Plinking/shooting around legal in national forest?


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CHighfield
January 13, 2013, 08:38 PM
Hey guys!

Great day, I'm super pumped. First some junk, then my question.

I went to my marksmanship class for the first time, kinda worried (Never did FORMAL shooting competition before, just plinking/squirrel shooting) but it ended up being GREAT! 4 round group through ONE hole, 6 shots through a DIME size hole at 50.

Also, I BOUGHT my first rifle today! Savage Mark II. (I've owned guns, but never bought.)

Which leads me to my question: can you shoot in a national forest without a permit? I'm talking plinking and paper, not hunting. Away from trails and roads, or what?

Thanks! Hope y'all had about as good of a day as i did.

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moonpie
January 13, 2013, 10:51 PM
no you cannot . we had a public range in the Coneceh Nation Foroest
but it was closed so the Feds could build another facility 30 miles further south. sounds like another Nobama promise to me. but anyway in Alabama any harassing of game animals including target practice is considered hunting .

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 13, 2013, 10:58 PM
no you cannot

This isn't true.

You can shoot in many National Forests. Go find your local National Forest using the following link and see what the specific regulations are for your area.
http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml

Pointshoot
January 14, 2013, 10:24 AM
Seems that you might have to do a little searching and maybe even calling around to find the answers regarding your own local area. You might even have to try various websites with local shooters who have looked into or done this.

I checked online for one of our national forests, and couldnt find anything mentioned about 'target shooting' or 'shooting' at all under the various recreation categories. This includes the broad 'other activites' column. When I did a blanket search on their website of 'shooting', I found a news release from Oct 2012 which wrote about the conditions of a road that needs to be repaired that runs 'by the shooting range'.

No mention of the 'shooting range' anywhere else that I could find.

If I recall correctly, in our area you could target shoot in national forests. This is the way it was since I was a kid. You just had to take the normal safety considerations into mind - no shooting across roads, have a good solid backstop, be aware of trails, etc. This is the same area where I bowhunt and where some buddies of mine rifle hunt.
Now I either shoot on our own place or at a couple of local ranges. Its closer than the national forest. If in the Natl Forest & I target shoot, its likely to be a bow. I need lots of practice on that !

Gato MontÚs
January 14, 2013, 11:19 AM
I had the same question about the Nicolet Nat'l Forest in northern Wisconsin so I popped them an email. When they replied I was afraid of the response, but instead the lady offered a bunch of gravel pits that made for excellent backstops and how to get to them.

While I don't think a hunting license is required, having a small game license on hand might not be such a bad idea.

SharpsDressedMan
January 14, 2013, 07:40 PM
If you can hunt in any particular national forest, it should technically be legit to fire a weapon there for other sporting purposes (target shooting), as long as you are being safe and not damaging anything (trees, etc). If you are shooting, but not hunting, it has previously been accepted as a sport to be enjoyed in the national forests that I have shot in (White River & Routt Nat'l forests in CO) without worry about pohibitions. Some of the few rules I can remember was being off and away from the road, not in a vehicle, and shooting in a safe area or open range, not otherwise posted.

USAF_Vet
January 14, 2013, 07:47 PM
It's legal to target shoot/ plink in Manistee National Forest. If it's legal there, I assume it would be legal in every National Forest. A simple call to the Ranger station would get you an answer.

xfyrfiter
January 15, 2013, 09:03 PM
i shoot on federal and state land all the time, as I am surrounded. The only stipulation is within the campground, and quality waters area of the state park, where you can duck hunt in quality waters but may not shoot centerfire rifles.

Captains1911
January 15, 2013, 10:49 PM
If you can hunt in any particular national forest, it should technically be legit to fire a weapon there for other sporting purposes (target shooting), as long as you are being safe and not damaging anything (trees, etc). If you are shooting, but not hunting, it has previously been accepted as a sport to be enjoyed in the national forests that I have shot in (White River & Routt Nat'l forests in CO) without worry about pohibitions. Some of the few rules I can remember was being off and away from the road, not in a vehicle, and shooting in a safe area or open range, not otherwise posted.
Not necessarily true. For GW and Jefferson National Forests in VA, shooting is only permitted during hunting season. Different forests, different rules.

CHighfield
January 15, 2013, 11:21 PM
I checked online for one of our national forests, and couldnt find anything mentioned about 'target shooting' or 'shooting' at all under the various recreation categories. This includes the broad 'other activites' column.

Same here. I found hunting licenses and permits that you need and where it said to be >150 yds from a trail/camping site, use prober backstop etc, but no plinking info. I'm looking at Talladega National, btw. It's a good drive, but closer than the nearest range (and nicer to have a picnic at.) :p

Thanks for the replies guys, I'll keep checking. Campus internet is not my friend though. :fire:

coloradokevin
January 16, 2013, 01:32 AM
no you cannot

That depends on the national forest. When I was growing up in Ohio you were permitted to hunt (not target shoot) on those forests. Here in Colorado you can shoot on the National Forests, and people do so with frequency.

sleepyone
January 16, 2013, 01:44 AM
A couple of years ago our family went to Durango, CO. We stayed in some cabins in a national forest and took my AR and some pistols. I checked with the authorities to make sure we were in the clear. We were shooting just off the road, and a local woman came jogging by. Boy you should have seen her face! We just waved and smiled as she went by and then commenced to shooting again once she was safely out of ear shot.

SkunkApe
January 16, 2013, 09:02 AM
You can shoot in every national forest I ever researched, except in designated restricted areas.

The info can be a little hard to find. You pretty much have to researh the specific forest you're interested in.

Like this:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPyhQoY6BdkOyoCAGixyPg!/?ss=110210&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=stelprdb5163234&navid=110000000000000&pnavid=null&position=Not%2520Yet%2520Determined.Html&ttype=detail&pname=Arapaho%2520&%2520Roosevelt%2520National%2520Forests%2520Pawnee%2520National%2520Grassland-%2520Recreation

Captains1911
January 16, 2013, 10:01 AM
You can shoot in every national forest I ever researched, except in designated restricted areas.

The info can be a little hard to find. You pretty much have to researh the specific forest you're interested in.

Like this:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPyhQoY6BdkOyoCAGixyPg!/?ss=110210&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=stelprdb5163234&navid=110000000000000&pnavid=null&position=Not%2520Yet%2520Determined.Html&ttype=detail&pname=Arapaho%2520&%2520Roosevelt%2520National%2520Forests%2520Pawnee%2520National%2520Grassland-%2520Recreation
Again, the forests don't all have the same rules. It would be foolish to assume that because it's allowed in the one you linked, it's allowed in them all.

dogrunner
January 16, 2013, 10:57 AM
The Ocala Ntl. Forest is a Florida WMA and one cannot, by State GFC rules, randomly target practice there. There IS a range of sorts, but outside of hunting it's not permitted to just find a spot & shoot as one can in most of the western US.

phoglund
January 16, 2013, 11:31 AM
Sounds like there are some regional differences here. I live out West, Montana. National forests here only have restrictions on some heavily used hiking trails near urban areas, which seems eminently reasonable to me.

Otherwise, whenever going out to cut firewood, I always bring some firearms along to do a little shooting while out in the mountains. Makes the chore a bit more fun when I know I get to do a bit of shooting afterwards.

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