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Season Reminder to Follow Best Practices While Target Shooting

The Nez Perce – Clearwater National Forest gives a good seasonal reminder to community members that everyone needs to follow best practices while target shooting on public lands. That includes knowing what lies down range and ensuring that you are not shooting toward people, buildings, or roads.

Remember: YOU are responsible for your own safety and for the safety of those around you.

There have been increasing reports of target shooters firing near people and private dwellings, including a recent incident where a local family reported dodging bullets at a toddler’s birthday party (

Please follow these best practices whenever shooting on your public lands:

Target shooting is allowed on national forest or grassland unless restricted. Check your local ranger district for more information about local restriction. It is prohibited to shoot:

In or within 150 yards from a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation area or occupied area.

Across or on a national forest or grassland road or body of water.

In any manner or place where any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.

Into or within a cave.

Firing tracer bullets or incendiary ammunition.

Disturbing, injuring, destroying, or in any way damaging any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological resource, structure, site, artifact, property.

Abandoning any personal property or failing to dispose of all garbage, including targets, paper, cans, bottles, appliances.

In general, you should target shoot only if you:

Use approved targets. Certain forests may have specific restrictions, such as the type of targets used (i.e. cardboard targets, paper targets, clay pigeons).

Exploding targets are not recommended and are restricted on many forests or grasslands for safety and fire concerns.

Use approved targets along with a safe, ”bullet-proof” backstop. Do not to attach your targets to vegetation or structures, such as; trees, log decks, slash piles, fences, or water tanks.

Practice safe gun handling by:

Treating every gun as if it is loaded.

Never letting the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you do not intend to shoot.

Keeping your finger off of the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.

Making sure of your target and what is beyond.

Are not in possession of alcoholic beverages while discharging a firearm.