Creating a vision for recreational target shooting
   

Each decade, the number of recreationists spending time outdoors enjoying DNR’s landscapes has increased. As use has increased, conflicts between different types of recreationist has also increased. The vast majority of DNR-managed land is open to target shooting. However, visitors and nearby residents sometimes report instances that they felt were unsafe. In response to public requests, DNR is looking at what options may exist for target shooting, just as we do for other activities periodically.

Tahuya State Forest

 
DNR is continuing conversations around how to best manage target shooting in our Tahuya State Forest to ensure public safety for all forest visitors and nearby homeowners. At a public meeting in June 2017, DNR staff shared two proposed target shooting range locations. You can view meeting documents from this and our May 2016 meeting below. Click here for email comments from June 10, 2017 to July 11, 2017.
 
The Shoofly Pit in Tahuya State Forest is temporarily closed to target shooting, effective Feb. 1, 2019. Please do not target shoot in areas with signage stating that target shooting is not allowed. There may be DNR staff or contractors working in the area due to an upcoming timber sale. The Onion Pit in Green Mountain State Forest is also closed to target shooting.
 
A map of an alternative target shooting site currently in use in Tahuya State Forest is available here. The area in the West Tahuya block (lat: 123 o 04' 21.82", long: 47 o 25' 24.40"), which was previously indicated by a star on this map, is now closed to target shooting. This decision was made due to its proximity to private property and recreational sites and the need to protect public safety, natural resources, and other property.  
 
DNR is continuing work with area residents, target shooters, and law enforcement to identify and develop shooting areas that meet the needs of local user groups, residents, and the Department.

Target shooting is permitted on DNR-managed lands where it can occur in compliance with the rules outlined in the Washington Administrative Code regarding target shooting.

WAC 332-52-145

Firearms and target shooting
(1) What is recreational target shooting? Recreational target shooting is the use of a firearm or bow and arrow on targets and the sighting in of rifles or other firearms on department-managed lands. The department regulates and enforces target shooting on department-managed lands.
(a) The department may restrict target shooting for the reasons set forth in WAC 332-52-100.
(b) Persons shall not target shoot carelessly, recklessly, or without regard for the safety of any person, or in a manner that endangers, or is likely to endanger, any person, pet, livestock, wildlife or property.
(c) Persons shall not discharge tracer or incendiary ammunition or projectile devices on department-managed lands. For purposes of this subsection, "incendiary" means causing or designed to cause fires, such as certain substances or bombs. "Tracer ammunition" means a bullet, projectile, or shell that traces its own course in the air with a trail of smoke, chemical incandescence, or fire, so as to facilitate adjustment of the aim.
(2) Does recreational target shooting include hunting? No. This section does not apply to hunting activities, which are subject to the rules and regulations administered by the Washington state department of fish and wildlife.
(3) Where is target shooting permitted?
(a) Persons may target shoot in:
(i) Developed recreation facilities specifically designed for target shooting; or
(ii) Areas with an unobstructed, earthen backstop capable of stopping all projectiles and debris in a safe manner.
Persons shall not target shoot in any other location.
(b) Persons shall not shoot within, from, along, across, or down roads or trails.
(c) Persons shall not shoot on, at, across, along, down, from, or within five hundred feet, of:
(i) Recreational facilities that are not specifically designed for target shooting;
(ii) Residences;
(iii) Businesses;
(iv) Structures;
(v) Other areas as restricted;
(vi) Areas designated or posted as no shooting.
(4) What may be used as a target?
(a) Items that are commercially manufactured for the specific purpose of target shooting or similar targets privately manufactured by the person(s) engaging in target shooting that are consistent with this section.
(b) Unauthorized targets include but are not limited to:
(i) Natural features, except earthen berms or banks used as backstops for target shooting;
(ii) Vegetation;
(iii) Structures;
(iv) Gates;
(v) Vehicles;
(vi) Signs;
(vii) Other department improvements;
(viii) Appliances;
(ix) Furniture;
(x) Glass;
(xi) Privately owned or occupied structures;
(xii) Pets, service animals or livestock;
(xiii) Wildlife;
(xiv) Explosive and incendiary items;
(xv) Garbage of any kind.
Persons shall not target shoot at unauthorized targets.
(5) When is target shooting permitted? Unless otherwise posted, persons shall not target shoot one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
(6) Is possession of a loaded firearm in or on a motor vehicle permitted on department-managed lands? Persons shall not possess a loaded firearm in or on a motor vehicle, except as provided by state law.
(7) Who is responsible for disposing of spent items resulting from target shooting? Persons who target shoot shall dispose of spent items and remove all shell casings, targets, ammunition packaging, or target fragments resulting from their activity, with the exception of biodegradable clay targets. Failure to remove any such debris is prohibited.

(8) Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor except a violation of subsection (7) of this section is an infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.

Meetings

June 20, 2017
May 17, 2016 
Meeting documents 
Feedback summary 
 

Capitol State Forest

Feedback summary from the June 2, 2016 meeting
Update: No further action has been taken at this time.
Forest information: www.dnr.wa.gov/Capitol

Harry Osborne State Forest

Feedback summary from the June 1, 2016 meeting
Update: No further action has been taken at this time.
Forest information: www.dnr.wa.gov/Blanchard

Yacolt Burn State Forest

Feedback summary from the May 31, 2016 meeting
Update: No further action has been taken at this time.
Forest information: www.dnr.wa.gov/Yacolt

Background

DNR has a history of successfully managing recreation so that the agency still meets its primary trust objectives while allowing all user groups to enjoy these landscapes. DNR recreation staff have done this by learning about the landscapes and discussing with stakeholders where, and how, various types of recreation can best occur. Traditionally, target shooting has not been included in these discussions.

Project overview

Since the meetings in Spring of 2016, DNR has improved the online information that it provides regarding target shooting. Staff have also created four separate email notice lists, one for each forest, based on public input regarding how they would like to be kept informed. To be added to an e-mail notification list, sign up from this link.
 
DNR staff have taken ideas generated by the public and over the summer researched what similar efforts have worked for other states and agencies. However, any approach will be tailored to each unique landscape. There is no defined timeline for this effort. The work associated with each landscape will move forward on individual timeframes. See above for information specific to each forest.

Managing timber, providing opportunities outdoors

Most recreation across DNR-managed lands takes place on trust lands, either those federally granted at statehood or those that counties transferred to the state for management, mostly in the 1920s and 30s. DNR manages these 3 million acres on behalf of specific beneficiaries in Washington state to provide a continuous flow of revenue through revenue-producing activities, such as timber harvests. Our education systems and local communities use these funds to provide public services. Yet, these lands, which include all State Forests across Washington, are capable of doing much more than just generating revenue. DNR further manages state trust lands to provide public benefits, such as habitat for native plant and animal species, water protections, and diverse public recreation opportunities. Learn more about how DNR funds schools and services.