Most common questions asked…

Note:  Target shooting is serious recreation and all safety precautions must be taken to assure Personal & Public Safety, Fire Prevention, Natural Resource Protection and Environmental well being.  Adherence to the rules is required.


Where can I shoot?

Target shooting has been a long standing and appropriate use of State and Federal forest lands, when done safely and with respect to the land and forest property. Recreational target shooting is acceptable most anywhere in a forest, unless specifically ordered and signed as closed, or, do not meet the criteria specified in the Rules & Regulations.

First of all, visit the Target Shooting Map on our Home Page!  You may find a place near you.

How can I find a place to shoot?

There are several ways to find good places to shoot on public lands.

  • Ask your local gun shop.  They typically know of public land places, near your area, where you can shoot.

  • Google Maps, Google Earth, onX Hunt map app.  Using all 3 apps are best.

Use Google Maps to locate the forest you wish to visit, get directions and GPS info. (use the Satellite view).  Google Earth to zoom in and change the angle to see the terrain (you’re looking for a substantial earthen berm backstop!).  Use onX Hunt to verify if the land is public/private, where the trails are, current & past wildfires, tracking your journey and set way-points.

In Google Maps, you’re searching the forest for cutout dirt spaces that may be gravel pits or shooting areas, (Note: While gravel pits are not always a good place to shoot because of ricochet potential off rocks, many pits do have good earth soil banks to use as a good backstop).  You can zoom in to get a pretty close idea if it looks like a place to shoot.

If you use Google Earth, copy the GPS coordinates from G Maps and paste them into Google Earth.  You can zoom a little closer and can also angle the view to see a representation of the terrain.  This tells you if there is an adequate backstop or not.  You can also see any nearby outbuildings or structures that may be a red flag to shooting there.

Check your find on the onX Hunt app to verify if that place is actually on public or private land.  It will also show the trail system to check for conflicting nearby trails, bodies of water or neighbors that may be too close for shooting activity.  Mark your places on onX Hunt and save the map for off-line use when you visit (GPS will track you through the forest even without cell phone service).  You will be able to find the places you had marked and, as you travel through the forest, you can add new way-points and notes notes to your map.

Then plan a day of exploration.  Any day spent in the forest is a good day (even if you didn’t find a good place to shoot!).

  • Another option is simply take a drive through the forest.  Undoubtedly, you will come across places where people are shooting.  Keep in mind, however, just because someone is shooting there does not mean it is a good, or legal place to shoot!  Use your best judgement and apply the rules to the location… Does is have an adequate Earthern Berm Backstop?  Can public safety be maintained?  Any fire hazards?  Are there other recreational activities, outbuildings or residence nearby?  Can you be sure NO ROUNDS LEAVE THE RANGE?

Are there any rules?

Oh, you betcha there are!  Just like any other kind of recreational activity, there are rules for target shooting on all public lands.

Search the web for the public land you recreate in and know the target shooting rules before you go.  If you cannot find specific rules for your preferred forest, default to the common sense rules listed on our website ‘Shooting Regs‘ (you will also find links to some forest agencies who post their rules on line).

What is a legal target?

No person shall shoot targets other than those commercially manufactured for the specific purpose of target shooting, except for paper targets privately manufactured by the people engaging in target shooting.  This means; no soda or beer cans, no milk jugs, no TV’s/Electronics/Microwaves/Computers, and so forth.  Only targets that were manufactured for the purpose of target shooting!

What are the shooting hours?

Typically, Sunup to Sundown.  Some allow for a half hour before and after, however, it’s best to default to the actual sunrise and sunset times in your area.  Some locations will have special rules for shooting hours, such as the Triangle Pit in the Olympia State Forest, WA, where you may not shoot before 9 AM or after 5 PM.  This is because of the noise factor on nearby residents and/or camping facilities.  Please learn and respect these requirements!

Can I shoot Tannerite?

The use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition is prohibited.  Period.  It’s in the rules.  Please do not try this on any public lands!



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