Picture of a targeted shooting closure notice posted outside the Utah Wildlife Management District on June 8, 2021. The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources announced Friday that it is temporarily prohibiting target shooting in 25 wildfire management areas due to wildfire risks. (Utah Department of Wildlife Resources)
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Salt Lake City – The summer monsoon is helping mitigate some of the wildfire risks in Utah. However, with the risks still high enough to worry, Utah wildlife officials are banning targeted shooting in more than two dozen wildlife management areas across the state.
In addition to targeted shooting, Utah Department of Wildlife Resources officials announced Friday that possession of explosives, such as incendiary or chemical devices or explosive targets, will not be permitted in 25 wildlife management areas, effective immediately. Measures were taken with the help of the corresponding county mayor’s offices.
The new ban will remain in effect for at least two weeks and will be re-evaluated every two weeks. It does not apply to firearms used in hunting if the ban continues at the start of the hunting season.
The 25 affected wildlife management areas are:
- Apple Tree Springs (Sanpet District)
- bald mountain (Sanpet District)
- Big Hollow (Sanpet District)
- Black Hill (Sanpet District)
- Brigham Face (Box Elder County)
- Christensen Springs (Sanpet District)
- Cinnamon Creek (Cash County)
- Coldwater Creek (Box Elder County)
- deep creek (interrupt answer)
- East Canyon (Morgan and Summit counties)
- East Fork Little Bear (Cash County)
- Fountain Green Farm (Sanpet District)
- hardware (Cash County)
- Henefer-Echo (Morgan and Summit counties)
- camas (top county)
- Lifan (interrupt answer)
- Middle Fork (Cash County)
- Melville Providence (Cash County)
- Richmond (Cash County)
- Santaquin (interrupt answer)
- triangle farm (interrupt answer)
- Woodruff (Rich County)
- six miles (Sanpet District)
- twelve miles (Sanpet District)
- White Hill (Sanpet District)
- Walsburg (Wasatch County)
Most of the bans are in central and northern Utah, which has received less rain from the monsoon in recent weeks than parts of southern Utah.
Eighty-two percent of Utah is still at least a severe drought, aAccording to the US Drought Observatory. It’s a slight improvement of about 1.5 percentage points from the previous week. And during the meteorological forecasting services of the Great Basin He said this week Although wildfire risks have improved across Utah in recent weeks, there are very dry moisture content levels in the dead fuel, particularly across the central and northern parts of the state.
This is where target shooting comes into play in the wilderness areas. There were a couple of large wildfires in the state’s Wildlife Department areas just two years ago, burning hundreds of acres of animal habitat—each caused by a target shooting. Utah Department of Wildlife Resources officials said Friday they don’t want that to happen again.
“With (extreme) dry conditions, any spark can start a fire,” Eric Edgeley, the department’s head of habitat, said in a statement. “With a firearms target being shot, all it takes is a spark from metal targets, a bullet or other projectile staring off a rock to cause a spark and fire.”
Instead, the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources advises anyone looking to shoot a target to go indoors, such as Lee Kai general shooting range in Salt Lake County, or Public shooting range Wadi Kash In Logan, which is managed by the department. The department adds that there is “no shortage” of other shooting ranges available in the state as well.
Ultimately, the department aims to protect the spaces for wildlife in Utah to survive and thrive.
“Significant resources are being devoted to habitat improvement in wildlife and waterfowl management areas to make them more beneficial for a variety of wildlife species, which is why these preventive and proactive actions are so important,” said Justin Shirley, Division Director. “Protecting these resources from wildfires is critical to wildlife and is a huge benefit to hunters, hunters, and other wildlife enthusiasts who use these properties.”