Outdoors

More national forests ban exploding shooting targets

A Tannerite exploding target is detonated by a shot from a rifle. (Tannerite)
A Tannerite exploding target is detonated by a shot from a rifle. (Tannerite)

PUBLIC LANDS –  Led by a ban on exploding targets issued by Northwest national forests on July 9 and bans by other public land managers, a similar ban was issued on Monday by Rocky Mountain Region Forest Service officials who cited the products enjoyed by target shooters as a major cause of wildfires.

Shooters who use exploding targets have ignited 16 wildfires since last year, including seven in the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain region that includes Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, the officials said.

The ban extends to all national forests and grasslands in those five states.

The public should understand that exploding targets can cause fires, said John Walsh, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, said in this story by the Durango  Herald.

Exploding targets are legal to buy. They are made in a small canister by mixing dry chemicals that become volatile in each other’s presence. When struck by a bullet, they emit a brief flame and puff of smoke.

  • One manufacturer says its product is different and should not have been included in the bans.
  • But the tests shown in the video with the Durango Herald story prove that some exploding targets cause fires.

On a national level, the U.S. Forest Service says this:

“Exploding targets pose a very real safety threat to visitors and our employees” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “In the past year alone, at least 16 wildfires on national forests have been associated with exploding targets, causing millions of dollars in suppression costs while threatening the safety and well-being of surrounding communities.”




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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