Guideline for Shooting Targets on Public Lands

Posted by Peter Bunnell on January 18, 2015 0 Comments

Some states allow the public to shoot steel targets on public lands. Before shooters head out to their nearby public land management areas, it is important to check each states’ rules and regulations. Generally, areas that are open for shooting targets have set guidelines, which may or may not include the following:

  • Safety – First, safety is paramount when shooting gun targets in public areas. Shooters should set up targets in high areas that feature dirt backstops. They should never shoot towards other vehicles, people, roads, structures, trails or animals. These actions are expressly forbidden on public government lands. Always respect any posted signs and private property.
  • Firing – Always check fire conditions with bureaus of land management, as hot and dry conditions can cause fires. This means that target shooting in hot, arid climates can cause forest fires. If shooting is still permitted, arrive prepared, keeping a shovel, water and fire extinguisher on hand. The government has the authority and right to charge for all damages and costs associated with starting a fire.
  • Ammunition – Most public lands do not allow the use of incendiary ammunition or tracers. This helps maintain public safety while also preventing fires. Some parks also prohibit steel-jacketed or steel-core ammunition, as these can lead to hazardous fire conditions, too. Additionally, foreign-made or surplus military caliber ammunition, solid lead, copper-jacketed and lead-core bullets have less chance of causing damaging forest fires. Always use a magnet to confirm that ammunition does not contain steel components.
  • Targets – While some public lands allow steel targets, most also allow paper, clay or cardboard targets. Exploding targets, pyrotechnics and explosive devices are strictly prohibited. Shooters should never shoot metals, plastics, glass, electronic components, home appliances or furniture, as these are dangerous and can cause public harm.
  • Trigger Trash – Always shoot over a tarp for easy cleanup, which ensures that shells and cartridges are never left behind. All trash, targets and shooting debris should be removed. Never litter or dump on public lands.
  • Vehicles – Never park or drive on or over vegetation, as this could cause a wildfire or damage to public lands.
  • Permits – Some public areas require permits for parking or entering parks.

It is important for shooters to be good stewards to the environment, helping to preserve public lands for the next generation. By helping remove metal debris, such as bullets, we can help prevent animals from swallowing harmful ammunition that may cause them to die premature deaths.

To be an environmentally friendly gun owner involves safety, knowledge and education. By teaching today’s society that owning guns can be safe and environmentally friendly, it helps to remove the harmful ideology that the liberal media has associated with gun ownership.


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