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Target shooting rules have changed on state game and wildlife areas


 

With firearm deer season almost here, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that target shooting rules were recently changed through a land use order by the DNR director.

“Many hunters head to local state game and wildlife areas to sight in their guns, and with the recent changes to target shooting on these specific areas, we want to help hunters be legal,” said Tim Payne, DNR southeast regional wildlife supervisor.

Previously, target shooting on some state game and wildlife areas resulted in user conflicts and management issues. Some of the issues included congestion of people, unsafe use of targets, early morning or late night shooting, and damage to habitat and restoration efforts (tree damage, litter, etc.).

To help alleviate conflicts and to provide a safer target shooting experience, target shooting rules on state game areas and wildlife areas now are as follows:

A person shall not do any of the following:

  • Target shoot at anything other than a paper, cardboard or commercially produced portable target designed and manufactured for the specific purpose of target shooting.
  • Use or attempt to use incendiary or explosive targets.
  • Use or attempt to use incendiary or explosive ammunition.
  • Use or attempt to use armor-piercing ammunition (as defined by section 224c of 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.224c)
  • Possess or be under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol or a combination while target shooting.
  • Use or attempt to use a firearm, other than a pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, hand-held firearm or a muzzle-loading firearm.
  • Use a muzzle-loading firearm exceeding .80 caliber.

A person must adhere to the following:

  • When skeet and trap shooting, use only clay targets and shot size BBB or smaller, unless posted otherwise.
  • No target shooting before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m. or sunset (whichever is earliest), or as posted.
  • No one shall possess or be under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol or a combination of a controlled substance and alcohol while target shooting.
  • The DNR recommends shooters familiarize themselves with their firearms and ammunition and the distance that individual rounds can travel. To ensure their safety and the safety of other users of state game and wildlife areas, shooters are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, including neighboring homes, topography and the backstops they are using for shooting. Target shooters are reminded that it is illegal to use a tree as a target, or as a holder for a target.

Target shooting may not be allowed at all state game and wildlife areas, and each game or wildlife area may have additional restrictions and guidelines. Learn more about the state game or wildlife areas near you.

The DNR also has seven staffed shooting ranges that are open for use. Bald Mountain Recreation Area and Island Lake Recreation Area both have staffed shooting ranges that are managed by Michigan Shooting Centers.  The DNR also staffs five other shooting ranges at Dansville State Game Area (Ingham County), Ortonville State Game Area (Lapeer County), Pontiac Lake Recreation Area (Oakland County), Rose Lake State Game Area (Clinton County) and Sharonville State Game Area (Jackson County).

Learn more about the DNR shooting ranges including offerings, locations and hours or search for other ranges around the state at Michigan.gov/shootingranges.

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DNR halts target shooting in state game area


This bullet hole in a child’s bedroom wall is just one of several incidents of bullets hitting homes in the Saddle Ridge community in Algoma Township. This bullet hole in a child’s bedroom wall is just one of several incidents of bullets hitting homes in the Saddle Ridge community in Algoma Township.

Several incidents of stray bullets striking homes and whizzing past kids and parents in a residential neighborhood in Algoma Township has caused the Department of Natural Resources to close target shooting in the Rogue River State Game Area Extension.
Effective immediately, target, skeet and trap shooting at the Rogue River State Game Area Extension will be prohibited. However, lawful hunting will continue to be allowed in the state game area.
The order was signed by DNR Director Rodney Stokes May 5.
“It is always unfortunate when we have to close an area to certain activities,” said DNR Director Stokes. “However, the careless and illegal shooting at the Extension is a serious public safety risk that we must address.”
The order is in response to a growing number of complaints from residents who live in the Saddle Ridge subdivision near the Extension about careless or illegal shooting dating back to 2004.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigated at least three recent incidents of bullets striking homes and a light pole in the Saddle Ridge neighborhood, which is located a half mile to the west of the Rogue River Extension nature area, located east of Algoma Avenue and north of Fonger Road.
Bullets penetrated a home exterior and bedroom in the 9700 block of Sunset Ridge on April 10, and during a canvass of the area by Kent County Policing officer Tonya Walkons and DNR officers found another home which had also been struck. In that case the bullet passed close to a little girl’s bed and stopped in a bathroom. Two other homes had also been struck by bullets.
It was determined that three Rockford area men had fired the bullets from an AK-47 rifle and a .30 X .30 caliber rifle while target shooting at the Rogue River Extension Area, located one half mile from the damaged homes.  They have been cited for misdemeanor Reckless Discharge of a Firearm.

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