Though I am a new hunter, I'm not a new shooter. I've visited many of gun ranges in my day. I understand that ranges have a bit of an overhead to keep it maintained, but why do they have to charge so much for a day of practicing.
It's not like they serve you lunch or drinks while you're out there, and they over charge you for any ammo that you may have to buy (if they have the right ammo to begin with). To me it should be free to use the range if you bring your own guns and ammo, unless it's an indoor range (which is only good for pistols and riot guns). I personally like stepping out my back door and blasting away at the targets in my yard. Some people like to go and meet other gun enthusiast, some just to watch others shoot. That's all good if you have the funds. As far as the thousand yard range, it's useless unless you are a practicing sniper then the your working for the government and they have their own ranges to train on. I wish you the best in your ventures.