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FBI launches investigation into shooting of Adams County rancher by deputies

The FBI is investigating the shooting death of an Adams County rancher by sheriff’s deputies for possible federal criminal violations by the officers. U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson announced the federal investigation at a meeting with reporters at her office today in Boise.

The FBI’s investigation is in addition to the ongoing investigation by the Idaho State Police; the Idaho Attorney General is serving as a special prosecutor in connection with the ISP investigation. “The FBI is also conducting an investigation,” Olson said. “They have met with ISP. Our office will make a determination on whether there are any federal charges that can be brought. I’ve talked to the state Attorney General’s office,” she said. “They are two independent investigations and two independent prosecutorial decision making processes.” But, she said, “There will be a sharing of information.”

The ISP and Attorney General will be looking at possible state criminal violations; the federal authorities are examining possible federal violations.  Federal statutes that could be implicated include the federal prohibition on a law enforcement officer willfully and intentionally depriving a person of his or her statutory or constitutional rights. Intentional use of excessive force by law enforcement could violate the 4th Amendment’s protections against illegal search and seizure.

Olson offered no time frame for the federal investigation. “We want to be deliberate and thorough,” she said. As authorities sort through the evidence in the case, she said, “People will need to be patient.”

“ISP will be thorough, the FBI will be thorough,” Olson said. “The Attorney General’s office will carefully review the evidence, we’ll carefully review the evidence, and decisions will be made. … That does take a period of time to do and get right.”

Yantis was shot to death after a Subaru station wagon hit one of his bulls on Highway 95 near his Council ranch; dispatchers called him to the scene after the injured bull began charging emergency responders as they extricated the vehicle’s two occupants. The sheriff’s office hasn’t said anything about what happened next, other than that firearms were discharged by both deputies and Yantis. Yantis’ family members, at least two of whom witnessed the shooting, told the Idaho Statesman the deputies had unsuccessfully tried to shoot the bull, and as Yantis aimed his rifle to shoot it in the head, they accosted him and shot him. His wife, Donna, who was at the scene after bringing Yantis his rifle, suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized.

Attorney General to serve as special prosecutor in shooting death of rancher by deputies

The Idaho Attorney General’s office has agreed to serve as special prosecutor in the case of the shooting death of a 62-year-old Council rancher by two sheriff’s deputies after the rancher’s bull was struck by a car. The death of Jack Yantis has stunned the small community of Council, especially after Yantis’ family – including his wife, Donna, who witnessed the shooting and then suffered a heart attack – told the Idaho Statesman that there was no shootout, and the deputies interrupted and shot Yantis as he prepared to shoot the injured bull with a rifle.

“I stood 10 feet away and watched two deputies escalate the situation and needlessly kill a man,” said Yantis’ nephew, Rowdy Paradis, who also witnessed the shooting. The family’s story was detailed in a Sunday article by Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell; you can read it here.

The incident, which happened after dark, began with the crash of a Subaru station wagon on U.S. 95 into the bull near the driveway of Yantis’ ranch; and both people in the car were injured and had to be extricated. The injured bull began charging emergency responders as they worked; dispatchers summoned Yantis to the scene, calling him as the family was finishing dinner on that Sunday evening.

You can read the latest AP report on the case here, and the Statesman’s latest story here, which reports that a town hall meeting is planned for tonight - the news media is not invited - and a peaceful protest has been set for Saturday; Yantis’ memorial service is set for Sunday. The Idaho State Police are investigating the incident.

2 injured when man accidentally fires rifle at gun show

GARDEN CITY, Idaho (AP) — Two men were injured at an Idaho gun show Saturday morning after a vendor from Washington state accidentally fired a rifle, Ada County Sheriff's officials said.

A 74-year-old man reportedly was securing a rifle with a plastic zip tie at the Lewis Clark Trader gun show near Boise when the weapon fired. The bullet went through a cardboard box, two table covers and a metal cane before striking a man holding the cane as well as a man standing nearby, officials said. Both men were hit in the leg.

They were taken to a hospital with what police believed were non-life threatening injuries.

Officials say the shooting happened before the show opened and it went on as scheduled.

It's the second time in three years that an accidental shooting has injured someone at a gun show in Garden City, the Idaho Statesman reported (http://goo.gl/3SEgVI ).

The vendor has cooperated in the ongoing investigation and so far has not been cited.

Officials said the venue, Expo Idaho, requires gun show vendors to secure weapons' triggers before a show starts. It isn't prohibited, however, to take those safety measures at the facility before a show opens, according to Expo Idaho Director Bob Batista.

He estimated the show had over 1,000 guns displayed at about 100 tables.

There are five to seven gun shows held at Expo Idaho each year.

A different promoter, EE-DA-HOW Long Rifles Inc of Idaho, no longer does gun shows after an accidental shooting in 2013 left them unable to afford an insurance policy.


Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press

Rancher dies in shootout with deputies planning to shoot injured, charging bull

A crash between a car and a bull near a tiny Idaho town on Sunday turned into a bizarre tragedy when an armed rancher confronted Idaho deputies planning to shoot the animal that had charged rescuers, leading to a gunbattle that left the well-known businessman dead, authorities said Monday. It happened just north of Council, where a Subaru station wagon struck a bull on the highway, and the injured bull began charging emergency responders as they worked to get the driver and passenger out of the car.

"The bull was very agitated and was aggressive to emergency services, as well as the other cars coming up and down the highway," Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman said. Jack Yantis, the bull's owner, arrived with a rifle just as deputies decided to put down the animal. There was an altercation, and Yantis and two deputies all fired their weapons, the Idaho State Police said in a statement. Yantis died at the scene, and one deputy suffered a minor injury. The bull also was shot and killed. You can read the full AP story here.

Businesses, sportsmen organize to point out that Hunting Works

HUNTING — Hunters are aware of their contributions to conservation and local economies, but the general public is not.

To help generate more understanding, a group of about 50 local and regional leaders representing sporting organizations, chambers of commerce, small businesses and retailers gathered in Spokane on Thursday, Sept. 10, to announced a new partnership called Hunting Works For Washington.

Hunting is a major driver of in-state commerce, contributing significant amounts of money to local economies and independent businesses, the group said in a media release.

"Hunting Works For Washington partners have come together in order to advocate on behalf of hunting and the shooting sports with a more unified voice," it said.

“I think Hunting Works For Washington has really hit on a topic that not many people are talking about,” said Scott Miller, owner of the Miller Ranch south of Cheney and a co-chair of Hunting Works For Washington.

“Our customers often travel considerable distances to hunt at our ranch, so not only is my businesses benefiting from hunters, but every business they touch on their way to me is seeing a benefit. That spending has a considerable impact, and when we are talking about supporting hunters and hunting we need to be mindful of that impact.”

Miller Ranch is one of Washington's most successful destinations for hunting pen-raised pheasants on a private hunting area.

According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the 219,000 people who hunt in Washington spend about $370 million a in connection with the sport.

Washington hunters spend more than $163 million on hunting trips and $156 million on equipment, the media release said. 

“The money that hunters spend in my district is critical. It supports locally-owned businesses that support jobs and families,” said Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, one of the state Hunting Works co-chairs. “The economic impacts of hunting are felt throughout the state but especially in rural communities like those in the 7th District.”

As they purchase firearms and hunting equipment, hunters across the country also contribute to conservation. The Pittman-Robertson Act, hunters pay an 11 percent federal excise tax on equipment sales that is distributed back to the states for wildlife-related programs.

Through 2012, the tax had generated $8.1 billion passed on to state wildlife programs through this act.

Hunting Works For Washington partnership organizers say they launched with more than 50 partner organizations and will be adding  more.

The group plans to monitor public policy decisions and weigh in on hunting-related issues that impact Washington jobs.

The announcement makes Washington one of 12 states to join the Hunting Works for America program founded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Other states with chapters are Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin.

Cost of park ranger shooting trial unknown

The U.S. Attorney's Office will not say how much was spent to try the man whose confrontation with National Park Service rangers ended in an officer-involved shooting in September 2013.

Michael Sublie was charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer after allegedly shoving a park ranger during a noise complaint call at the Kettle River Campground. A three-day trial on the charged ended in a hung jury, and Sublie eventually agreed to pay a $100 fine for excessive noise in July. His case was dismissed in December after he completed the terms of a court-ordered agreement. 

The Spokesman Review filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the amount spent trying the case. The Justice Department responded to that request this week, providing a list of transcript expenses totaling $2,292.07. However, that amount does not include the salaries of staff members, the U.S. assistant attorney who handled the case nor payment to the prosecution's expert witness, Special Agent Steven Demske of the National Park Service.

"… there is no record or system of records that contains this information.  We have no responsive records that provides a total cost amount," reads the response from the Justice Department. 

The National Park Service never identified the two rangers involved in the dispute, which was sparked by music played on Sublie's houseboat during an end-of-the-summer party. The shot struck Casey Hartinger, a guest at the party, in the side. The injury required hospitalization, but he recovered. The ranger who was allegedly shoved was identified in court documents as Joshua Wentz, and the ranger who fired was identified as Matthew Phillipson. 

The case sparked an outcry in Stevens County among residents who alleged federal law enforcement officers were overstepping their authority. 

Government hunters prepare to kill salmon-eating birds

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Not since the market hunting days have waterfowl gunners set their sights so high.

Government hunters reportedly are scouting an island at the mouth of the Columbia River as they prepare to shoot thousands of hungry seabirds to reduce the numbers of baby salmon they eat.

Biologists blame the cormorants for eating millions of baby salmon as they migrate down the Columbia to the ocean. Some of the fish are federally protected species.

Hunters from Wildlife Services went to East Sand Island on Thursday to look over the lay of the land before starting to carry out plans to reduce the population of double crested cormorants from about 14,000 breeding pairs to 5,600 by 2018, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Diana Fredlund. 

An environmental impact statement calls for them to shoot adult birds, spray eggs with oil so they won’t hatch, and to destroy nests.  


Fire danger prompts shooting restrictions on Wenas Wildlife Area

PUBLIC LANDS — Target shooting on the Wenas Wildlife Area will be restricted to the hours between sunrise and 10 a.m. from May 22-Sept. 30 because of fire danger, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

The department has restricted target shooting on the wildlife area, located between Yakima and Ellensburg, every year since 2012. This year’s restriction takes effect earlier in the year and reduces by one hour the number of hours per day that target shooting is allowed, said Cindi Confer Morris, manager of the WDFW wildlife area.

With drought conditions across the state, anyone heading outdoors for the long Memorial Day weekend should be aware of fire risks, said Clay Sprague, manager of the WDFW lands division.

  • Information about local fire-danger is available here.

“It’s essential that we protect public lands for both recreation and wildlife habitat,” Sprague said. 

Shooting on the Wenas is being allowed in early morning when the risk of starting a wildfire is less severe.

According to the WDFW media release:

Target shooting has caused several wildfires on the wildlife area in recent years including three fires in 2014 alone. Last summer’s Cottonwood No. 2 fire burned almost 9,000 acres and cost $800,000 to suppress. Restoration of the charred landscape has cost another $500,000 so far.

“Last year’s fires followed by this year’s drought compel us to take a more cautious approach,” Confer Morris said.

Public notice of the limited hours announced today will be posted at all entry points and at established target shooting sites in the wildlife area.

WDFW adopted the restriction in cooperation with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which owns lands within the 114,150-acre wildlife area.

In addition to this restriction, the department is considering a proposal to permanently restrict target shooting to two designated sites and would continue to restrict target shooting to morning hours during late spring and summer, when fire danger is the greatest. The department held two public meetings this spring to discuss this target-shooting proposal for the Wenas Wildlife Area.

WDFW will continue to involve the public in developing a plan for target shooting on the wildlife area. The department expects to make the decision later this fall.

Like all of WDFW's wildlife areas and water-access sites across the state, the Wenas Wildlife Area also has prohibitions on fireworks and incendiary devices, including tracer rounds and exploding targets, to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Lands manager Sprague reminds people who plan to visit WDFW wildlife areas in south central Washington – including the Wenas, Colockum, L.T. Murray, Oak Creek and Sunnyside-Snake River wildlife areas – of a campfire ban that’s in place through Oct. 15. Visitors to the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant and Adams counties also should be aware of a campfire ban until Oct. 31.

Find more information on WDFW wildlife areas.

Spokane Gun Club gets out of back-taxes trap

SHOOTING — The Spokane Gun Club will not have to pay more than $40,000 in back taxes at the end of the month on property its owned in Spokane Valley since the 1940s, according to a ruling issued this week.

See the story by S-R reporter Kip Hill.

Muzzleloading, historical craft show coming to CdA

SHOOTING — History buffs and shooters will step back in time at the 19th annual Coeur d’Alene Muzzleloading Arms & Historical Crafts Show set for Feb. 14-15 at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

The event will focus on firearms, clothing and essentials geared to the beaver trade era (1800 to 1840) when Lewis and Clark explored the Pacific Northwest. Gear will be available for show and sale.

The Hog Heaven Muzzleloaders, from the Troy, Idaho, area will share insights on the Lewis Clark Expedition.

The Coeur d'Alene Muzzleloaders will host a booth on local lore from the era.

Many of these club enthusiasts attend rendezvous events across the Pacific Northwest to hone their shooting prowess and knife and tomahawk throwing techniques as well as learning the skills mountain men needed to survive.

The event will be open Saturday, Feb. 14, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the fairgrounds, 4056 N. Government Way in Coeur d’Alene.

Entry: $5 for adults. Kids under 12 free with adult.

Two NW shooting ranges under fire from neighbors

SHOOTING —  A shooting range in Western Washington and a gun club in Lewiston, Idaho, are taking heat from neighbors, according to two stories just moving on the Associated Press.

Mom who lives near shooting range says stray bullet hit her

BRUSH PRAIRIE, Wash. (AP) — The family of a woman who was grazed in the head by a bullet says they can’t prove it came from the neighboring shooting range, but a metal detector turned up more than a pound of bullets in their yard.

Linda Sperling of Brush Prairie is still recovering from a concussion after she she was struck by a bullet Jan. 26 while in her yard.

The vice president of Clark Rifles shooting range, Dave Christie, says there’s no proof the bullet was a stray from the range, The Columbian reports. The sheriff’s office says it appears to be an “unintended, unfortunate incident.”

The Sperling family is considering legal action against the shooting range.

Brush Prairie is near Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.

Lewiston Gun Club range plan draws crowd, controversy

ASOTIN (Lewiston Tribune) — A standing-room-only crowd of shooting enthusiasts and landowners will have to wait at least another month before they know whether a controversial gun club will be built in rural Asotin County.

After listening to 90 minutes of passionate pleas from both sides Tuesday night, the Asotin County Planning Commission opted to table its decision, saying more details are needed on what is proposed by the Lewiston Gun Club at the site eight miles south of Asotin.

The advisory panel said the application for a conditional-use permit in an agricultural zone needs to be resubmitted, along with the state’s environmental review, before any decisions are made on the proposal.

Eric Kopczynski, who lives closest to the site, said the effects on his home have been downplayed. The tranquility will be destroyed, along with property values, he said.

"I live right across the highway," he said. "There is no way I can sell my house with a gun club next door. The nuisance and economic impact is huge for me."

Ken Wareham gave a 20-minute presentation on the history and benefits of the club, which has been without a home since 2008. The club’s former site was near the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport.

Jake Weiss, who was raised on a farm one mile south of the proposed club, gave the commission a letter from seven contiguous landowners who oppose the location. The potential noise, safety issues, land values and negative effects on farming are among the concerns of neighbors in the area, he said.

A land-use attorney from Spokane, Todd Hume, said the testimony didn’t address why this site is worthy of a conditional-use permit, and the application can’t be a moving target that keeps changing. Hume is representing Joanne Bolick’s farm, which is next to the gun club.

"Gun clubs are constantly in conflict with their neighbors," said Todd Hume, a Spokane land-use attorney representing one of the nearby farms. "You will be inviting disaster if you site that gun club in that location. They do serve a purpose, but your job is to look at the code."

Victor Dalosto, who owns the property where the proposed gun club is located, said there is no money in this for him. He said he’s basically giving the land to the club because he believes it will be an asset to the community. He also said he’s donating $30,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project for shooting activities connected to the club.

Trap shooters said it would bring a fun, recreational sport to Asotin County, along with people who spend money on such things as food, gas, guns and ammunition.


Cheap .22 ammo top attraction at Portland sportsmen’s show

SHOOTING — Remember when Jim Zumbo and fishing demo tanks stocked with real fish were the big attractions advertized by sportsman show promoters?

Times have changed:  A promotion getting big attention for the  Pacific Northwest Sportsmen's Show in Portland next week is a chance for 15,000 gun owners to score a brick of cheap .22 rimfire ammunition.

Each day of the show, Cascade Farm and Outdoor of Walla Walla will sell 6,000 short bricks (300 rounds) for $20 each, or 6.7 cents per round, reports Oregon outdoor writer Bill Monroe.

"They're CCI, 36-grain, copper-plated, hollow-point cartridges.That's how many permits will be issued on a first-come basis to show attendees – exhibitors included – allowing them to buy inexpensive short 'bricks' of .22 caliber long rifle ammunition."

Details are posted online. The show runs Feb. 4-8 at the Portland Expo Center.

Shooters are well aware that .22 rimfire ammo, the most popular recreational shooting caliber, has been in short supply for years. Panic buying and hoarding apparently was prompted by consumer hysteria that President Obama somehow had the power to confiscate guns and stockpile ammo.

"Few major sources in the Portland area had any (.22 ammo) at all in a cursory check this past week," Monroe said. "Prices for those that did ranged from 16 to 20 cents per round. American ammunition manufacturers are racing to keep up with demand, but some retailers are importing .22 ammo from Mexico."

"Brick" is a term for a small container, usually cardboard, holding smaller boxes of .22 ammunition, usually 40 or 50 rounds. Years ago, a brick was always 500 rounds. Today total cartridges in a 22 brick varies from 300-500 rounds.

The Spokesman-Review Trapshoot is winter tradition

SHOOTING —  Starting Sunday, for the 97th year, clay targets will be vaporized by shotgunners competing in The Spokesman-Review Trapshoot, an eight-week contest with open, women and youth divisions.

The oldest shooting event of its kind in the country pits participants against flying clay targets as well as winter wind, cold and snow as they shoot at their own clubs.

Scores are compiled each week by The Spokesman-Review and posted at spokesman.com/outdoors.

Lead ammo still targeted despite court ruling

Environmental groups say a recent court loss won’t make them remove lead ammo from their crosshairs.

"We are absolutely going to push forward with our campaign to end lead ammunition. We think it’s the right thing to do for both wildlife and human health," Bill Snape, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Lewiston Tribune last week. "This is not about ending hunting, this is about having safe hunting, not only for wildlife but for hunters as well."

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency has no jurisdiction to regulate lead used in ammunition. The case was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, which joined 100 other groups in petitioning the EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act and asking the agency to regulate spent lead ammunition.

The groups contend lead ammo is responsible for poisoning millions of birds and other animals each year and say it also poses a threat to people who consume game killed with lead shot and bullets.

Hunters and ammunition makers argue that lead doesn’t pose a risk to wildlife on a population scale and say using lead substitutes would be too expensive and could damage some firearms. They also say banning lead ammunition would be a job killer, especially in places like Lewiston, which is home to multiple ammunition makers.

Here's more from the Tribune story by Outdoor write Eric Barker:

In the past, the environmental groups asked the agency to regulate all lead ammunition. The agency denied the request because the act contains a short provision exempting "cartridges and shells" from its jurisdiction.

This time the groups asked the agency to regulate spent ammunition, or the lead after it has exited a cartridge or shell. The three-judge panel rejected the argument.

"Their petition seeks the regulation of spent lead yet suggests no way in which EPA could regulate spent lead without also regulating cartridges and shells," the judges said in their ruling.

The decision was hailed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry.

"We are pleased the Court of Appeals considered the legal merits in the case and has now ruled that Congress has not given the EPA the authority to regulate ammunition, putting an end to efforts by anti-hunting zealots to end America’s hunting heritage," said Lawrence G. Keane, a senior vice president and attorney for the foundation.

But Snape said the groups will be back in some manner and suggested that could include more petitions to the EPA. He said they will also work to convince hunters to use nontoxic substitutes such as copper.

"We don’t understand why hunters across the country are not embracing non-lead ammo," he said. "This really is a matter of when, not a matter of if."

He said the groups have not yet decided if they will appeal the ruling.

Pocatello says ISU campus security cleaned up scene of campus shooting before calling cops

Pocatello city officials say Idaho State University security officer have been overstepping their authority, even cleaning up the scene before calling police after an accidental shooting in a classroom, the Idaho State Journal reports. In the September incident, a chemistry professor shot himself in the foot when a gun in his pocket went off during a lecture. "I cannot impress upon you enough that the intent of the Public Safety Officers is to only enforce the university's rules and regulations," city attorney Dean Transmer wrote. "For anything other than university rules and regulations, it is purely the responsibility of the Pocatello Police Department and other qualified law enforcement agencies to enforce, investigate, cite and arrest."

Idaho State University is the only one of the three major public universities in Idaho to employ its own campus security force. Boise State and the University of Idaho contract with local city police departments to provide campus security. Click below for a full report from the State Journal and the Associated Press.

Youth vulnerable to lead poisoning at shooting ranges

SHOOTING — The Seattle Times series of stories on lead poisoning issues at shooting ranges is providing more food for thought and action:

The youngsters knew their sport could be dangerous, even deadly.

But for the junior team at the Vancouver (Wash.) Rifle and Pistol Club, the peril that emerged from their sport didn’t come from a stray bullet.

It came from lead.

In 2010, blood tests revealed that 20 youths had been overexposed to the poisonous metal after shooting in the club’s dirty, poorly ventilated range.

“It was devastating,” said Marc Ueltschi, the junior team coach and a club member. “It scared the life out of me. No one knew anything about lead poisoning and what to fix.”

Vancouver Rifle is just one of several private gun clubs across the United States that have posed health hazards in a sport with growing numbers of youths and women.

While those most likely to be poisoned by lead in gun ranges are the workers themselves, The Seattle Times has found dozens of avid shooters overexposed in such states as Washington, Massachusetts and Alaska.

The most vulnerable are children learning to shoot and compete in clubs operated by volunteers who may have little knowledge of the risks of firing lead ammunition. Gunfire can put lead residue in the air, and on the skin and nearby surfaces.

Lead poisoning documented at some shooting ranges

SHOOTING — Exposure to lead at shooting ranges is a poorly monitored health risk that's affecting shooters and people who work at the facilities in some areas, according to a story in the Seattle Times.

Indoor, outdoor, public and private, gun ranges dot the national landscape like bullet holes riddling a target, as the popularity of shooting has rocketed to new heights with an estimated 40 million recreational shooters annually.

But a hidden risk lies within almost all of America’s estimated 10,000 gun ranges: firing lead-based ammunition spreads vapor and dust filled with lead, an insidious toxin.

Thousands of workers, shooters and their family members have been contaminated at shooting ranges due to poor ventilation and contact with lead-coated surfaces, a Seattle Times investigation has found.

Those most at risk are range workers who inhale airborne lead as they instruct customers and clean up spent ammunition. Lead exposure can cause an array of health problems — from nausea and fatigue to organ damage, mental impairment and even death.

Employees have carried lead residue into their homes on their skin, clothes, shoes and work gear, inadvertently contaminating family members, including children, those most vulnerable to lead’s debilitating health effects.

For the public, shooting firearms is the most common way of getting lead poisoning outside of work, according to national statistics.

Through documents, interviews and a first-of-its-kind analysis of occupational lead-monitoring data, The Times has found reckless shooting-range owners who’ve repeatedly violated workplace-safety laws.

The nation has an estimated 6,000 commercial indoor and outdoor gun ranges, but over the past decade, only 201 have been inspected, according to a Times analysis of federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records. Of those inspected, 86 percent violated at least one lead-related standard.

Exploding targets blamed for another wildfire

SHOOTING — There's a reason it's illegal.

Exploding target ignited August wildfire in Montana
A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks official said the August wildfire in the Sapphire Mountains was ignited by a target shooter illegally using an explosive target at a state wildlife management area, and the agency is seeking information on the individual responsible who started the fire that cost $94,000 to extinguish.

—Ravalli Republic

Farragut shooting range hours shortened

SHOOTING — Starting Friday, Oct. 3, the Farragut Shooting Range will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9:3 0 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.   The reduction in hours are necessary because of the reduction in daylight hours.

The range will close for the season at the end of shooting hours on Saturday, Nov. 1 to coincide with the return to Standard Time.

When the range is open, it is staffed by trained volunteers or Idaho Department of Fish and Game employees. The fee is $5 per shooter.

Rimfire and centerfire rifles of less than .50 caliber; and shoulder-fired muzzle-loaded rifles may be sighted in.  Work on the 50-yard handgun range is in progress, so it is not yet open.

Directions: Drive east on SR 54 from Athol toward Farragut State Park.  Before reaching the park, turn left on Perimeter Road and watch for the range sign on the right. A Farragut State Park entrance permit is not required to get to the range.

Info: (208) 769-1414.

Shooting victim’s family angered by sentence

The family of a 24-year-old woman shot by a man sentenced to 31 months in prison earlier this week following a January robbery attempt says they are angered they were not informed of the plea deal before it was approved.

But the victim advocate on the case said the woman who was shot declined to participate in the trial proceedings, and restitution was ordered to cover her medical bills.

"We didn't know anything about it," said Susan Debles, who identified herself as the grandmother of Brittnei J. Fawver. Fawver was shot three times in the chest by Jahvory Kinard during what investigators called a drug deal gone wrong Jan. 3. Debles said she sat by her granddaughter's side for a week as a tube sucked fluids out of her chest and kept her from suffocating. A bullet ricocheted off her rib, saving her life, Debles said.

"If that bullet would not have hit her rib, it would have pierced her heart and her lung," Debles said. "She would have drowned in her own blood."

Lori Sheeley, a victim advocate with the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office, said there were multiple attempts to reach Debles before the plea deal went through.

"We definitely did as much as we could, given the circumstances," Sheeley said.

Kinard - who is the older brother of Kenan Adams-Kinard, one of the teens accused in the fatal beating of 88-year-old Delbert Belton - pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree robbery in the case. The pleading was part of a deal to close two cases, the other an incident stemming from an armed standoff with a cab driver in September 2012, Kinard's attorney Steve Reich said Wednesday.

Debles said the family received notice of Kinard's sentencing in the mail two days after the pleading took place. She said the prosecutor in the case, Tom Treppiedi, was not returning her phone calls.

"You know he's going to do it again," Debles said of Kinard. "You can just tell by the look on his face. Next time, he's going to kill somebody."

Sheeley said Monday that Debles had not returned several messages.

Treppiedi was not immediately available for comment Friday.

After the shooting, Fawver served 73 days on a charge of money laundering that Debles said is unrelated to the drug deal. The 24-year-old is currently in custody of the Benton County Jail for a probation violation.

Long-range shooters to fire at Rock Lake range

SHOOTING — The last in a four-event long-range shooting series is set for this weekend, Sept. 27-28, at the Rock Lake Rifle Range, 2356 Glorfield Rd., St. John, Washington

Check in 7:30-8 a.m.

The Northwest Precision Steel Series Challenge has divisions for tactical and hunting class shooters, says organizer Doug Glorfield.

Tactical competitors engage targets at distances of 175-1,250 yards in seven stations.  Hunting and youth shooters do five stations at 150-600 yards.

 "I am expecting a lot of shooters," said Glorfield, who built the range with his dad on their farm land and opened it to the public shoots this summer. "I had 32 shooters at the last series shoot. This thing is growing!"

Spokane Junior Rifle Team sets open house for new shooters

SHOOTING – The Spokane Junior Rifle Team, which has produced several world-class shooters since it was founded nearly 50 years ago, will hold an open house for prospective members on Thursday, Aug. 21, at the Spokane Rifle Club’s indoor range along the Spokane River.

 “Many Spokane kids have attended college on NCAA shooting scholarships and several have gone to regional, national and international competitions, including the Olympic Games,” said coach Michael Furrer.

He should know. His daughter, Amanda Furrer, shot her way from the Spokane junior team to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Boys and girls age 10-18 interested in marksmanship as a sport or hobby are invited to the informal introduction, he said.

Info: spokanerifleclub.com.

Nugent: Fix non-hunting wives or replace them

HUNTING — I can't believe the S-R's Huckleberries online sleuth beat me to this latest headline grabber by right-wing rocker Ted Nugent:

During a Tea Party event in Wyoming, where he was deputized by local law enforcement, the Nuge ranted about women who do not enjoy hunting, Media Matters reported.

Said the heavily armed rocker and hunting show host:

“If I hear another hunter tell me, ‘Man, I wish I could get my wife to support hunting,’ fix your wife… Fix her or replace her”/The Raw Story. More here.

Long-range shooting events at Rock Lake range

SHOOTING — Long-range shooting enthusiasts continue to test their skills in a four-event series at the new Rock Lake Rifle Range, 2356 Glorfield Rd., St. John, Washington

A the next shoot in the series is set for Saturday, July 26. Check in 7:30-8 a.m.

The Northwest Precision Steel Series Challenge has divisions for tactical and hunting class shooters, says organizer Doug Glorfield.

Tactical competitors will engage targets at distances of 175-1,250 yards in seven stations.  Hunting and youth shooters will do five stations at 150-600 yards.

Shooters will compete for cash prizes on Saturday and in the other series shoots set for June 28, July 26 and Aug. 30. 

"My dad and I built the range last year, Rock Lake Rifle Range LLC," he said, noting that the site is west of the south end of  Rock Lake. "We built it to host long-range rifle shoots to bang away at steel."

Info: (509) 939-7855.

Hunter education course bears the heat

HUNTING — The hot sunshine that sent most folks toward water on Saturday didn't deter a group of dedicated hunter education instructors, their students and a few good hunting dogs from hitting the field near Medical Lake to take their best shot.

Jack Dolan,73, and a stable of helpers and instructors offer the rare course that includes the vital element of live fire under carefully controlled field situations. 

On Saturday, they tested the students and their ability to walk through the field with loaded shotguns to see how they would react to real chukars that flushed in unpredictable directions. The students had to decide in an instant whether to shoot, or not,  while swinging on a flying bird.

  • Would you want to hunt with a student who'd never shot  a firearm in a field situation? 
  • Would you want a heart bypass by a surgeon who'd never dealt with the variables of hemorrhage in a living creature?

Here's a tip of the hat to the crew that's been going the extra mile for hunter safety for 23 years.

Fire, fireworks restricted or banned from public lands

PUBLIC LANDS — Campfires, fireworks and exploding targets are prohibited outside of designated sites on state and federal lands. Agencies are emphasizing those rules in a large-scale fire prevention effort on the eve of the Fourth of July holiday.

Generally speaking, campfires are allowed only in fire pits at developed campgrounds in national parks, most national forests and all state lands. 

Fireworks and exploding targets enjoyed by shooters are banned.

Even shooting at normal targets is banned on some state wildlife areas in Central Washington.

Oregon surveying residents on lead ammo for hunting

Updated 1 p.m. with more details.

HUNTING — The Oregon Fish and Wildlife plans to ask state residents to share their opinions about using lead ammunition for hunting.

A survey is being mailed this month to a random sample of 4,200 hunters in the state. The department later plans a survey of non-hunters.

A wildlife division administrator, Ron Anglin, says lead ammo is a national issue because of its effects on wildlife and human health.

California plans to ban use of lead ammo for hunting starting in 2019. 

Read on for more details from the Eugene Register-Guard and Associated Press:

EUGENE, Ore. — On the theory that what happens in California often drifts north, Oregon wildlife officials are surveying hunters in the state to gauge their opinions about lead ammunition.

By 2019, lead ammunition will be banned in California, which acted to further the recovery of the condor from near extinction.

There’s no drive in Oregon to bar lead ammunition, but the question has been contentious in the United States for years. Lead ammunition is blamed for poisoning birds that scavenge animals killed with it.

“We want to make sure that if questions are being asked, that we as an agency have a good feel of what the hunting community thinks so that we can respond with what our hunters are telling us,” said Ron Anglin, wildlife division administrator.

The survey will be mailed to a random sample of 4,200 Oregon hunters — the state has an estimated 250,000. The wildlife department plans a similar survey later of non-hunters in Oregon, Anglin said.

Oregon doesn’t regulate lead bullets, the Eugene Register-Guard (http://bit.ly/1jJdSpI ) reports, but since 1991 there has been a federal ban on lead in the shells that waterfowl hunters used in shotguns.

In years since the ban, steel and other variants of shot shells have come onto the market.

Lead ammunition is generally cheaper than the alternatives, and it’s often more effective.

“Outside of the toxicity, lead would be the ideal ballistic material — it’s cheap, it’s everywhere and it’s easy to form,” said Ralph Nauman, president of Environ-Metal in Sweet Home.

The company makes a no-lead, nontoxic brand of shot shells made of copper, nickel and iron.

The company has tried to sell bullets without lead but discontinued the line more than a decade ago, he said.

Anglin said several instances of lead poisoning among Oregon birds of prey have been documented, in eastern Oregon and the Portland area.

“When they’ve done blood tests on them, they found high levels of lead,” he said. “But we don’t know what the source of those levels was.”

In Eugene, Executive Director Louise Shimmel of the Cascades Raptor Center said her organization sees one or two instances of lead poisoning each year.

“It’s the scavengers — the eagles, the soaring hawks like red-tails, the vultures and ravens — that are going to go for gut piles of things that were shot,” she said.

Fires prompt shooting ban on Wenas Wildlife Area

PUBLIC LANDS — The entire Wenas Wildlife Area has been closed to target shooting until Oct. 1 after several wildfires have burned the property near Ellensburg, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

The closure bans target shooting 24 hours a day at the wildlife area. Public notice of the closure will be posted at all entry points and established target shooting sites.

WDFW adopted the closure in cooperation with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which owns lands within the 114,150-acre wildlife area.

Cindi Confer Morris, who manages the WDFW wildlife area, noted the agency restricted target-shooting to morning hours earlier this month, a step WDFW has taken the last three years to reduce wildfire risk.

"Even with the restrictions, four wildfires have been started on or near the wildlife area already this year," Confer Morris said.

The most recent fire, which scorched nearly 10,000 acres, is believed to have started at a nearby Cottonwood Creek shooting area and spread across the wildlife area. Two other fires at the Wenas Wildlife Area were sparked by target shooting; fireworks started a fourth.

According to wildfire experts at DNR, people cause 85 percent of Washington's wildfires. Common causes include unattended campfires, fireworks, hot vehicle mufflers on dry grass, target shooting and careless disposal of cigarettes.

"This area and the rest of eastern Washington are experiencing drier than usual conditions, which call for added precaution," Confer Morris said. "It's important for the public to take steps to preserve public recreation lands and wildlife habitat."

Confer Morris said the ban applies to this year's fire season only. WDFW will continue to involve the public in developing rules for target shooting on the wildlife area.

Like all of WDFW's wildlife areas and water-access sites across the state, the Wenas Wildlife Area also has restrictions on campfires and prohibitions on fireworks and incendiary devices, including tracer rounds and exploding targets, to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Shooting hours reduced to prevent Wenas area fires

SHOOTING — To reduce the risk of wildfires, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is restricting target shooting on the Wenas Wildlife Area near Yakima and Ellensburg.

From June 2-Sept. 30, target shooting is restricted to the hours between sunrise and 11 a.m.

Public notice of the limited hours will be posted at all entry points and established target shooting sites in the wildlife area.

WDFW adopted the rule in cooperation with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which owns lands within the 114,150-acre wildlife area.

Temporary target-shooting restrictions adopted in the past two years have helped to reduce the number of wildfires sparked by bullets on those lands, said Cindi Confer Morris, manager of the WDFW wildlife area.

Since 2012, four fires attributed to target shooting have burned 37 acres in the wildlife area, she said. By comparison, target shooting caused six fires, scorching more than 600 acres in the two years prior to the adoption of summer shooting restrictions.

“All four of the wildfires sparked by target shooting since 2012 occurred in June before the restrictions went into effect,” Confer Morris said. “Given that experience, we decided we needed to begin the restrictions earlier, rather than waiting until we started having fires.”

Cost, as well as habitat protection, is a significant consideration in preventing wildfires, she said. In the three years prior to adopting shooting restrictions, WDFW’s fire suppression and restoration costs in the wildlife area averaged $70,000 per year, compared to $7,500 per year since 2012.

“We are supporting efforts by Kittitas County to find an appropriate location to develop a public range that would be safe for the public to use year-round,” she said. Sun Targets, a shooting range in Moxee, may also be an alternative for target shooting near the south end of the wildlife area.

Like all of WDFW’s wildlife areas and water-access sites across the state, the Wenas Wildlife Area also has restrictions on campfires and prohibitions on fireworks and incendiary devices, including tracer rounds and exploding targets, to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Cabela’s new Missoula store opens June 12

OUTFITTERS — The grand opening for the Cabela’s Outpost store in Missoula is set for June 12, with a ribbon cutting at 10:45 a.m. and doors opening for business at 11 a.m.

Opening day will kick off a weekend-long celebration highlighted by special appearances, family events, giveaways and more.

The 42,000-square-foot store is located in the growing South Crossing retail development on Brooks Street in the southeast quadrant of South Reserve Street and Highway 93.

It will be the third Cabela’s store in Montana, joining the 80,000-square-foot Billings location opened in 2009 and a 42,000-square-foot Kalispell Cabela’s Outpost store opened in November 2013.

The Post Falls Cabela's store is 170 miles west of Missoula of Interstate 90.

The Missoula store will include an indoor archery range and archery tech.

Currently, Cabela’s operates 53 stores across North America with plans to open an additional 21 over the next two years.