Recreational shooting in the woods, is it going away?
We were both raised around firearms. We lived in rural areas where going up into the forests for some recreational shooting was the norm. As our communities grew and our forest resources shrunk, we found responsible outdoor shooting locations became ever more difficult to find. Today, more interest groups are competing for the limited access to our natural resources, traditional forest activities are being pushed down and forgotten. Hikers, mountain bikers, 4wd clubs, are all seeking larger trail systems. The larger trail systems then come into conflict with established recreational shooting grounds. DNR and other resource management groups have 15 year term trail plans, but where are the long-term plans to incorporate outdoor shooting? Trail systems requires miles upon miles of trails, and they want more than one. A shot gun enthusiast needs only 100 square yards where they can safely shoot. A pistol shooter, perhaps 50 yards and a safe backstop. Rifle shooters, 100 yards in most cases but more serious shooters would love a 500 yard option. Only 1500′ of a safe shooting lane and backstop.
As a shooting sports community, we must pressure the state and federal departments to allow SAFE recreational shooting, in combination with other uses. Identify safe areas, fix arcane rules, promote good stewardship of the resources, partner with community groups who clean up these areas and educate all resource users about being responsible. Don’t box us out because another group wants more trails. Most shooters are pretty responsible people and enjoy the same pastime of our forefathers. I taught my boys to shoot on Larch mountain, don’t give that right up to future generations.