Police officer says helicopter from gun range endangering his cattle

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 13 at 8:01 PM

AUBREY –– A North Texas Police Officer who teaches firearms safety says a Denton County gun range that features target practice from a helicopter is dangerous. Neighbors have voiced their concerns about the safety of aerial shooting at the location near Aubrey.

Ofc. Brad Wilcox leases the land next to the gun range, where he raises a few dozen cattle. He fears the shooting next door is endangering his life and his livestock. 

"If I can see it from here, how is that safe?," asked Wilcox. 

The officer no longer allows his cattle to graze just beyond the Big Boar Tactical gun range. He said he has found lead slugs in the hay burm. 

"I'm scared the bullets are going to come over the property line when I'm out here," said Wilcox.

But the gun range management defends their safety record. They say there's no way to prove slugs found above the burm came from Big Boar Tactical. They call it highly unlikely.

 "They flatten out or they shatter," said Tate Banhart, the principal instructor at the range. "So they don't ricochet. They're designed to hit the target, stop and pretty much fall down in the immediate area."

Banhart says the dirt burms are higher than what's mandated by Texas law. 

"Firing that is done from the helicopter is done on a down angle," said Banhart. "It's not done on a flat trajectory. So that's even safer than it would be someone standing on the ground."

But Wilcox says there is no room for error by the shooter. The officer says if the shots were fired in another direction, away from his cattle, he wouldn't be so upset. He understands that finding a solution is a challenge because the range operates near Aubrey legally. 

"I don't expect them to stop," said Wilcox. "Everybody's got a right to use their property. But they're dangerous. And the danger needs to stop." 

Gun range officials say they want to be good neighbors. They said they're willing to talk with anyone who has concerns.

Email sstoler@wfaa.com

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