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Neighbor sounds off on shooting range ruckus

By Sean Ryan

Brian Rudy has heard enough.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, with a brief respite during the gun deer hunting season, Rudy hears the shotgun blasts, rifle cracks and pistol claps float along the breeze to his home. Rudy is a neighbor of the McMiller Shooting Range in Eagle, and he’s taking a stand against what he argues is the state’s failure to keep a 15-year-old promise.

“The noise is absolutely just terrible coming from that range,” he said. “The noise is absolutely, completely unnecessary.”

Range neighbors have long complained about the noise, and the state is searching for ways to muffle the muzzles, said Paul Sandgren, state Department of Natural Resources forest superintendent at the Kettle Moraine State Forest. It’s the DNR’s fulfillment of a promise made in 1994 to try to minimize the noise whenever there is a project at the range, he said.

The DNR needs to replace the hutches around the shooting areas and is studying the noise as part of the planning.

“This I would classify as an old issue,” Sandgren said, “and I think it was an issue when the range was constructed back in 1974.”

But there is only so much that can be done to silence the racket of an outdoor range, said Mike Hankard, president of Verona-based sound engineer Hankard Environmental, which is the DNR’s consultant on the project.

“We researched what’s being done in other ranges of the country, and I’ve never seen anything that goes this far,” he said of the DNR’s latest plans to reduce the noise.

Rudy, who worked as an electrician for 30 years before retiring seven years ago, lives about 2,400 feet from one of the many ranges at the McMiller course. He said he has become a student of gauging the way sound travels and has boxes of files about the history of the range and measurements he has taken of the gunshot noise on his property. The problem is the wind, Rudy said. The breeze lifts the sounds of gunshots and carries them over the range’s berms and walls and onto his property.

Hankard agreed and said the DNR is considering construction of three-walled hutches around the areas where the guns are fired. He said it’s the most effective way to prevent the wind from picking up the sounds.

Existing sheds at the range were not designed and insulated to absorb sound, but the new designs for the range will soak up some of the noise, Hankard said. Gunshots are measured at about 50 decibels, he said, and insulated sheds would catch between 5 and 15 decibels.

But, he said, the sheds can’t stop sound from escaping in front of shooters.

“There is not much you can do in that direction,” Hankard said. “You can only have three sides.”

The DNR has other options, such as requiring gun muzzles or covering the ground with gravel or sand to absorb sound.

“You could put a roof over the whole thing,” Hankard said, “but then it’s not an outdoor range anymore.”

Hankard on Wednesday will present to range neighbors his noise-reduction plans at a meeting in the town of Eagle.

Rudy, who is skeptical of the project, said he will be there to pepper planners with questions about whether the work will live up to the DNR’s promise.

“Am I bitter?” he said. “Yeah.”


  1. Unless Mr. Rudy purchased his home prior to 1974, when the range was constructed, he can sit down and STFU. If you purchase a home next to a firing range, an airport, a major highway, or a pig farm, don’t complain about the sounds and smells on your property.

  2. Let me get this straight: some chestbeater moves next door to a shooting range and then complains about the noise? Hey genius, newsflash: guns are loud.

    Couple more things that you might have failed to catch on to: sky is blue, puppies are furry, and one shouldn’t stick one’s finger in the light socket.

    Either we are to believe that this guy is so stupid that he didn’t know that a shooting range would be loud (in which case it is still his fault) or he’s a liberal jackass with an agenda. Which is it, Mr. Rudy? Are you an imbecile or a political activist? In either case, he should be ignored.

  3. So, he moved next to a rifle range and wants to complain about the noise?

    Why should our tax dollars go to pacify someone who chose poorly when selecting a home?

  4. Newsflash: Shooting ranges, trains, and airports are noisy. If you don’t like noise then do not move next to these or other noisy areas. Mr. Rudy needs to either learn to live with the noise or move and sell his house to someone who appreciates the sound of freedom.

  5. All of you Obama voters need to move to another country and leave OURS alone. Oh yeah, and take the TOTUS with ya.

  6. Hey Rudy, this isn’t Notre Dame, who will let anyone into school (and on the football team) if they complain enough. It’s not the range’s problem you made a poor home-buying decision.

  7. Mr Crunktastic Goldteef

    Hey rudy…….. dont like it you will have to move…dont be a cry baby

  8. We could remove the range and turn it into a reeducation camp for gold owning ron paul supporters!

  9. If the nfa laws regarding suppressors were not so strict, not only would cost and availability go down, but their use would decrease noise pollution. Even European countries who have strict gun laws have little to no regulations on suppressors. Cars have mufflers to reduce noise, and you can buy a muffler over the counter, by this man’s logic, if cars had no mufflers or mufflers were as hard and expensive to acquire as suppressors, then said cars should be removed from the road. Your energy is misdirected Rudy, I believe you need to address your concerns to those who create/enforce laws that pertain to suppressors.

  10. I agree with Rudy guys.

  11. Arock, my old friend. How have you been? I long for the day when the federal government rules this land with an iron fist.

  12. Can we get a competency hearing for Brian Rudy? This guy really needs a mental health examination.

  13. the first sentence of the story is misleading at best. mcmiller’s is open 7 days a week only in november prior to deer season. also, this ridy fellow lives almost a mile away from the nearest firing range. obvious aganda here. they have been trying to close down mcmiller’s range for years. with the help of sandgren it might just happen.

  14. It is a common law right in Civil law that everyone has a right to reasonable peace and quiet and enjoyment of their own property.
    When disturbing sound from a gun range travels into another persons property they are denied this right.
    Gun ranges should not be allowed anywhere near a residence; in other words, move your range out of town where you will not disturb others.
    In civil law the defence ‘who was here first’ does not permit a person to create a nuisnace
    to others.
    Any good lawyer will have this stopped with a Court injunction.

  15. No shooting ranges. No dragstrips. No stockcar tracks.No dirtbikes. No small airfields. No heavy industry. No rock concerts. No Harleys. You cant do **** anymore. When I was a kid (not so long ago) nobody cared if you made a little noise. Raised some dust, or worked at a place that was noisy. Americans are a bunch of nervous nellies who sit on their fat butts and watch TV. Meanwhile real life is passing them by. Bang Bang! Vrooooom Vrooom. Hey Rudy, grow a pair will ya!

  16. William Chuisano

    What a country… gun shots are the sound of freedom! This guy should have never moved next to a shooting range, he can either A: take up target shooting, or B: move… Simple
    Seems the only people with any rights these days are liberals!! Time for them to STFU and us real Americans stand up for our Constitutional rights!

  17. unlessyou live near one you have no idea what havoc they do and it was not there when we built

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