SHOOTING — Shooters trashing state lands and terrorizing adjacent private property owners are blasting their way out of a place to shoot.
And they're forcing unwanted restrictions on hunters.
Spokane County Commissioners are scheduled to consider proposals for two new no-shooting zones during their 2 p.m. meeting today.
The problems stem from state Department of Natural Resources lands off Koth Road near Newman Lake and off Starr Road south of Mica Peak.
See the map and proposal for the Koth Road no-shooting zone.
See the map and proposal for the Starr Road no-shooting zone.
See the overall Spokane County no-shooting zones map.
Property owners are calling for the action on the two new proposals after more than a year of effort to curb the abuse and safety concerns. Despite increased enforcement and citations for littering, damaging trees, using motorized vehicles in closed areas and failure to have a Discover Pass, shooters continued to trash the public land, said DNR lands manager Loren Torgerson.
“Organized shooting clubs tried to help out; they even went out and cleaned things up,” Torgerson said, but new messes were soon created.
“We tried to make it work, but it’s overwhelming.”
Proposals would allow shotgun shooting during appropriate hunting seasons but no rifle or pistol shooting at any time, said Bob Brueggeman, county engineer. Archery is OK.
Fish and Wildlife officials said they’d prefer a rule that allowed use of rifles for hunting. But Brueggeman said county ordinances do not allow that option to be considered in a no-shooting zone.
“Most shooters are responsible, but a subset of that group isn’t being responsible,” Torgerson said, noting they use garbage as targets and leave the trash. Semi-automatic weapons are used to blast and “saw down” trees, he said.