AUSTIN (KXAN) - Shooting ranges and endangered species do not necessarily gohand-in-hand, but Hays County officials are pondering thatpossibility.
Robert Wyche is in the business of firearms.
"We're the only small Mom-and-Pop store here in San Marcos,"said Robert Wyche, Bunker GunShop owner.
The only shooting range is about 45 minutes away.
"We have a huge amount of people on a daily basis asking uswhere they can shoot," said Wyche.
Commissioner WillConley is in support of a shooting range in Hays County.
"We're looking for a place for them to call home," said WillConley, Hays County Commissioner Precinct 3.
Their new home could be in a wildlife preserve. The county islooking to buy 500 to 2,000 acres of land as part of its HabitatConservation Plan. Officials will use its existing $8.5 millionin park bond funds to pay for the land.
"And there's additional property left that we're not getting anycredit from the federal government for endangered species, than itmakes sense to have a co-location," said Conley.
The problem of a possible shooting range is the endangeredspecies the Golden-cheeked Warbler. The rare bird haschosen the
"This is a really special bird that only nests here," saidValarie Bristol, Travis Audubon Society President. "The federal lawsays you cannot mess with where they nest, where they feed andwhere they get water."
Both bird lovers and gun enthusiasts agree that protecting anendangered species is a top priority. But the question is whether ashooting range will be far enough from the Golden-cheeked Warblers'habitat.
"They would promise to protect the wildlife in the area," saidBristol. "They would have to weight these two issues."
County officials have submitted 15 land proposals. They areexpected to select a piece of land early next year. From there,Fish and Wildlife will determine if it is safe enough to house theGolden-cheeked Warbler and a shooting range.
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