SHOOTING -- The small but formidable percentage of pigs who wallow anonymously in the freedoms afforded by the Second Amendment continue to make a bad name for the sport of target shooting.
Worse, they are at an alarming rate reducing the number of places responsible gun owners can shoot.
A site on the Coeur d'Alene National Forest near Hayden Creek that's been used by shooters for decades is on the verge of being shut down by people who trash the place with target garbage, shell casings and litter, while blasting to pieces any sign posted to plead for responsibility.
Photos with this post show signs that had been posted for less than three months at the Hayden Creek site. This is the response to Forest Service emphasis patrols at the site and efforts by volunteers to get voluntary compliance with basic littering rules and shooting etiquette.
"Needless to say, we are beyond disgusted with this type of behavior, and I imagine every responsible shooter who uses the area is, too," said Jason Kirchner, Idaho Panhandle National Forests spokesman in Coeur d'Alene. "We really don’t want to shut down shooting in the area, but behavior like this moves us closer to that decision every day.
Two Washington Department of Natural Resources parcels were declared no-shooting zones by the Spokane County Commissioners this year following a petition by fed up landowners.
Regarding the Hayden Creek site, a clearly frustrated Kirchner added:
We've had abuse in the area going back decades, but it seems to be getting worse every year. You might recall that this spring, and the previous spring, we sent out pictures and a news release begging the public to report slobs at the shooting sites. We've gotten volunteers that have started helping to clean it up, but the slobs who trash these places and shoot up everything in sight have been relentless.
I don't think it's any secret that if the trend continues there will come a time when we will have to decide that the only way to clean it up is to close it to shooting, barricade the sites, and issue citations to anybody we find shooting in the area. It's a shame that a bunch of slobs will ruin it for the responsible sportsmen who use the area.