Target Shooting

Boy and man demonstrate safe recreational shooting techniquesThe National Forest can be a busy place. These lands are enjoyed by a variety of users who love these forested areas for hiking, biking, target shooting, camping, picnicking, and a variety of other activities.

Where to go:

Baker Draw Designated Shooting Area is on the Pawnee National Grassland.

Find a shooting range in Colorado online at Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Learn more about the Recreational Sport Shooting Management Project on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.

Know Before You Go

Sport Shooting Safety Video Series by


This five-video series was created by to help new and experienced target shooting participants have a safe and successful experience on public lands.

Each video in the series highlights an important aspect of the target shooting from choosing a safe location to cleaning up afterward.


Follow all regulations and restrictions

Know the four fundamental rules of firearm safety:

  1. Treat every gun as if as if it is loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  3. Keep your finger off of the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.
  4. Always be sure of your target and what is beyond.

Disperse yourself while shooting. Have a map of the area, as much of the Forest and Grassland is intermixed with private land.

Confirm you:

  • are on National Forest System lands in an area not closed to recreational shooting
  • have a safe backstop
  • know the rules

Check for:

  • other users- look, listen and walk the perimeter before you begin to shoot. Trails, homes, roads may be hidden by terrain and trees.
Did you know?

Ricochets can cause fires. Conditions on in the forest can be dry at anytime of year. When shooting firearms, please take safety precautions and be mindful that hot projectiles and sparks from ricochets can ignite fires in dry, grassy, brushy fuels.

Federal Rules

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

  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 an adjacent body of water.
  3. You are not shooting into or within a cave.
  4. You are not shooting in any manner or place where any person, property or resource is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.
  5. You are not firing any tracer bullet or incendiary ammunition.

Regional and Local Restrictions

For safety reasons areas have been closed to discharging a firearm. Learn and follow all regional and local Shooting Restrictions & Area Closures

Targets and Alcohol

On the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland :

  • You may only shoot targets that are:
    • cardboard,
    • paper,
    • self-healing,
    • manufactured metallic  (metal targets specifically designed for firearms),
    • or manufactured thrown-type clay (clay pigeons)
  • Wooden backing on targets is not allowed
  • You may not possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage while discharging a firearm.  See Shooting Restrictions & Area Closures for details.
  • You may not use an explosive, including exploding targets. See Shooting Restrictions & Area Closures for details.

Want more Information?

Learn more about recreational sport shooting efforts in Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Larimer counties on the Northern Front Range Recreational Sport Shooting Management Partnership website.


Remember to bring a good map with you. It is important to make sure that you are not recreational sport shooting on private land. Check our Motor Vehicle Use Map to view areas designated as open to motorized travel.