ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering $100,000 in shooting range grants in an effort to increase opportunities for people to have safe places to practice shooting sports.

The open-ended application period begins Monday. Grants from $2,500 to $25,000 are available. The grants require a 1:1 match and may be used for five-stand, pistol, rifle, skeet or trap ranges. Grantees must allow members of the public to shoot at reasonable times and affordable fees.

In the current application period, the DNR will focus on providing funds to new grantees from outstate areas. There will be a particular emphasis on providing grants to groups whose projects reduce travel distances for students and others who currently drive an hour or more to participate in shooting sports activities.

The DNR intends to make available another $100,000 in shooting range grants later this year.

Minnesota has seen a surge in interest in the shooting sports in recent years, thanks in large part to the growth of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League, in which about 12,000 students compete.