Jim Jones: Painted Woods Sporting Range

“Anyone that suffers from asthma or can’t play in other sports can still shoot. You can jump on a cart and get out and have some fun in the outdoors.”


From a young age, Jim Jones, manager of Painted Woods Sporting Complex, remembers going out to a shooting range with his parents and sisters. “My father was a big influence on me as far as learning how to shoot, to hunting with him and target shooting with him,” Jim says. The time together fostered a passion for hunting and the outdoors that has grown into a career.

For 15 years, Jim was a hunting guide in South Dakota, but one of his clients had something else in mind for him. Painted Woods Sporting Complex owner Mike Palmer talked Jim into moving to Williston and getting the whole thing started. Mike is an avid outdoorsman and saw a need for a healthy outdoor activity for his hometown. Jim describes, “sporting clays is considered golf with a shotgun. Each station or each hole is going to have its own unique intricacies. Everything is just a little bit different from where you go from course to course.”

Their plans didn’t stop with the state-of-the-art course and 1,250-yard rifle range. They are working on a partnership with the local high school to start a scholastic clays team. Jim adds, “We’re here to grow the sport of sporting clays and keep a healthy outdoor activity for the city of Williston.”

Jim also is an NSCA nationally ranked shooter and a certified instructor. He competes as often as he can and offers lessons. “Being able to understand how the shooter sees it and being able to translate that over to be able to have them break more targets, that’s the goal of the instructions and that is what we try and do.”

Painted Woods Sporting Complex caters to all ages and abilities, offering equipment to those new to the sport and offering a chance for hunters to warm up before hitting the fields. In Jim’s words, “We are definitely open through hunting season for sure every year. It’s a great way for them to get warmed up when they get off the plane or out of the car to come out and experience a little North Dakota hospitality before they hit the fields in the fall.”  And with safety as their top priority, Painted Woods Sporting Complex is a great place for the whole family to learn and practice safe hunting.  “Everybody here is here to have a good time and we want them going home and telling everybody about the good time they had.”

And for that visitor new to the Williston area, Jim recommends checking out the ARC (Williston Area Recreation Center). His favorite places to eat include the smaller hometown spots like Lonnie’s Roadhouse Café and Gramma Sharon’s Family Restaurant. Also, don’t miss the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center, Fort Union National Historic Site and Fort Buford State Historic Site.

Williston Map


For more stories, go to ND TravelMatters.