According to the New York Times article by Jack Healy entitled In Quiet Woods, A Clamorous Gun Debate, America’s cultural divide over guns has gone into the woods. As growing numbers of hikers and backpackers flood national forests and backcountry trails searching for solitude, they are increasingly clashing with recreational target shooters, out for the weekend to plug rounds into trees, targets and mountainsides.
Sean Mooty, 26, said he drapes a bright orange windbreaker over his backpack when he sets out in Colorado’s Arapaho National Forest, which reported 103 shooting violations last year. Blowing a whistle when he hears gunshots has kept him safe thus far, but what about people who aren’t as cautious?
The federal agencies that manage national forests and open lands have reported an increasing number of shooting violations in the backcountry in recent years. The Forest Service recorded 1,712 shooting incidents across the country last year, up about 10 percent from a decade ago. More than a thousand of those reports ended with a warning or citation for risky behavior: Shooting from vehicle, weapon discharge in campground., shooting at television, using exploding targets, or shooting in a “no shooting area.”
It’s nothing new that recreational shooters use all sorts of items for target practice, but cleanup crews have reported haulting away 20 tons of trash a year — everything from refrigerators and car parts, clay pigeons and sofas, to bowling pins.
Bill Pedersen, a director at the Utah Shooting Sports Council, acknowledged that some people dumped what he called “trigger trash,” but he added that thousands of responsible gun owners had been hunting and shooting in the area for decades. Gun groups say that they have been shooting safely on public lands for decades, and that accidents are rare. They say they have the same rights to use America’s collective backyards as four-wheelers, mountain bikers or backpackers. “Just the same as there should be areas on public lands for people to go mountain biking or mountain climbing, there should be areas for shooters,” said Lars Dalseide, an N.R.A. spokesman.
West Virginia laws are very specific about being in the woods during off hunting season with a gun. In West Virginia, it’s illegal to carry an uncased or loaded firearm in the woods, except during open firearms hunting season. Our advice is to always be aware of the law, especially WV Code 58 and WV hunting laws and regulations.
BSR has two range complexes identified as Range Complex K and Range Complex B. Range Complex K consists of three separate ranges. Range K1 and K3 have 14 firing positions. Shooters can engage targets from 3 to 50 yards and again at the 100-yard line from a firing platform. The range has 14 stationary target stands at the target line. Portable target stands, sand bags, and shooter barricades are available. Range K2 is a reactive steel range and is set up with two firing lanes consisting of falling plates, a dueling tree, pepper poppers, and two lanes of hydraulic pop-up steel head plates. Find out more about our Firearms Facilities or sign up for one of our Firearms Training Courses.