com.
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New Shotgun Shooting Feature

We're excited to soon be offering a new feature at the Big Hollow Shooting Range: Clay bird throwers on the 50 yard range.

Key points:

· Range members may shoot shotguns at clay birds from the gravel firing line halfway down the 50 yard range.

· All shot MUST STAY INSIDE THE RANGE AND IMPACT THE TERMINATION BERM.

· You may only use the throwers provided, you may not bring your own nor may you throw clays by hand or with a hand thrower. 

· You must clean up empty shells and clay debris.

· When multiple parties are using the range and only some of them are using the clay bird feature, they must communicate when they’ll be going downrange. 

· No one should handle firearms when others are downrange.

· Non-shotgun shooters still must fire only from the covered firing line. Only shotgun shooters using the clay bird feature may fire from the walkway halfway down the range. 

· When using the clay bird throwers, be careful of the swing zone of the thrower. Damage to property and/or serious injury may result from impact from the throwing arm. 

· Only clay birds may be thrown with the clay bird throwers. Do not attempt to throw anything else. 

· If at any time the throwers or pedestals get shot or negligently or purposefully damaged, they will be removed, along with any opportunity to shoot at moving targets anywhere on the Big Hollow Shooting Range.

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Bringing Guests to the Range

While multiple people may shoot at the new shotgun range simultaneously, members may still bring one guest per range visit. The range member is responsible for making sure everyone follows all range rules and policies, including the new policies governing the new shotgun feature.

All range users, members and guests included, must sign in and out of the ranges using the forms provided inside of the brown registration building between the 50 and 100 yard ranges. Des Moines County Conservation asks its range members to encourage anyone who is a repeat guest to the range to complete the range course and acquire their own membership.

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Big Hollow Master Plan

The shooting range is only one of the many amenities located in Big Hollow Recreation Area. The 800-acre park also offers visitors the opportunity to camp, hike, boat, paddle, fish, hunt, view the stars, and much more. Des Moines County Conservation recently published a new Master Plan for the park which identified millions of dollars of investment into making Big Hollow a “World-Class Park” over the next ten years or so.

To learn more about the plan which includes paved roads, improved trails and lake access, lakefront cabins, a new maintenance facility, and a new department headquarters and outdoor learning center, visit the Big Hollow Master Plan page at DMCconservation.com.

Want to help make the Master Plan a reality? You can make a tax-deductible donation through the Partners for Conservation Foundation. Contact us to learn more. 

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Know How to Contact Us

Des Moines County Conservation counts on its range members to supervise the activities taking place on the shooting range. If you encounter a situation that violates range policies, we ask that you first remove yourself from any potentially hazardous situation and then report the violation immediately.

This is especially important as we introduce the new shotgun feature and integrate it into the range operation. As noted in the training, it is critically important that the feature be used properly. Misuse by anyone should be reported immediately. We count on our range members to monitor the range and ensure it is being used safely and properly at all times.

You may call Des Moines County Conservation’s main office at (319) 753-8260. Even when no one is available at the office, the answering machine gives callers the option to reach on-call staff directly without having to redial. In the event that no one is available, you may also call county dispatch at (319) 671-7001. For emergency situations, call 911.

Des Moines County Conservation staff makes every effort to ensure the ranges are properly maintained and equipped but there are times when maintenance may be required between staff visits. If, during your visit to the range, you notice a need for range maintenance, please notify DMCC maintenance staff. 

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What Firearms and Ammo are Allowed on the Ranges

All legal firearms, legally possessed by the shooter may be used to shoot paper targets affixed to the provided target backing, or the reactive targets provided by Des Moines County Conservation. Only legal non-incendiary ammunition may be used.

There is one exception to this: On the 300-meter range, only high-powered rifles shooting bottleneck cartridges may be used. This is because the trajectory of projectiles fired from lower-powered firearms is such that they can possibly exceed the height of the side berms, or otherwise fail to impact the termination berm.

On the new shotgun shooting area at the 50-yard range, members may shoot any legal shotshells commonly used for target shooting or bird hunting in the state of Iowa. Steel shot is encouraged but lead shot may be used. Remember, ALL SHOT MUST IMPACT THE TERMINATION BERM. There are waterways beyond the range that cannot be polluted with shot. All shot must be contained within the range. 

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The Four Fundamental Rules of Firearm Safety

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.

3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

4. ALWAYS be sure of your target and what is beyond. 

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Range Regulations

Please review and follow these rules when using the range. Note that some of these have changed on account of the new shotgun feature being added to the range this year.

1.      All shooters must have their certification card with them. The first person on the range will assume the Range Officer position. He/she is in charge of range commands and appointing a Range Officer when he/she leaves the range. Most importantly, he/she is in charge of safety on the range.

2.       All range users and guests must sign in and out on the forms provided inside the range buildings.

3.       (UPDATED) When shooting single-projectile firearms (such as rifles, pistols, or shotguns with slugs), shooters shall use only the target frames or reactive targets supplied and approved by the Des Moines County Conservation Director. Shooters must use cardboard or the backing furnished for the target frames. Only paper targets on the frames are allowed; No other targets will be allowed or accepted.

a.       On the 50 yard range, shooters may shoot at clay targets thrown from the provided clay target throwers. No other targets or target throwers may be used and clay target shooting may only be done from the designated shooting area halfway down the 50 yard range. Clay target shooting is not allowed anywhere else within Big Hollow.

4.       All projectiles, including shot, must impact the termination berm. All target frames on the 25 yard, 50 yard, 100 yard, and 300 meter ranges are permanently affixed and shall remain where installed.

5.       Shooters must always know their target, use good judgment and be extremely cautious of what may be behind their target. Be aware there are homes and people beyond the shooting range and stray bullets from the range can cause damage to life and property. Shooters must always keep the muzzle of the firearm pointed in a safe direction.

6.       All loaded firearms must be pointed downrange at the termination berm.

7.       All firearms shall be unloaded with action open until ready to fire.

8.       (UPDATED) All single-projectile firing shall be done from the firing line on the 50, 100, and 300 ranges. Shotguns shooting shot may be used on the firing line halfway down the range when actively shooting at clay targets thrown from the provided throwers. No other shooting is to be done from that line.

9.       (UPDATED) On the 25 and 50 yard ranges, shooters may move forward as a group under the direction of the Range Officer.

10.   Only shooters, spotters, and coaches are allowed on the firing line while it is in operation. Spectators are to stay behind the firing line at all times.

11.   All barrels should be checked for a bore obstruction before firing. Malfunctioning firearms should not be used. Only legal firearms are to be used.

12.   All unsafe acts or situations on a range shall be corrected immediately.

13.   Any person may call “CEASE FIRE” at any time they see an unsafe situation or act.

14.   Upon the command “CEASE FIRE” all firearms will be unloaded immediately.

15.   Eye and ear protection is required during active shooting.

16.   Dry firing is permitted on the firing line only.

17.   Make sure the correct ammunition for the firearm is being used.

18.   Inexperienced shooters must be accompanied by experienced shooters.

19.   (UPDATED) All shooters should clean their target and firing station and, if applicable, pick up any clay target debris from shooting clays on the 50 yard range when they have completed their firing.

20.   When shooters go downrange to change targets and score, the Range Officer must control movement by using standard range commands.

21.   (UPDATED) Clay pigeon shooting is only allowed from the firing line halfway down the 50 yard range and clay targets may only be thrown from the provided throwers. Only factory-made clay targets are to be thrown from the throwers. All shots fired at clay targets must impact the termination berm.

22.   During heavy range usage there will be a 30 minute time limit.

23.   Des Moines County Conservation reserves the right to close the shooting range at any time.

General Area Regulations

1.       Loud or abusive language will not be permitted.

2.       Alcoholic beverages or shooters having immediate prior consumption are prohibited at the shooting range complex.

3.       During heavy use vehicles should be carefully parked, permitting all vehicles to exit the range area in a safe manner.

4.       Please stay on the walkways.

5.       Pick up any trash or debris in the shooting area.

Security and Enforcement

1.       Disregard for and failure to adhere to range or general area regulations will automatically and immediately disqualify the offender from using the shooting range indefinitely.

2.       Des Moines County Conservation will make every effort to provide safety and security for the shooting range. Des Moines County Conservation will strictly enforce all rules, regulations, policy and procedures.

3.       The range is fenced and posted with “Danger No Trespassing Shooting Range” and “Stop Only Certified Shooters May Use Ranges” signs; violators will be prosecuted under Code of Iowa, Section 461A.44, “Prohibited Areas”.

4.       Individuals found to be intentionally or unintentionally shooting over berms will be prosecuted under Code of Iowa Section 724.30, “Reckless Use of a Firearm”. 

5.       The range will be supervised when in operation at all times.

6.       The Des Moines County Conservation Board will determine the penalty or punishment on reported violations other than those covered by public law.

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By checking the box below, I agree without reservation to abide by all safety and operating rules and regulations of the Des Moines County Conservation Shooting Range located at Big Hollow Recreation Area. I also hereby waive, relieve, and absolve Des Moines County Conservation and its employees, agents, assignees, directors, and all other duly authorized representatives thereof, of any and all liability whatsoever, including all claims, demands, and causes of action of every nature affecting the undersigned and their children or wards which any of them may have or ever have in connection with the shooting range facility.
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