Hunting News

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hunting & Shooting Sports

BLM policy is to allow the safe use of firearms on public lands – for both hunting and shooting sports – as provided for in state law, and to cooperate with state authorities in the enforcement of firearms regulations. Individuals have BLM's permission to possess and use legal firearms on BLM-administered public lands, except when prohibited by other applicable laws and regulations. Both hunting and shooting are specifically prohibited near developed recreation sites and administratively closed areas on the public lands.

State law governs hunting and shooting sports on the public lands. It is imperative to follow these state laws and county ordinances, concerning the safe and legal use of weapons and ammunition (see below for more on this).

Ultimately, using firearms safely is the responsibility of the user. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire (aiming the firearm). Keep your action open when not firing. Identify your target and what is beyond – know the bullet will go if you miss. For your own safety, never carry or use a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – illegal or legal (including over-the-counter or prescription drugs) – that affect your alertness. It is recommended that you leave a trip schedule with someone before your trip and wear adequate clothing for variable weather conditions. Follow this link for more Visitor Safety information.

Unless specifically prohibited, all public land surface estate managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is open to hunting in accordance with state laws. Contact your State’s fish and game department for hunting and shooting regulations. There are opportunities for many types of hunting on BLM lands including big game, small game, upland game bird, waterfowl and varmint or predator (non-game) hunting.

It’s extremely important to hunt only on lands where it is legally allowed. Private land is open to hunting only if you have the permission of the land owner. Private land does not have to be posted with “No Hunting” signs for it to be off limits. If you do not have permission to hunt, you are trespassing and can be prosecuted. Crossing private lands to access public lands also is not permitted unless you first obtain permission from the private landowner. BLM Surface Management Quad Maps may help you in locating public lands.

Shooting Sports
Shooting sports or target shooting is permitted on any public lands that have not been administratively closed to such activities, and where target shooting is not prohibited by other state law or statute. Follow this link for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about target shooting.

State Laws & Regulations – “Know Before You Go”
State law regulates hunting and shooting sports. It is imperative that before you hunt or shoot on the public lands that you become familiar with State laws and regulations that govern these activities. Please refer to state specific firearms use regulations for information on minimum distances you can shoot near dwellings or buildings without the owner’s permission. The states also regulate shooting across public roads and shooting from motor vehicles. State laws and regulations governing hunting and shooting sports vary. Extensive information on applicable laws can be obtained by consulting the website for the state game and fish department having jurisdiction over the lands you are visiting.

Contact the Local BLM Office
Please contact the local BLM Field Office where you plan to hunt or shoot to answer any questions you may have regarding hunting and shooting on the public lands. They also can provide information on certain motor vehicle use designations and travel restrictions. On most public lands you may not drive off of existing or designated roads, primitive roads and trails. You may pull your vehicle off existing roads and trails just far enough to park or camp so long as you leave enough room for other vehicles to pass Follow this link for more information on the BLM’s Travel Management program.

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