Busting Clay in the Badlands

Williston is known as the epicenter of North Dakota's oil boom. And a new sporting range is the perfect addition to this western city. The Painted Woods Sporting Range offers sporting clays, five-stand, rifle and pistol ranges. An archery range is expected to open in the fall.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Painted Woods with my nine-year-old daughter. The manager, James Jones, is a terrific ambassador and instructor. He guided us through the sporting clay range and showed us the proper technique for the first-timer. 

Some of the benefits of Painted Woods' sporting clays include the number and variety of stations, beautiful scenery and the ability to move throwers to accommodate wind conditions and so no two rounds are ever the same. The five-stand is a perfect setup for shooting with the guys. And James provides advice for proper shooting technique. 

First-time shooters, like my daughter, benefit from instruction in a large, open lodge and in stand. The lodge, and the sporting range, are ability-accessible with handicap indoor bathrooms, golf carts for traversing the complex and push-carts for those who wish to go on foot. First-timers should also talk to James about perks! Especially for those female first-time shooters and youth under 18.

While the whole complex was impressive, what I truly appreciated was James's patience. He was welcoming, helpful and safety-focused. You can bring your own guns and shells or rent guns and buy rounds there. They also provide a sighting service for those who want to leave their rifle with the experts before a big-game hunt.

Painted Woods has my recommendation - and I'll definitely be returning.