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spectr17
12-08-2008, 12:48 AM
New Firing Range Dedicated To Former Region Supervisor

11/24/08

ALBANY, GEORGIA - A new firing range is now open in southwest Georgia at the Chickasawhatchee Wildlife Management Area, announces the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. The range is named in honor of Capt. Michael D. Commander, the former law enforcement region supervisor for the Division in this part of the state. Commander passed away in May 2007.

A dedication ceremony held earlier this week brought together many of those who knew Capt. Commander, as well as members of his family. His youngest daughter took the honorary first shot to open the range.

"The desire for a range in this area was evident, as expressed by the many sportsmen's groups who requested this type of facility - so I know it is a welcome addition to this part of the state," says Chief of Game Management Mark Whitney. "It is the longest public range on WMA land in southwest Georgia as well as one of only two WMA ranges with a separate pistol range."

Construction for the range began in March of this year, with final completion accomplished earlier this month. The range was built using Wildlife Restoration funds. This money comes from sportsmen through their purchases of firearms and ammunition.

Similar to the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center firing range (Mansfield, Ga.), this area will have DNR Range Safety Officers on site during hours of operation. The range has a 200-yard rifle range and a separate 50-yard pistol range with plans for an archery range in the future (archery equipment currently can be utilized on the pistol range). Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The range is closed on Mondays for maintenance.

"Capt. Commander was a tremendous asset to law enforcement- he was honest, professional and always looking forward to challenges," says Col. Terry West, Chief of Law Enforcement. "He is still missed by many and we believe this is a fitting tribute to his contributions and commitment to his job."

Capt. Michael D. Commander, Jan. 1954-May 2007, was region supervisor for southwest Georgia Law Enforcement from April 2004 until his passing. He began his career with the Division in 1980. Some of the honors received during his service include State Ranger of the Year (1997 and 1998), Investigative Ranger of the Year (1997) and Waterfowl Officer of the Year (1982-1983). He was respected as an officer, well liked in his community and was a dedicated father and husband.

For more information on the new public firing range, visit http://www.georgiawildlife.com and select "Hunting" and then "Archery/Shooting Ranges."

Media Contact:
Melissa Cummings (770) 918-6788 or melissa.cummings@dnr.state.ga.us