UTAH, Aug. 6, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the sheriffs of seven counties have restricted recreational target shooting in 25 wildlife management areas across the state.
The temporary restriction was motivated by the ongoing drought and importance of protecting wildlife and its habitat from potential fires.
“These lands are purchased and managed using the money generated by fishing and hunting license sales,” a Utah DWR statement says. “Because wildfires can destroy essential wildlife habitat, this temporary ban will protect Utah’s wildlife management areas.”
DWR Director J. Shirley said 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.
“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.”
Effective immediately, target shooting with firearms or the possession of explosives, incendiary or chemical devices or exploding targets is not allowed on the following WMAs:
- 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)
The temporary restriction only applies to target shooting with a firearm on the WMAs — legal possession of a firearm and hunting are not affected. Fireworks and explosives are never allowed on any WMA in Utah, the statement says.
The firearm target shooting restrictions will be re-evaluated every two weeks for the duration of the hot, summer months. Check for the current status of the restrictions on the Utah Department of Natural Resources website.
“With the extreme dry conditions, any spark can start a fire,” DWR Habitat Section Chief Eric Edgley said. “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.”
Visitors to the areas are encouraged to keep their eyes open and to report any fireworks or any firearm target shooting by calling the UTIP hotline at 1-800-662-DEER (3337), submitting a report through the UTDWR Law Enforcement app or by texting 847411. Violations of the restrictions could result in fines of up to $1,000.
During the temporary restrictions on recreational firearm target shooting, Utahns still have several options available for target shooting. DWR has two public shooting ranges—Lee Kay and Cache Valley—and there are a variety of public and private indoor and outdoor shooting ranges throughout Utah. Find your nearest shooting range by visiting the DWR website.
Statewide fire restriction information and wildfire prevention tips can be found on Utahfireinfo.gov.