Utah DWR bans target shooting as high fire danger continues

Aug 5, 2022, 7:45 PM | Updated: 7:47 pm

BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah — Fire danger remains high across northern Utah, which is why the Division of Wildlife Resources is tightening restrictions in some of the areas they manage.

It doesn’t take much to spark a flame at many of the Wildlife Management Areas, or WMAs. It’s why they’ve got several signs up at each of them, and they’re ready to issue fines of up to $1,000 if you’re caught target shooting.

We see many human-caused wildfires in Utah every year. In 2020 alone, around 30 were caused by target shooting.

“This is really dry right now,” said Lt. Steven Beveridge with Utah DWR.

Beveridge said the DWR wants everyone to help preserve Wildlife Management Areas, like the one in Box Elder County.

“These properties were bought by people who hunt and fish, and we want to protect these properties for wildlife, and we put a lot of effort into our properties to improve the wildlife habitat,” he said.

These lands that help provide feeding grounds during the winter months for many animals can be easily taken away.

“It’s really bad,” Beveridge said. “If you look around, it’s just a tinderbox ready to blow up.”

A spark from a bullet can turn huge — threatening conservation areas and nearby homes.

Signs are up all over northern Utah. Restrictions are used from time to time but have been in place the past three years in a row because of ongoing drought conditions.

“Our agency advocates for safe shooting, and for that reason, we’ve allowed people to shoot on our properties,” Beveridge said.

But it’s not safe to do that there now.

Beveridge said the DWR will review conditions every few weeks and see how long the signs need to stay up.

“For now, go to a rifle range where it’s safe,” he said.

For a complete list of the WMAs with the target shooting ban in place, click here.

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Utah DWR bans target shooting as high fire danger continues