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Plinking/shooting around legal in national forest?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by CHighfield, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. CHighfield

    CHighfield Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. moonpie

    moonpie Well-Known Member

    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 .
  3. 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.
  4. Pointshoot

    Pointshoot Well-Known Member

    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 !
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  5. Gato Montés

    Gato Montés Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. 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.
  7. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. xfyrfiter

    xfyrfiter Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Captains1911

    Captains1911 Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily true. For GW and Jefferson National Forests in VA, shooting is only permitted during hunting season. Different forests, different rules.
  10. CHighfield

    CHighfield Well-Known Member

    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:
  11. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. sleepyone

    sleepyone Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Well-Known Member

  14. Captains1911

    Captains1911 Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. dogrunner

    dogrunner Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. phoglund

    phoglund Well-Known Member

    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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