Confrontation with a mountain biker


August 21, 2004, 03:15 PM
So I was out in the National Forest shooting at my usual spot this morning. Nice day; I was just finishing off the last couple of magazines of the morning when I see this guy on a mountain bike down at the bottom of the hill waving his arms frantically. He was all upset, telling me it wasn't legal to shoot there (it is) then started giving me all kinds of c**p about there being a trail nearby and it "scares all of us when you guys shoot here since we don't know where you're shooting, also you people leave a big mess -- look at this place; nobody cleans up and the area is a mess, why can't you go to a target range" etc.

Now, the area is pretty heavily impacted; I have seen where obviously jerks/kids have been out shooting cans, trees etc and messing it up. But I'm always conscientious about cleaning up after myself (and a bit more), I bring my own targets and only shoot paper, and make sure I have a good hillside behind my target. The trail he was talking about was actually on the ridge *behind* (uprange) from where I was shooting.

So I listened to him but didn't get too excited, but didn't give in either: I was legal, safe and clean and felt it was his problem if he was "scared", though I didn't say that. I don't know if the Glock in my OWB made him a little more excited than he might have been otherwise :eek: . I don't think he believed me when I said I clean up and never shoot towards the trail because "everybody always says that." Eventually he sort of huffed off.

Totally harshed my mellow from a nice hour of shooting :mad:

Just wondering what your thoughts are on using a heavily-impacted area like this. It's only 15 min from my house which makes it the most convenient for a quick morning getaway. But hikers/bikers do seem to be getting more comon all the time.

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M2 Carbine
August 21, 2004, 03:42 PM
Sounds to me like the "jerks/kids" are going to get your shooting area shut down pretty soon.

August 21, 2004, 03:49 PM
Jerks and Kids will shut down the area fast. Suggestion get some people together and have a clean up day. When someone else yells and gets upset invite them to shoot. They might enjoy it.

August 21, 2004, 04:01 PM
Are there signs posted on the trail that shooting takes place there?
Even if you put up an "unofficial" poster, it would warn some of the bikers/hikers about it, and hopefully they will realize that it's not verboten.

August 21, 2004, 04:16 PM
I'd get a few of your buds together and clean the place up. I know it won't last but if you don't you might be out of a place to shoot.

August 21, 2004, 04:39 PM
To paraphrase our dear buddy SW:

"I'm sure I'll always miss the mountains and the sunny climate"



August 21, 2004, 04:55 PM
You should have volunteered to help clean it up, and asked him to help you. After all, if he is that concerned about it, he shouldn't mind.

The place I shoot has a HUGE problem with red necks dumping junk there. Mostly appliances, TVs, computers.... The thing that kills me is that I would estimate that it would be about the same distance to take it to the actual dump, and the dump is free: there is no reason not to.
I would be happy to HELP clean it up, but no one I know is interested. Their excuse is that it won't stop the dumping, what we take away will be quickly replaced with more.

August 21, 2004, 04:57 PM
I'd get a few of your buds together and clean the place up. I know it won't last but if you don't you might be out of a place to shoot.

Cleaning up is a good idea, though like you say it won't last. I usually bring a trash bag of junk out with me, but maybe it's worth stepping that up. But there's not much I can do about shot-up trees :( . And I did see plenty of evidence of people shooting in the direction of the nearby trail.

The guy had a point, I'm a biker/hiker myself, but it did p me off to be lumped in with those who trash the forest; maybe it's worth finding a nice out-of-the-way area on my own. But it seems counter-productive somehow, if there's an area that's "shot-up" might as well keep it in one spot.

Thanks for letting me vent; believe me I know how fortunate I am to be able to just drive up the road to shoot anytime I want!

Standing Wolf
August 21, 2004, 04:59 PM
There's nothing like a shortage of bliss ninnies who believe their outdoor activities take precedence over all others.

When confronted with individuals like the one described above, I tend to state the facts and give reasoning with them a try, but a.) I never try longer than a minute or two, and b.) I find it impossible to take them seriously. Life is too short to waste time trying to reason with those who embrace unreasonability or worry about their precious little feelings.

I used to shoot at a trashy range in the boonies of northern Michigan years ago. I hated the look of the place. Eventually, I began to take home a bag or box of junk every time I shot there. I doubt it make a significant impact on the raw quantity of trash, but it had to have helped at least a little.

August 21, 2004, 05:07 PM
NY state believes in multiple use so if we hunters and shooters have to put up with hikers and such they have to put up with our guns. And it's not just the shooters who are slobs. ..Yes you should have asked him to help clean it up.

August 21, 2004, 05:24 PM
I used to shoot at a place like that. Looking back I am not sure that they do not hurt our cause. It was horrible, shooters would come use it as a dumping ground, the area was always littered with cans, bottles, empty cases etc. and there were not decetn bullet backstops. I can easily see how non shooters would get peeved at us shooters for what was done to the area. The place I went to was eventually shut down by the state.

Sean T
August 21, 2004, 09:54 PM
I used a similar range in Boulder, CO called Left Hand Canyon. The area was used for two things, shooting and offroading. Everyone shot into a hill and about 20 feet up was a trail. Occasionally, we would see people riding up there and stop shooting until they had passed. Never had any problems.

Here in San Diego, the NRA sponsers an annual cleanup of all the shooting areas in the Cleveland National Forest. They provide soda and water, you provide the labor. Might be a good idea to do a similar thing at your range.

Larry Ashcraft
August 21, 2004, 10:13 PM

First off, since nobody mentioned it Welcome to the High Road

Second, check the Rallying Point. We're having a Colorado Get Together Sept. 11th. Consider coming, sounds like you are our type of people. PM me for details/directions.


August 21, 2004, 10:25 PM
Similar place around here. Public range and public shotgun area in wildlife management zone. Also bike/hike trails. In this case, the shooting area is well down in a long valley. No problem with the trails.

If the positioning is less good I think I side with the biker. He rides along using only the area around him. You are shooting something that could travel a couple miles and do harm. Now if you were shooting in a safe direction and don't trash up the joint should be no problem. I just wouldn't get too upset with the guy. He has some reason to worry I think.

Now to me bottom line, you cannot ever shoot in that place without being lumped in with all the jerks who abuse and trash it up. Even if you do your part and then some. I would suggest going somewhere else. Unless it is manned to regulate activity you will never keep it clean.

That is what happened in the public range I mention above. It got so trashed up it was crazy. I also witnessed a few very unsafe actions by others. Like shooting from a bench with a couple other people I didn't know. One fellow though seeing others shooting a string of targets wouldn't wait a handful of shots to go replace his. Would say, "f*ck it, I am going out there, stop shooting" and walk downrange. That is rather stupid, and I just didn't want to be around when such a jerk got shot one day.

Some jerk was apparently shooting on a cold day. And busted up one of the shooting benches to build a fire. This is in the middle of the woods and walking a few yards would have given him dead tree limbs to burn. How can people be that ignorant. Especially bothered me as a friend and I built onto some of those benches to make them better.

Another range put up lights for night use. Idiots kept shooting them out with rifles. Looked like a machine gun had been turned on them. How stupid can you be to shoot out the very lights you are using. In short, I decided the public as a whole doesn't deserve such facilities even though a minority probably do such things. And not wanting to be lumped in with them, you just have to shoot elsewhere. Either on private property with permission or a private range you belong to as a member.

Is a shame, but I just don't go there now.

August 21, 2004, 10:26 PM
Just wondering what your thoughts are on using a heavily-impacted area like this. I like the idea of posting semi-official looking signs and cleaning up the area. Might even post a 'range rules' sign.

My thought is that the commons belong to everyone, including shooters. People use bike trails and in the process the bike trails become a right of way. People use a certain hillside as a backstop and it becomes, guess what, a backstop. :D

August 21, 2004, 10:30 PM
personally, i would have asked if he does trail maintenance. if he says no, then i'd probably let the implications sink in. if he says yes, i'd see about an organized trail/range maintenance group.

then i'd invite him to shoot :)

45 Fu
August 21, 2004, 10:40 PM
I would have taken a few steps back and inform him of the article you read in which an innocent shooter was mauled to death by an angry mountain biker trying to protect her cubs who were on tricycles near by.

Seriously, I had something like this happen when a female Granola began to berate me for my eeeevil assault rifle when I wasn't even shooting. I asked her if she had ever shot before to which she replied she hadn't. I told her it was not logical to condemn something without having ever tried it and, after a short safety lesson, let her shoot. I didn't think I'd get my rifle back.

I took a bad situation and turned it around. You might not could have done the same in your situation but keep it in mind in case the opportunity presents its self.

If anyone ever sees a hairy-legged, Janis Joplin looking wild woman in SOF you know who to blame :D

August 21, 2004, 10:42 PM
It's only 15 min from my house which makes it the most convenient for a quick morning getaway. But hikers/bikers do seem to be getting more comon all the time

.... I would use it more often then. And bring some friends, encourage others to use it.

The hikers and bikers need to be conditioned into hearing it regularly there so they can not say it is "something new", band together and complain and maybe get it shut down.

El Tejon
August 21, 2004, 11:40 PM
Wow, cool, you guys get taxpayer land to shoot on?!?! I've always wanted to ride in the wagon. . . maybe someday. *sigh*

The downside is that you have to deal with your fellow taxpayers. Just remember that those that do not regulate themselves will find themselves regulated.

Pick up your gear, organize a "range day", break out the trash bags and shovels for your fellow shooters, be a good neighbor. Don't you wish that suppressors were Title I? Hey, maybe ask biker boy to sign a petition to move suppressors to Title I that way you wouldn't harsh his mellow?;) :)

August 21, 2004, 11:49 PM
scares all of us when you guys shoot here since we don't know where you're shooting

He's got a point.

BTW, it is illegal or severely frowned upon to shoot at informal ranges in the National Forests in some states. Here in Va, the rangers have a fit if you do. We get away with it during hunting season though. However, in NC, it apparently isn't a problem. Many years ago, when a bunch of us went on a camping and mountain biking trip in the Pisgah forest in NC, we asked ahead of time if it would be ok to do some target shooting. The ranger's office said sure, just pick a good backstop.

BTW, mountain bikers are about the only non hunter group devoted to open land access anymore. Horseback riders are the worst. As far as they are concerned, if you're not on a horse, you don't belong in their favorite, public, places (as a political force, not all of them).


August 22, 2004, 03:26 AM
For a second, I thought this was going to be a "What gun for mountain bikers" thread... shucks :(


Ya know, I can't think of a single informal range around here.

August 22, 2004, 06:00 AM
There's one down in Slaughterville that I used to use quite regularly, but the yahoo factor can be way up there, especially this time of year when the once a year shooters are sighting in for deer season. After I had not 1 but 2 idiots sling bullets downrange while I was setting up my target, I started to go to Candian Valley. I figure at least if someone shoots me there they can call an ambulance from the office phone.

August 22, 2004, 08:56 AM
I used a similar range in Boulder, CO called Left Hand Canyon.

I used to shoot there as well, when I lived in Nederland, CO. One thing I really miss about CO after moving back to PA. Nothing like that I've found in eastern PA yet.

August 22, 2004, 11:09 AM
"For a second, I thought this was going to be a "What gun for mountain bikers" thread... shucks"

:p :p :neener: :p :p

August 22, 2004, 11:27 AM
esldude, why should a shooting range have to be given up just because you can be lumped in with the jerks? I've seen plenty of mountain bikers and offroaders do more harm then a shooting spot ever could. Ranges tend to be isolated lumps of crap from the things folks don't bring out when they leave. Bikers and off roads lead wide swaths of garbage and damage in their wake.

Have seen plenty of "dedicated" bike and 4wd areas also trashed by idiots in that community as well.

One persons hobby and recreation doesn't nulify someone elses. Idiots have the advantage of numbers and geography. It's amazing the places they show up.

Tell the biker you understand his concerns, that you appreciate his issues with the trash, and that you do your part to be responsible. Then go back to shooting and tell him to enjoy his ride.

Ham Hock
August 22, 2004, 12:36 PM
I have had several occasions where I was accused of doing something illegal and I was not (these occasions were not gun related).

What I do now is if someone acts like that I simply tell them to call the police if they think I am doing something illegal. If I am in a car when it happens, I remind them to be sure and get my license plate. Usually this shuts them up. Basicly, put up or shut up.

August 22, 2004, 01:33 PM
Those whining guys with their over-active "inner females" really get my goat. Sanctimonious John Kerry clones who think the world owes THEM.
Yes Ive seen several shooting spots trashed out in Colorado, and it is a good idea to haul out some stuff.. the glass is a real problem. We do need to clean up our act.. we ALSO need to be aware of the local anti-gunners and when possible, educate them.. and where not... stand against them whenever and where ever they try to stifle our rights.

August 22, 2004, 01:38 PM

You don't have to, I just think you are smart to do so. No one has unlimited time. Where I live, the impact of mtn bikers is pretty small. They seem to police up their stuff fairly well. The shooters at the public range don't.

Unless you or others stay there all the time or someone is put there to act as range officer I think you are just pissin' in the wind. Add that to the unsafe activity of some then you have a situation I for one prefer not to place myself in. And I tried explaining basic safety to those guys. As well as why it was to their advantage. To a man in three different cases, I was basically told "f*ck off". So if some are intent on being irresponsible and vehement about continuing to be ignorant of safety, I would remove myself from their vincinty given the chance. Those who think they can do otherwise with these people, who have the time to attempt a re-education may have at it. My experience of this type person is, unless you have some authority to say, "do it this way or you won't be allowed to do it at all" you aren't getting anywhere with them. What can you do with someone stupid enough they can't see anything wrong with shooting downrange while others are out there since they aren't aiming at those guys?

August 22, 2004, 01:52 PM
Are always going to not like shooters. Anytime your near people who are not shooting and you are there is a good chance of hearing a lot of bad mouthing from them. I used to enjoy going down to a local river and shooting but with the many people now in the area it's just not worth all the problems. You never know when they just might jump up and get shot. Unless your lucky like some posters and live far from anyone I guess you just try to adjust meaning keep looking for a better spot to shoot.:)

August 22, 2004, 02:38 PM
Selvagee, by any chance were you shooting at Rampart Range?

August 22, 2004, 02:42 PM
I know when I was in San Diego, we had an issue with folks who were non-shooters dumping trash in known shooting areas. It's easy to blame the shooters, but how many shooters drag out washer/dryers, refrigerators, etc.? Policing things up is a big issue for all outdoor recreation.

I also have experienced non-shooters purposefully putting themselves down range to create a problem. At a place that used to be open called Kitchen Creek in San Diego, we had a father who would show up mid-morning with his two daughters and take them into the range to
"pick flowers" even though more then a few folks had already set up and were shooting. Passive agressive actions are just as bad.

When we go to the desert to off road, we always go to shoot as well. When we've parked and have set backstop set up to shoot, invariably some idiot gets pissed because he wants to off road where we're shooting. Typically, the response is polite, but the meaning is "it's a big freaking desert, take your truck to another part of it."

Just because they don't shoot doesn't mean you can't.

August 22, 2004, 04:57 PM
No, this was off Mt Herman Rd up in Monument. The "range" area is a bit of a drive from my place, I've never checked it out: just started shooting this summer after a long hiatus.

August 22, 2004, 06:32 PM
My local informal range is having problems b/c a bunch of whiners moved in near it and started complaining about the noise:rolleyes: . The real problem arose, though, when one of them got some soil samples and had them tested to show a huge lead concentration, basically making the place look like a Superfund site. Cleaning up is one thing, but how do you avoid slinging lead around with a gun?

August 22, 2004, 08:13 PM
a bunch of whiners

I feel we have become a nation of whiners and with an ever growing population it will only get worse. As a pilot i have always been amazed
that people will buy homes near an airport and then complain about
planes flying overhead.:confused:

August 22, 2004, 08:29 PM
Not that it'd be a good idea, but I would have told him that when mountain bikers put as much money into conservation as shooters and hunters do he could have an opinion. I might also have pointed out the lasting damage mountain bikes do to the bush and enlightened him about how he doesn't need any permits or licences or anything else to ride his bike. He can enjoy his recreation without anyone flapping their gums about things they clearly know nothing.
Up here, in Ontario, hunters and anglers must pay a $50 tax for what's known as the Outdoors Card, in addition to the regular licence fees. No other users of the outdoors is required to pay it. Anglers and hunters are paying for twits on skis, running shoes and mountain bikes to have a place to play.

August 22, 2004, 09:03 PM
All of the places my family went to shoot as a kid are now closed, due to the trash issue. All of them used to be "firearm discharge" areas in various So. Cal National Forests.

All of them had mounds of discarded ammo boxes, old kitchen appliances, and expended brass was everywhere. None of them are open anymore, except for one, which went to a kind of controlled format, with range safety officers, and marked and designated firing lines. Layton Creek, IIRC. Off I-15.

I still say, when it comes to this issue, "We have met our enemy, and that enemy is us."

August 22, 2004, 09:23 PM
Sounds like a real idiot to me! Good thing for him it was a level headed
gun owner.......I'M not much for aruging with an unknown "ARMED"
person......... It very well could have been some dummy who did'nt
give a hoot and dusted a few rounds claiming that he felt threatened
as this guy rode off.....the bike guy was lucky!!!

August 22, 2004, 09:40 PM
Mtn. bikers actually have gotten a simlar bad rap as shooters in regards to the land use issue. As someone who does both I can see both sides and have had to deal with both sides as well. I've seen people shooting over trails where you the view was blocked so if you were riding through there was a decent chance of getting shot. I've been harassed for riding a mtn. bike on trails that people who were hiking or riding horses felt were "theirs." I've cleaned up trash left by both bikers and shooters over the years as well.

The rider overreacted, but unfortunately it's not surprising considering the overreaction that other trail users have had toward riders. If it's legal to shoot there, do so, but when you do it'd be a good idea to take a trash bag with you and pick up some of the crap left by other people who couldn't care less. If anyone gives you a hard time point to your bag of crap, the trail, the backstop and let them know you want them to have a nice day.

August 22, 2004, 10:39 PM
My local informal range is having problems b/c a bunch of whiners moved in near it and started complaining about the noise . The real problem arose, though, when one of them got some soil samples and had them tested to show a huge lead concentration, basically making the place look like a Superfund site. Cleaning up is one thing, but how do you avoid slinging lead around with a gun?

If you think that's bad, some genius decided to build an upscale subdivision right downrange of a local formal gun club. The club has been there since 1926, IIRC. Anyway, the residents are now complaning about the noise, and the possibility of getting shot. Luckily, I live in an area where the gov't so far has told them they should have used better judgement in building their house :D

August 22, 2004, 10:59 PM
Another take on this...

Mountain Bikers have seen a huge drop in the access they can get to prime riding area. This has been led by various environmental groups--sierra club, etc... Most of the access they still enjoy is due to local groups doing lots of clean up and trail maintainence (large PR points).

If we rallied nearly as many resources to clean up our public shooting areas as some of these local riding groups, we'd likely not have as many issues in public range closures.

No I'm not green in my thinking. I do understand which way the wind blows. If we're seen as giving back, we've got a better chance of getting.

usp_fan--life long shooter and Mountain biker since '89

Don Gwinn
August 22, 2004, 11:28 PM
My gun club is west of Springfield, IL in a small township called Bradfordton. It's been there since 1946 and it's not an informal range; it has a huge berm, elevated shooting positions so you can't help but shoot down into the berm unless you're trying to shoot into the air.

A couple of years ago, before I joined, a local idiot who made a lot of money at real estate development in Springfield built his new house downrange. Now, keep in mind, the club had been there 50-some years at that point, and I know very well he couldn't have stood on his new property without hearing the gunfire.

He chose to build his house on the top of the tallest hill on the property. . . . . perfectly in line with the shooting positions. You can SEE HIS HOUSE over the top of the berm if the trees are bare and you stand where people used to shoot--but when the club leadership realized this, they voluntarily had the berm raised and reshaped and the present elevated positions built in such a way that now you'd have to stand at the 25-yard position and shoot across at the 200-yard targets to be in any danger of hitting near the man's house. That cost a fortune, but they could see the writing on the wall, and they did it before anyone complained.

Nevertheless, the rich idiot has spent the last couple of years harassing the club and trying to get them shut down. :banghead:

Frankly, I don't think it has anything to do with safety concerns; he just has to have it his way or extract a pound of flesh.

August 23, 2004, 02:39 AM
I shoot at Left Hand Canyon @ once a week...

August 23, 2004, 08:05 AM
Haven't seen too many mountain bikers up my way yet, but the slobs who use the gravel pits as dumps have caused several good shooting ranges near me to be shut down.:mad: The dumpers may not even have been shooters, but we all get tarred with the same brush. Same thing goes for 4-wheelers. The responsable pay for the sins of the idiots. Has got to the point where I'm thinking about picking up a chunk of land out in the boonies just for my own use as "civilization" creeps ever closer to my house.

August 23, 2004, 08:32 AM
Many years ago. I was shooting with a couple of buddies on one guy's grandfather's place - perfectly legal, I might add. Surrounded by national forest, mountain bikers had "discovered" it and one day, two of them heard the shooting, and came by to berate us.

And wouldn't leave when asked politely.

So we put away the .22s and dug out our rifles, including a .300 Mag and a .375 H&H.

They were standing pretty close to us, continuing to mouth off, when we started shooting.

We had hearing protection.

They didn't. :D

Pretty soon we had the place to ourselves again.

August 23, 2004, 10:04 AM
The desert here around Arizona is littered with trash.

Not only from shooters, but others that cant take their trash to the dump.

I prefer a backstop of some type when shooting out in the desert.

We use a place called "the pit" which has a backstop. We plan on going out and cleaning it up next month. Even though alot of other shooters use it and dont clean, we felt compelled to do our part.

See our thread in the Rally point.

When seeing the title of this mountain bike thread I thought it was of an Airman here who shot a guy while mountain biking in New Mexico last week. He was confronted on the trail by a man with a gun. He pulled his own CCW out of his fanny pack and killed the bad guy. No charges, due to it being ruled as self defense.

August 23, 2004, 10:32 AM
Hey Don, have the range,which has been there 50+ years start harassing the county to have the guy's house removed as a visual eyesore and a blight on the land. Tell them he has loud parties with music blasting and the shooters can't hear their own gunshots. It's a public safety issue you know...... hearing loss is a bad thing from loud music.

Harassment works both ways.:D

August 23, 2004, 12:02 PM
What kind of developmentally challenged fool goes and harangues some unknown guy shooting out in the woods? For all he knew, he could have been pissing off some drug dealer.

August 23, 2004, 12:07 PM

That's a toughie...I live up in Nederland (the last ungentrified mountain town in Colorado) and shoot on forest land because there are no public ranges in Boulder County or surrounding environs and the Boulder Rifle Club has a 27-year waiting list to get in.

The area I shoot on has obvioulsy been a range forever; it's also a staging area when needed for fire control , so it's hardly what one might call pristine wilderness. Still, there are some trails behind the range area, and I occasionally get some mountain biker from Denver (the locals know better!) who'll give you a hard time.

My policy has been to :

1) First, make sure I was in the right. I talked to the rangers and the local cops before I started shooting, so I knew I was on solid ground.

2) Explain the concept of "mixed use" to the moutain bikers involved. I'm a mountain biker myself, and I don't want to dis' anyone for no reason. Plus, as has been said here, the bikers have been on the bleeding edge of access issues.

3) Offer to tell the bikers where the "real" trails are...out here in the boonies, the trailhead signs are placed well up the trails, not visible from the roads and not necessarily marked on many biking trail maps. You have to know someone local or a biker who has ridden the trails.

4) Offer to instruct the biker on them safety, what drills I'm doing, etc.

5) Give them a time frame on when I'm going to be finished and tell them which of the local coffeeshops has the best muffins.

Does this always work? Nope. I've had my ears ripped off by as***les in spandex...usually, they whip out their cellphones--which don't work up here--to try and call the rangers and/or the cops. I encourage them to ride into town and tell the chief of police that I'm shooting up here.

I would like to mention (hesitantly, to be sure) a final point:

6) When target shooting in the backcountry, *always* have a *hot* gun on your person! Usually, this is not the gun you're practicing with. Unless I'm doing USPSA/IDPA draw drills, I might not even have a holster on. And let's not even talk about practicing cowboy! I usually stick a J-frame in my back pocket. I don't much like surprises, especially when I've got hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars of guns around. By having a second gun on my person, I have the option of clearing the gun I'm practicing with, then setting it on the table, gunbag, whatever, which tends to lower the volume a bit...and still be comfortably armed.


PS: Buy my book, TRAIL SAFE, for more backcountry tips! And watch my show! How's that for blatant commercialism??

August 23, 2004, 12:34 PM
The desert here around Arizona is littered with trash.

Boy, you can say that again. Although the main reason why I just go to a shooting range now instead of wandering off to the desert is because of the idiotic kids on quads that do their best to get shot by other people, even when they're using a backstop. They just blow right past me on the dirt roads, too, since they can see I'm a shooter and not one of them... I get sprayed with dirt and dust. You'd think they'd be more polite when it comes to heavily-armed people, but, yeah, most of them are kids.

Out in Prescott it's a lot less crowded and much better, I need to go up to my dad's cabin again sometime and bring all the heavy hardware.

August 23, 2004, 12:41 PM
Without seeing the exact layout of shooting area to trail it's hard to form an opinion.

I had an issue a few months ago while dirtbiking in a popular ohv area. I crested a hill on a well used trail only to have a teenager shooting his 870 over my left shoulder. His dad was handthrowing clays directly toward the ridge that the trail runs over. I calmly explained that their shooting area was illegal as well as unsafe. Punk kid was less than impressed, father apologized for close call.

While I am generally very supportive of informal desert shooting, there are several issues in this case

*It was closed to shooting by the Forest Service as a "Congested Area"
*They were shooting directly at a trail that riders quickly come over blind.
*They were scattering clays(which decompose very slowly in the desert) over Virgin country.

Flame away, but we as shooters need to be mindful of other users when selecting an informal shooting area. Morons like these shooting right into a trail are the reason that so much desert north of Phoenix is now closed to shooting.

If your Colorodo situation was completely safe, than I apologize for the comparison.

August 23, 2004, 12:44 PM
Here in San Diego, the NRA sponsers an annual cleanup of all the shooting areas in the Cleveland National Forest. They provide soda and water, you provide the labor. Might be a good idea to do a similar thing at your range.

I would add that any cleanup you do, be sure to get full brownie points for it by letting the "powers that be" know you did this. Who oversees the land -- Rangers, BLM? Invite them to your cleanup day. If they don't come, mail them a positive, upbeat letter with photos of your cleanup day. Be sure the "top dog" gets a copy.

Attend their public functions. Be the one who shows up smiling and supportive of them, and make the greens look like the PITAs they are. Volunteer for them if they have any other functions going on. Get to know the real decision makers, and befriend them...invite them to come out & shoot with you!

Oh, and on your cleanup day, bring donuts -- I am serious, you will get tons of people turning up.

I shoot at an outdoor public range in Northern CA (near SF), very near mtn bike and hiking trails. We are very very cautious to make good friends with the regional parks directors. And we win out whenever the greens start to whine about our shooting.

August 23, 2004, 01:05 PM
Let's be considerate here.

When shooting on public land the key word here is "Public".

If I was riding a bicycle and heard shooting I'd be leary of riding anywhere around. When you hear shot, you don't know if the shooters are practicing safe habits or not.

How many stories are there on here about idiots at ranges. When people, whether they be morons or tyros get unsupervised access to a place to shoot they often show less than proper consideration and dicipline.

Try assuring the mountain bikers (or whoever else) that you are being as safe as possible. DOn't get confrontational, invite tehm to look at how you are set up. And don't wear a gun in the open. It's intimidating to people wheather you mean it to be or not. Doesn't help your cause.


August 23, 2004, 02:45 PM
And don't wear a gun in the open. It's intimidating to people wheather you mean it to be or not. Doesn't help your cause. Well, shooting in public seems to be intimidating too -- maybe everybody should just leave their guns in the safe.


August 23, 2004, 03:54 PM
i've been to an informal range where in between shots i heard hooting and hollering. turns out some snow shoers were hiking in the valley we were shooting into. idiots! their path was right right on the other side of trees we had targets set up on.

no sane person would go hiking or biking or whatever anywhere that would take them through the line of fire of a shooting range, formal or not.

August 23, 2004, 03:59 PM
Well, shooting in public seems to be intimidating too -- maybe everybody should just leave their guns in the safe.

Hmmm...maybe I phrased that wrong. What I was implying was: in confronting the mountain biker who was already concerned with shooting, and you are trying to convince to come check out you range...then you should not be openly carrying.

Without getting into the whole open/concealed debate...I don't care if you walk down mainstreet with an openly carried weapon.


Mad Man
August 23, 2004, 05:04 PM
If this happens in Colorado, invite him to the next Bike-N-Shoot (, which combines a mountain bike race with a shooting competition.

Texian Pistolero
August 23, 2004, 05:39 PM
So, like, what are the leads on a mountainbiker?

August 23, 2004, 10:44 PM
If /when I go to public ranges, I bring in my targets. I always take extra trash with me when I leave. I make very sure of the backstop and announce loudly before shooting starts. Last time I got a similar confrontation, I listened...then reasoned...listened a little more. Then I locked in a full mag and told him to get his ears on...this is gonna' get loud. Talk time was over. :D

August 24, 2004, 12:11 AM
So, like, what are the leads on a mountainbiker?

Depends on how fast we're going. Be warned, I'll shoot back. :fire:


August 24, 2004, 04:46 AM
("BTW, mountain bikers are about the only non hunter group devoted to open land access anymore. Horseback riders are the worst.")

Not quite. It's all about lumping in inconsiderate folks with those who use common sense. I used to ride in Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff. Some a** was out there educating his son in poor gun safety and I was nearly killed--they weren't using a backdrop, they were shooting at cans on a large stump. Their trajectory intersected the trail at a 45-degree angle, headed my way.

Luckily my horse was bombproof. I, however, am not. I'm loathe to humiliate a parent in front of his child, but this dad learned a few safety lessons the hard way, in true ticked-off, crazy red-headed woman fashion. I hope his son was paying attention.

And yes, this forest was littered with bullet-ridden cars, appliances and garbage. Though I liked to plink with my friend's Beretta and my own .22, I developed a very big "most gun people suck" mentality on the basis of jerks like those I personally encountered. I got over that.

And it is necessary for some trails to be restricted to foot or horse traffic only, when mountain bikers (and I'm one of them, too) come silently barreling down narrow singletrack, where there's nothing but dirt wall on one side and steep embankment on the other. I've seen many a pedestrian hurt him/herself ducking for cover, and more than one horse injured.

BTW. Many of my equestrian friends organized regular trail cleanups, or volunteered on search/rescue teams, and raised funds for trail improvements/access. I never saw any notice in any local papers about NRA or rifle club-sponsored cleanup days, or I would have participated.

August 24, 2004, 04:51 PM
I'm late to this thread. Couple of questions. I live in Monument as well and last time I checked all of the National Forest off Mt Herman in El Paso CO was closed to shooting. According to the Forest Service website you needed to go all the way to Rampart Road to get to anyplace where it was ok to shoot. I know there are several places people shoot up there, but I don't know anyplace that's legal. Don't know what you drive but 15 minutes up Mt Herman doesn't get me anywhere near Rampart. It's been a little while since I last checked but I hadn't heard the rules have changed. Have I got this wrong?


August 24, 2004, 05:07 PM
BTW, mountain bikers are about the only non hunter group devoted to open land access anymore.

Well, rock climbers ( are, too. Actually I think Access Fund a great solution to a lot of "access" problems.

Earlier this year, the Mrs. and I went snowshoeing with a guide. The place we went to was a big state park and also happens to be, apparently, one of the best places to snowmobile in CA -- and probably one of the only places left open to them. The whole time we were snowshoeing, our guide who was an otherwise great guy, kept ranting about how he hated snowmobiles and that he & his buddies were going to lobby the park board to keep them out.

I didn't say anything because I was having a nice time, but this attitude is bullspit. What he was saying in essence was that he wanted the wilderness to himself for the activities he liked doing.

Check out this (
) story for more examples of "green-on-green" conflict :p

August 24, 2004, 06:11 PM
Here in San Diego, the NRA sponsers an annual cleanup of all the shooting areas in the Cleveland National Forest. They provide soda and water, you provide the labor. Might be a good idea to do a similar thing at your range.

Do you have more info on where those shooting areas are and any idea of the dates of these cleanups?

August 25, 2004, 02:51 PM
Steve -

Thanks for the reply I had previously checked the NF website for Pike NF and didn't see the notice you are talking about, just the standard rules for shooting in the NF. There is a sign at the forest boundary that says no shooting next 4 miles; the area I was at is a whisker under 5 miles from there so I think I was OK. If you have a link PM me please.


August 25, 2004, 04:34 PM
This is from the Forest service site:

Q40. Can I do recreational shooting on Mt. Herman Road?

A. Although recreational shooting is generally permitted in the National Forest there are exceptions and conditions. The exceptions are normally outlined in Special Orders. In this case, Special Order 91-08 prohibits recreation/target shooting in all of El Paso County including the area west of Monument. You can obtain a map from us that shows you exactly where these restrictions apply. The best alternative area for recreation/target shooting west of Monument is off Mt. Herman Road and down Forest Development Road (FDR) 322A. This area is located in Teller County approximately six miles from Red Rocks Ranch Road. The other common sense conditions are as follows: (1) you cannot discharge a firearm in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area (2) you cannot discharge a firearm across or on a Forest Development road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge (3) you cannot discharge a firearm into or within any cave. I would also advise you to familiarize yourself with Colorado State law regarding possessing and transporting firearms.

I have looked for FDR 322A and found it, but none of what I find is anywhere near Teller CO.


August 25, 2004, 10:35 PM
Steve - Interesting link. This is the area where I was (down FR322A north of Mt Herman Rd) - you're right this is nowhere near Teller Co :confused:

It is not posted no-shooting like most of the areas further east along Mt Herman.

August 25, 2004, 11:10 PM
Yea, I've actually shot there a few times myself. It always seems like a pretty safe place, and there really isn't that much trash around. Unless you cross Rampart Rd you're still in El Paso and 322 doesn't cross on my maps. Last time I tried to go there one spot in the road was a bit too tough for my pretend 4x4(Mazda Tribute) so I kind of wrote it off. I guess a call to the Forest Service would be the smart thing to do.


August 26, 2004, 12:25 PM
The biggest threat to the ability of responsible people to continute to use public lands are rude and inconsiderate people in our midst. Whether it be the shooter who refuses to use a backstop, or a dirt-bike rider with a 110db exhaust, or hikers who leave trash around their camp sites. All of these people encourage the caretakers of the land to close it off. What other option do they have if the admittance of these people on the land causes them problems?

We need to talk to these rubes in a calm and rational manner, but we also need to be firm that their actions will not be tolerated. It is not someone else's job, it's all of our jobs.

Most people are just ignorant of certain things and welcome some good information from someone who is patient and interested in helping them do things properly. Unfortunately, some people are selfish and have too much pride for their own good. These people generally need to be taught a lesson. Neither is a task that we should stray from even though we avoid violent confrontations when possible. Sometimes it's just not possible.

Sean T
August 26, 2004, 01:58 PM
Do you have more info on where those shooting areas are and any idea of the dates of these cleanups?

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