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Irresponsible public land shooters

Ben Long

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Joined
Aug 8, 2011
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1,393
Location
Kalispell, MT
I am an avid public lands shooter and have written about how to do so in Outdoor Life and other mags. Seriously, though, I think the Gun Idiots are going to undermine this privilege. My wife and I were camped alongside the S. Fork of the Teton River before the July 4 holiday. We were dispersed camping, just at the end of a Forest Service spur road. While cooking breakfast, someone in the woods nearby opened up with a semi-auto, large capacity rifle maybe 100 yards away. It did not sound like a 223 to me. At least 30 caliber. No aiming, just unloading. Bullets were zinging off river rocks 50-75 yards from our camp. No backstop. Firing toward a trailhead. I was furious. I laid on the horn to tell the shooters we were nearby. The shooting stopped. For five minutes. Then they unloaded another magazine from a smaller rifle, into the same river rocks. We packed up and left. They were down another parallel spur road. I just left, knowing my temper was up and not wanting to confront them at the end of a road. At 9 a.m. I don't think they were drunk but maybe taking some other drugs. Some 54 years on national forest land and this is the time I've felt endangered by others' shooting. There are people who want to ban public lands shooting and this kind of shit gives them a lot more momentum. Vent over.
 
Sorry to hear that. I have experienced something similar, at Reservoir Lake Northwest of Lincoln. I did have a confrontation, but a polite one, and I believe drugs were involved, and when I recognized that I got my family out of there.

I don’t think confrontation is a good idea with a lot of the shady characters that now frequent our woods more than they once did. One of the things we as public land users must do is push for more LEOs on the landscape. Too much of our public lands is a wild west of sorts, and I believe their increased presence will change the culture of our public lands.

I also believe heads on pikes at the gates of our public lands could alleviate the prevalence of these situations.
 
I have done the same, but agree that someone needs to do something. We have to police our own or we'll be outright banned.

Sorry it was so bad you had to pack up and leave. That's a terrible way to end what is supposed to be a celebratory weekend.

Unfortunately I think it is more and more often not "our own" that we need to police, but yet they get lumped in with us.
 
Horrible situation sorry you and your family experienced that absolute bs.

I think a lot of the terrible behavior on public lands and gun saftey, lack thereof are unfortunately learned behaviors they probably grew up watching thier parents do. I had permission to hunt and shoot on a farm in NJ, owner pretty much let anyone have access until they proved they shouldn't be there. Once got there to see a dad had taken his son to the back ofthe property to shoot all their old spraypaint, wd40 and other aerosols up against a tree then just left everything there. After a conversation ending in this guy pretending to be an idiot or just absolutely not getting it I was pretty heated, but the worst thing was that I knew that kid was likely going to grow up thinking that that was completely acceptable and perpetuate the slob don't give a chit F U whats your problem mentality.
 
HUMM That's a hard one. They were actually not doing anything against the law that I know of.
I do think I would have called the sheriff and made a complaint of vandalism at the least, maybe littering. Shooting trees is vandalizing on forest lands.
At the very least maybe the embarrassment of having a sheriff talking to him about very dangerous behavior may have made some effect.
 
I hear ya. The public land gravel pit where I zero my rifle is a horrible mess. The city streets here are almost as bad. I never carry a poop bag when walking my dogs. Not necessary. There's almost always a coffee cup in the gutter within sight. Scoop up the poop and drop the works in a storm sewer at the nearest intersection. I just don't get littering. Or slob cigarette smokers throwing their butts on the ground. I once read that filters on them break down in twelve years. Oh, and asshats who spit their gum on the ground right outside the doors of Walmart. I feel like braining those shitheads ... but it would require a microscope to find their gray matter!
 
Its' a federal LEO issue. There is little accountability for criminals who break laws, do stupid stuff, etc on public land.

Around here the local BLM land is also the trash dump. Go south of town past the cement plant and you can find garbage, couches, thousands of brass, glass, shot up appliances, etc...

I have not witnessed similar levels of this kind of behavior on state land, WMA's, etc...


Feds do a poor job of taking care of the land they are in charge of.
 
You don't say whether you contacted anyone....did you? If not, well...there you go ....you need to even if you don't want to confront people. I have done it a few times on public water ways, call the park service, non emergency 911 line...something....
 
I've been invited to go shooting a time or two on some local forest areas/state land. Sometimes you can just tell when dude is not simply just target shooting. Kindly declined

For those that like to lay lead, Uncle Sam is hiring for infantry MOS's.

It all starts at home. I would of been lit up like a Christmas tree had I been just wasting rounds shooting at nothing and not having a backstop. Just stupid.
 
HUMM That's a hard one. They were actually not doing anything against the law that I know of.

I mean, carelessly discharging a firearm and endangering others must be against some law... I don't know about the US/MT but anywhere in the Great White North, being a tard with a firearm would get you a fine and a hot date with a judge at the very least, public land or not.
 
Its' a federal LEO issue. There is little accountability for criminals who break laws, do stupid stuff, etc on public land.

Around here the local BLM land is also the trash dump. Go south of town past the cement plant and you can find garbage, couches, thousands of brass, glass, shot up appliances, etc...

I have not witnessed similar levels of this kind of behavior on state land, WMA's, etc...


Feds do a poor job of taking care of the land they are in charge of.
Year before last BHA picked up 3500 pounds of trash off that BLM. Time before that, we had about 1600 pounds.

Also have cleaned up Rogers Canyon 4 times over the past several years, its better, but I haven't been out there lately.

Probably should organize another cleanup for both places.
 
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