The U.S. Forest Service says a temporary target shooting restriction will go into effect on Friday in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, along with all state and federally owned lands within Carson City.

The Carson Ranger District and Nevada Division of Forestry say the restriction will remain in effect until Saturday, Sept. 30 or until conditions change.

“This temporary shooting restriction will prohibit people who are not hunting from discharging firearms on the Carson Ranger District,” said District Ranger Irene Davidson. “The main purpose of this order is to enhance public safety and protect natural resources while the District’s fire conditions are at a dangerous level as evidenced by the recent rash of shooting-related fires.”

In addition, the Carson City Fire Department has now implemented shooting restrictions on city and privately owned lands including "open space lands" within Carson City. Target shooting is still authorized at the Carson Rifle and Pistol Range located at 4000 Flint Road.

The shooting restrictions include:

  • Target shooting is an appropriate use of public land when and where it can be enjoyed safely. Any shooting restrictions put in place on the Carson City Open Space are for the safety of the public and to protect natural resources. Restrictions will not prevent licensed hunters from hunting in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.
  • Target shooting is defined as any shooting other than in pursuit of game. Within the restricted area, discharging a firearm, air rifle or gas gun [36 CFR 261.58(m)] will be prohibited. This restriction does not limit the ability to carry or possess a legal firearm.

In May and June, there have been 9 fires that has burned over 500 acres (7 fires in Washoe and one in Churchill Counties in Nevada and one in Alpine County, California) that were human caused and currently under investigation where target shooting has become the focus as the cause: two on private lands; four on Nevada Bureau of Land Management lands; and three on Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest lands. The amount of shooting-related fires are above the average number for this time of year.

"We needed to prohibit target shooting at least until we start seeing some wetter conditions this fall," said Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger. "We ask the public for their cooperation and we really don't like to restrict how people enjoy their national forests but in this case it's a matter of public safety."

Violating the temporary shooting restriction is punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail. In addition, anyone found responsible for starting a wildfire will be held civilly and criminally liable. 

“U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement will be bringing in extra officers to patrol and enforce the temporary shooting restrictions on the Carson Ranger District,” said Don Harris, Patrol Captain with Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations.”

Forest officials suggest gun enthusiasts use private or county designated shooting ranges while the restriction is in effect.

To report illegal shooting on the Carson Ranger District while the temporary shooting restriction is in place, please contact either the Nevada Division of Wildlife 24-hour Dispatch Center at 775-688-1331 or 775-688-1332 (U.S. Forest Law Enforcement) or the Ranger District Office at  775-882-2766 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Never approach anyone that may be illegally target shooting. Instead, get details and descriptions of the incident and turn them over to an enforcement agency. Helpful information includes:

•            The license plate number and description of the vehicle involved (make, model, year, and condition).
•            Number of people involved, along with descriptions.
•            Date and time of incident.
•            Location and directions to the area, if possible GPS coordinates.
•            Name and telephone number of person reporting the incident.
•            Provide any cell phone photos if available.

The Carson Ranger District encompasses over 400,000 acres on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in the states of Nevada (136,232 acres) and California (270,208 acres). The District includes 330,000 acres of urban interface area west of Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Area (pop. 425,417), Carson City (pop. 54,080), Minden (pop. 3,001), and Gardnerville (pop. 5,656) in Nevada and more remote rural areas in eastern California.

Separately, fire restrictions start Friday across western Nevada. To read that story, click here.

(The Forest Service, Carson City Fire Department contributed to this report.)