Target Shooting Regulations and Restrictions


Recreational shooting has been a longtime use of the National Forests and Grasslands. The only designated area on the forest is the Baker Draw Designated Shooting Area on the Pawnee National Grassland.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations (title 36), recreational shooting can take place on the National Forests and Grasslands, as long as:


1.   You are at least 150 yards from a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation area or occupied area.

2.   You are not shooting across or on a National Forest System Road or across a body of water.

3.   You are not shooting in any manner or place where any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.

4.   You are not firing any tracer bullet or incendiary ammunition.


Regional Restriction (affects  all National Forest and Grasslands in Colorado)

  • Rocky Mountain Region Closure Order: R02-2014-03 prohibits using an explosive, including  exploding targets. An explosive is defined as any chemical compound, mixture, or device, the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion.

Forest and Grassland-wide Restrictions

  • On the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland you may only shoot at cardboard targets, paper targets, self-healing targets, manufactured metallic targets (metal targets specifically designed for firearms), or manufactured thrown-type clay targets (clay pigeons) No wooden backing is allowed.. (Forest Order 10-00-2011-01)   It is up to a $5,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to six months for using an unapproved target.


Only use the approved targets named above with a safe backstop Make sure not to attach your targets on trees, log decks, slash piles, fences, water tanks, or other improvements.  Be aware of:

  • Other people recreating in the area and take extra precaution to avoid recreators when shooting
  • Livestock in the area and take extra precaution to avoid cattle when shooting

For safety reasons, it is important to disperse yourself while shooting. Have a map of the area, as much of the Forest and Grassland is intermixed with private land. Once confirming you are on National Forest System lands in an area not closed to recreational shooting, confirm you have a safe backstop.

Conditions on the Forest and Grassland can be dry at this time of year. Those who start wildfires may be held responsible for suppression costs. When shooting firearms, please take safety precautions and be mindful that hot projectiles and sparks from ricochets can ignite fires in dry grassy areas and in other dry brushy fuels.

See also Target Shooting Etiquette for Tips on Safety 

Local Closures

Make sure that you are not in an area specifically closed to shooting.  See District Specific Pages for more information: