CARLSBAD — The U.S. Forestry Service Web site answered a question about target shooting sites sent by a Carlsbad resident.
Question: A friend used to own property just outside the city limits and we were able to legally shoot our rifles on his property. Times have changed though and we now need a new place where we can we still legally shoot our rifles and shotguns for sport. We’re not hunters; we just practice target shooting. How do we go about finding places where we can legally shoot? (Gracie R., Carlsbad)
Answer: Your best bet is to contact the closest Sheriff’s station that patrols the area where you want to target shoot. According to Assistant Chief Mike McBride, the Department of Fish and Game does not regulate target shooting nor keep track of all the potential target shooting areas available to the public. This issue basically comes down to county shooting ordinances and landowner permission. I think you will find most cities do not allow discharge of firearms within their city limits, so contact the local Sheriff’s station to see what county areas may be open.
For public areas like U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property, contact the applicable regional station or headquarters that oversees the area. Some USFS or BLM lands may have designated target shooting or plinking areas. They may also have other areas on their properties where target shooting is allowed, but it’s always a good idea to check ahead of time to be sure it is legal with the applicable county as well.
Otherwise, for public and private gun clubs or shooting ranges in your area, you might try wheretoshoot.org from the National Shooting Sports Foundation Web site. This site makes it easy to find a safe and licensed range in your local area to target shoot or to introduce someone new to the shooting sports.