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Old May 23, 2012, 09:21 AM   #1
Join Date: April 19, 2012
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Shooting on Public Lands

Hi, I live in Denver, CO and I was wondering about shooting on public lands. It is my understanding that people can shoot on both National Forest and BLM lands? Is this accurate? Are there other public lands that you can shoot on? Where can I find a map or whatever on where these lands are? Thanks. I really don't like going to ranges.

PS. If anyone else lives in/near Denver and would like to share some local advice please message me.
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Old May 23, 2012, 09:24 AM   #2
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If this should be moved to general discussion or another topic, mods feel free.

Last edited by BroKing; May 23, 2012 at 09:39 AM.
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Old May 23, 2012, 10:15 AM   #3
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You can get paper maps at any place selling hunting licenses. There are downloadable versions as well. I used to live on the Western slope - BLM was intermixed with private - there were no postings required - it was up to you to know if you were trespassing or not, so watch that; otherwise find a nice canyon on BLM land and fire away - and please clean up when you're done. Have seen too many slobs shoot up washing machines and TVs and leave them there
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Old May 23, 2012, 11:45 AM   #4
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Best bet is to contact your local BLM and/or Forest Service office, they will usually point you in the right direction. Also check the websites for your local districts, for the local laws as applied in the area. In general you can shoot on any of the land (Don't shoot the trees), however there are many areas that you cannot, due to classification or special projects etc.

Good Place to Start
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Old May 23, 2012, 05:08 PM   #5
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You can shoot on most federal land, (and state land here) unless it is close for some wierd reason.

You're best maps can be bought from the USGS

You can also get BLM maps at your BLM office and National Forest/Grass Land maps at your local forest service.

The maps you get localy are normaly 1:100,000 scale. You can get 1:24000 on line for about a dollar a sheet. These low scale maps are better for shooting (and hunting). Mainly because you can use them as a range finder.

Just get a 1:24000 protractor to go with your maps.

Best shooting on public land I've found are deserted gravel pits. (They should be located on the map).

There is one about 2 miles from my house that I can shoot 2000 yards or better. One thing I like about gravel pits is there is less vegitation meaning less chance of fires.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
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Old May 23, 2012, 11:34 PM   #6
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I work for USFS, you've gotten good advice above. Check in at the local ranger station and get a map, and inquire about closed areas, if any. Don't shoot in or near a developed campground, other campsites, parking area, or on or from or across any road or trail, or into over water. Don't shoot the trees, chipmunks, or without a safe backstop. Pick up all your brass, and don't shoot appliances or bottles, take it all home with you. Don't shoot or possess tracer ammunition, tannerite, or any munition that could start a wildfire. Have a bucket, axe, and shovel, just in case you do.

Sounds like a lot, but just common sense for safety, and when 1,000 people shoot bottles and trees, it really tears up an acre or two of your public land, so that's why the rules are there. It's your public land, so enjoy it and treat it responsibly so your grandkids can do the same thing someday.
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Old May 24, 2012, 12:34 PM   #7
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I think I have found a mountainous 300 acre parcel sandwiched in between private homes that may be BLM. I am trying to find out who has it. Thanks for all the advice.
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Old May 24, 2012, 01:26 PM   #8
Don H
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Don't forget that there are both federal and state regulations that limit the discharge of firearms near residences, etc.

The federal regulation:

36 CFR 261.10 (d)
Discharging a firearm or any
other implement capable of taking
human life, causing injury, or damaging
property as follows:
(1) In or within 150 yards of a residence,
building, campsite, developed
recreation site or occupied area, or
(2) Across or on a National Forest
System road or a body of water adjacent
thereto, or in any manner or place
whereby any person or property is exposed
to injury or damage as a result
in such discharge.
(3) Into or within any cave.
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Old May 25, 2012, 04:53 AM   #9
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In Colorado they have merged the Division of Wildlife with the Parks dept

So,now how this works is,say if you were out on the Pawnee Grasslands,a year ago,the LEO folks who would monitor our activities were more of the DOW sort.We never had any issues,as we took in frames,shot paper,and generated no mess.We were treated as good citizens.

Now,it seems,there are new faces,and they are of the Park Ranger type...not necessarily supportive of shooting sports.Long range shooting does not meet their approval,etc.

I'm sure they would prefer we were birdwatchers on bicycles wearing lycra knickers.

One more thing,this country wants to catch on fire.It will explode into being on fire.

Dry,volatile resinous stuff,Sage burns like gasoline.

I hit a rebar target stake once sighting in at 300 yds once,7mm mag.Target was stapled on cellotex.Is that? Do I see a whisp of smoke in my skope,300 yds away? Yup.I got a bottle of Gatorade down there real quick and put it out,but,scary.Do not forget a cat converter can get hot enough,too.

Generally,you will be able to get to an area to shoot,but you usually will be walking to set up,check targets,etc.Generally,there is no driving off designated roads.

Go into a DOW offoce,where you might apply for permits,etc,they will have pamphlets on "Shooting on Public Lands"

Last edited by HiBC; May 25, 2012 at 05:06 AM.
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Old June 16, 2012, 10:51 AM   #10
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Location: Northern Colorado
Posts: 118
I also live in Northern Colorado, and to me, a trip out to the Pawnee Grasslands for a day of shooting is like a Caribean vacation for most folks. There are certainly more restrictions on shooting than there were ten years ago, but there are still a lot of acres to share. Since I work rotating shifts, I have days off mid week when there are not a lot of others out there. Go early and/or stay late and enjoy the sunrises and sunsets. The sounds of the coyotes, watch the pronghorns and jack rabbits run full out accross the prarrie. There are some places where shooting is prohibited, often because people have made such a huge mess of the area and left behind everything from TV sets and freezers,to old vehicles. It takes years for the area to recover once its cleaned up. I have never been accused of being a radical enviromentalist, but I enjoy the out of doors and don't want to screw it up.
It is required that you only use paper, cardboard, clay pigeons, or real steel target systems that you take with you when you leave. I would agree that the Rangers we meet out there today are more likely to be the fresh out of college "Greenie" than the guy who would stop and talk to you about guns for 30 minutes, but be respectful, careful, and pick up after yourself. As with any contact with law enforcement, be cooperative, don't argue, and if you feel they are unreasonable, get their name, badge number, vehicle number, document the date, time, and location, and take it up with the District Manager at the office in Fort Collins. Simply put, dont act like a raving lunatic and dont be a slob, and you will be fine.
I always take trash bags with me, not only to pick up my own mess, but put a little effort into picking up things others have left behind. When I'm shooting from one position, I'll lay a tarp down, to make it easy to pick up the brass, yes even the 22s. If I'm doing "run and gun" stuff, I will walk the path I traveled and try to get as much brass as I can find. Once again, not just my own, anyones. One day I was out shooting and an old retired guy came along just picking up brass that was left laying around. He said it brought in a little spending cash, and gave him a reason to get out of the house. Not a bad idea, and one I will keep in mind when I retire.
We have enough anti shooting forces against us, lets not add to it by being slobs and giving them a legitamate complaint about leaving a mess everywhere we go. And yes, leave the pyrotecnics at home, if you have ever seen how fast a wildfire can move accross a prarrie, you understand why.
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