Georgia Dedicates the New Commander Firing Range

Georgia Dedicates the New Commander Firing Range

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

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 and select “Hunting” and then “Archery/Shooting Ranges.”

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John Haley

Never heard of a “GORP” so Iooked it up, thinking it would be a whole lot more helpful answer to the uninitiated if not reduced to the slang/acronym. They are no longer available. “Oualifying license” is another bit of uninformative information. That would be a hunting license. From “GORP Licenses are no longer available. A license that includes the privilege to hunt or fish on state lands is all that is needed to shoot on state shooting ranges, or be on state WRD lands. All persons 16 and older on designated state WRD lands must have an individual basic… Read more »

Thomas Long

How can I get a permit to use the firing range at Chickasawhatchee. I haven’t found where to do this on any of the web sites.
Thomas Long
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I believe there is no membership rate. You just need a GORP or qualifying license.