UTAH (ABC4) – A temporary ban on target shooting has been activated on 25 Utah wildlife areas due to continuing wildfire concerns.
The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) says temporary restrictions on recreational target shooting with a firearm will be effective beginning Friday.
DWR hopes the ban will decrease the risk of wildfires being started. The temporary restrictions will be re-evaluated every two weeks for the duration of the summer.
“With the extreme dry conditions, any spark can start a fire,” explains DWR Habitat Section Chief Eric Edgley. “With firearm target shooting, sparks from metal targets, a bullet or other projectiles glancing off a rock is all it takes to cause a spark and a fire. In 2020, two large wildfires on WMAs burned several hundred acres of wildlife habitat and were started by target shooting with firearms.”
DWR says violators could be fined up to $1,000.
Officials hope the ban will “help minimize and mitigate wildlife depredation on private property which are vital to providing important winter ranges and feeding grounds for many wildlife species, including big game.”
“Significant resources go toward improving the habitat in these wildlife and waterfowl management areas to make them more beneficial for a variety of wildlife species, which is why these proactive, preventative measures are so important,” says DWR Director J. Shirley. “Protecting these resources from wildfire is crucial for wildlife and is a huge benefit for the anglers, hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts who utilize these properties.”
Target shooting with firearms, the possession of explosives, incendiary or chemical devices along with exploding targets will be banned from these areas:
- Coldwater Creek WMA (Box Elder County)
- Brigham Face WMA (Box Elder County)
- Richmond WMA (Cache County)
- Millville-Providence WMA (Cache County)
- East Fork Little Bear WMA (Cache County)
- Hardware WMA (Cache County)
- Cinnamon Creek WMA (Cache County)
- Middle Fork WMA (Cache County)
- Henefer-Echo WMA (Morgan and Summit counties)
- East Canyon WMA (Morgan and Summit counties)
- Kamas WMA (Summit County)
- Woodruff WMA (Rich County)
- Deep Creek WMA (Juab County)
- Levan WMA (Juab County)
- Santaquin WMA (Juab County)
- Triangle Ranch WMA (Juab County)
- Apple Tree Springs WMA (Sanpete County)
- Bald Mountain WMA (Sanpete County)
- Big Hollow WMA (Sanpete County)
- Black Hill WMA (Sanpete County)
- Christensen Springs WMA (Sanpete County)
- Fountain Green Farm WMA (Sanpete County)
- Six Mile WMA (Sanpete County)
- Twelve Mile WMA (Sanpete County)
- White Hill WMA (Sanpete County)
- Wallsburg WMA (Wasatch County)
Utahns looking for target shooting opportunities can access two public shooting ranges — Lee Kay and Cache Valley — along with a variety of public and private indoor and outdoor shooting ranges throughout Utah.
Conservation officers will be enforcing the restrictions and encourage the public to report any issues by calling the UTIP hotline at 1-800-662-DEER (3337), submitting a report through the UTDWR Law Enforcement app or by texting 847411.