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A resident near Rush Lake Range speaks out about safety concerns after he says bullets have been escaping the range

“They’ve done nothing to take affirmative action on anybody’s safety and concerns. They just keep shooting,” says New York Mills property owner Jay VanWatermulen.
Published: Oct. 30, 2021 at 10:02 PM CDT
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NEW YORK MILLS, M.N. (Valley News Live) - Residents living near the Rush Lake Range in New York Mills, which is about 10 miles south of Perham, are now speaking out.

“They’ve done nothing to take affirmative action on anybody’s safety and concerns. They just keep shooting,” says New York Mills property owner Jay VanWatermulen.

His property in the area has been in his family for over 30 years.

When Rush Lake Range opened 5 years ago, he and his neighbors started having close calls of being hit by bullets they say came from the range.

“The range owners themselves know that there are people here, and yet they continue to let the shooting happen,” says VanWatermulen.

VanWatermulen tells us last week, he saw a bullet hit the ground just a few feet away from him and his family.

He says Otter Tail Sheriff’s Office told him it’s probable the bullet came from the range.

“The deputy got here and we started digging and we found the bullet right here. It was about 8 inches underground,” he says.

VanWatermulen says the berms at the range aren’t big enough to keep people living around the area safe.

“They don’t have any side berms, baffles, I’m unaware of any bullet catchers. They don’t have enough land to contain the projectiles onto their property because their property line from that berm is 250 feet,” he says.

He tells us his family is scared to be on their own property.

“I made a fort, me and my brother, made a fort over there. We’re still working on it. But after what happened, I don’t want to go out there anymore. I don’t even want to look at the fort because I’m scared,” says Jay’s 10-year old son Sam VanWatermulen.

“When they’re shooting 3,750 feet, who’s to say that that bullet can’t travel another 1,200 feet. Because that’s the distance they’re shooting from up at that range,” says VanWatermulen.

Vanwatermulen tells us he’s tried to talk to leadership at rush lake range about the issue on several occasions.

“Nothing was done then. They’re not doing anything about it now. They’re a for-profit company, and they’re taking profits over safety,” says the concerned resident.

We reached out to Rush Lake Range, and they declined to comment.

Valley News Live also reached out to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office but hasn’t heard back.

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