Shooters to be Banned From Public Lands

The author weighs in on an age-old problem having ramifications in the here and now.

Shooters are turning public lands into trash dumps.


We’re shooting ourselves in the foot.

Political anti-gun hysteria in this country is inspired, in at least some measure, by … shooters. Not just criminals who threaten, rob, steal, and kill with firearms, but also productive, non-violent, recreational shooters who never hurt anything other than cans, bottles, boxes, and junked electronics they blast full of holes and leave scattered across public lands.

Yes. Sadly, frustratingly, and maddeningly, irresponsible shooters are jeopardizing our freedom to shoot on our BLM and Forest Service lands. Their inconsiderate actions may soon deny YOU the chance to venture onto empty public lands to zero your deer rifle, dust a few clays, plink at a few cans, test long-range precision, or pop a line of balloons with your .22 rimfire.

Anyone who’s shot on some of the popular BLM and Forest Service “plinking sites” understands this. So does any non-shooter who’s merely stumbled onto one. They are unmistakable eyesores. They look like small town dumps circa 1960. Sparkling landscapes of busted glass, tin, paper, plastic, cardboard, appliances, electronics, cathode ray tubes, computer screens, washing machines, toilets, sofas, and even automobiles. All of it overlain with incriminating plastic shotshell hulls and tarnishing brass cartridge cases.

Damning evidence, to say the least.

According to an article by Brian Maffly in the April 14, 2016, Salt Lake Tribune, the BLM “is proposing to close 3,450 acres in Utah Country’s Lake Mountains to recreational shooting …”


“… years of resource damage that have scarred and spattered rock art, shot up rocks and trees, endangered public safety, and ignited wildfires.” 

BLM wants to “manage impacts” from what it politely calls “undisciplined shooting” that leaves the land fouled with the kind of trash enumerated above.

In response, the Utah Shooting Sports Council blasted the BLM’s plan, saying it scapegoats shooters. Uh, who should we scapegoat here? Birders, berry pickers, and ice skaters? A board member of this pro-shooting council noted that “billions of rounds” have been fired in the proposed closure area over 40 years with no injuries. That’s great, except injuries are not the problem. Littering and vandalism are …

For more on this issue and to read Ron’s suggestions, visit Ron Spomer Outdoors today.

8 thoughts on “Shooters to be Banned From Public Lands

  1. As a retired Forest Service employee, I can attest to the fact that a lot of recreational shooters are guilty of exactly this on public lands. Another pet peeve of mine – waterfowl hunters who don’t pick up their empties along our lakes, rivers and public hunting areas. Empty hulls are litter! Pick them up.

  2. As a duck hunter, i have to admit, I all too often see empty shotgun shells laying everywhere. I was always taught to clean up after yourself, and take a little extra trash with you that I find, and I do just that, for every shell I fire, I usually pack out about 10 extra that I find, I hate it, and would never want to lose our privledges because of lazy ignorant people….please clean up your trash

  3. As a waterfowl hunter and public lands shooter, Amen and Amen, Mark. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. And I think I have been out on the BLM grounds, west of SLC, proposed for closing and I understand where the BLM is coming from – sounds like a war zone, complete with off-road vehicles, etc. on the weekends. It’s time for groups like the USSC, NSSF and others to suck it up, admit we’re a problem and promote sportsmen cleaning up after ourselves (and others) before freedoms are lost.

  4. Perhaps our problem is more of a reflection on our growing acceptance of poor manners and single parent families. Good behavior or the lack of it should be first taught at home and then re-inforced at school. This is where we are losing the fight. But, if you want to shoot at a public land site, sponsor a workday every so often. Talk is not going to get this problem solved, a little sweat effort is called for.

  5. All firearms owners and shooters who use public lands should be acutely aware that public opinion can run hotly against us at the “drop of a hat.” Liberals in general, and the Obama Administration in particular, are always looking for any and all means to restrict shooting activities…leaving trash on public lands adds fuel to the fire. If gun owners are serious about preserving and protecting our 2nd Amendment rights, our behavior must be beyond reproach.

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