Target Shooting on the Mt. Hood National Forest
Recreational target shooting is an appropriate use of the forest, when done safely and with respect to the land and forest property. The Mt. Hood National Forest is open to target shooting unless specifically ordered and signed closed.
There are certain areas of the forest where target shooting is not allowed:
- In or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or other occupied area,
- Across or on a National Forest System Road or a body of water adjacent thereto,
- In any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge,
- Areas specifically closed to shooting.
When target shooting is done in the right way, it poses little threat to people’s safety or to natural resources. However, careless, unsafe shooting can cause great resource damage and pose serious threats to human life – both to forest staff and visitors. In addition, trash associated with target shooting has reached extremely high levels on the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Dump Stoppers, an organization based in Clackamas County that's dedicated to cleaning up public lands, reported that it removed an average of the following from public lands annually:
- 75,180 lbs. of solid waste
- 857 lbs. of scrap metal
- 1,000 lbs. of hazardous waste
- 572 tires
- 43 vehicles
In an attempt to minimize risk to property and human life and to reduce trash associated with target shooting, the Mt. Hood National Forest enacted the following Forest Order:
- No person shall place targets on trees or shoot trees for any purpose.
- No person shall shoot across, from or along any road, trail or body of water.
- No person shall shoot carelessly, recklessly, or without regard for the safety of any person, or in a manner that endangers, or is likely to endanger, any person or property.
- Persons engaged in target shooting shall remove from National Forest System land all shell casings, targets, and other debris resulting from their use.
- Persons engaged in target shooting shall utilize an appropriately sized, natural backstop.
- No person shall shoot targets other than those commercially manufactured for the specific purpose of target shooting, except for paper targets privately manufactured by the person or people engaging in target shooting.
- No person shall shoot glass of any kind, appliances, furniture, vehicles or other debris determined to be garbage or refuse by an enforcing officer.
- No person shall engage in shooting while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Target shooting and other shooting related activity will be prohibited from one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise.
The above regulations supplement the following long-standing laws governing safe discharge of firearms on National Forest lands. Discharging a firearm or any other implement capable of taking human life, causing injury, or damaging property is not allowed:
Firearm Safety Best Practices
To ensure your safety and the safety of others, please adhere to the following universal guidelines:
- All firearms should always be considered loaded
- Never point the muzzle of your gun at anything you are not intending to shoot or destroy
- Keep your finger off the trigger and your safety on until you are on target
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target to prevent endangering any person or property
- Before discharging your firearm scout out the area for other people that may be recreating near you
- Only shoot in an area with a safe backstop, preferably an earthen mound
- Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use
- Use correct ammunition
- Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting
Maps to Target Shooting Closures
- Old Maid
- Camas Prairie
- Clear Lake
- Forestwide Map
Remember: Shooting within 150 yards of a recreation area, building, occupied area is always prohibited.
Forest Firearm Orders
- Order No. MH-239-01-95 - Eightmile Interpretive Trail, Barlow Ranger District
- Order No. MH-263-01-99 - Camas Prairie, Barlow Ranger District
- Order No. MH-292-09-2003 - Wildcat Mountain, Zigzag Ranger District
- Order No. MH-295-09-2004 - Old Maid Flat, Zigzag Ranger District
- Order No. MH-24-03-79 - Olallie Lake, Clackamas River Ranger District (Area between Forest Road S-42 and Olallie Lake.)
- Order No. MH-278-06-2001 - Clear Lake, Hood River Ranger District (No shooting within the designated areas within the Forest Development Roads in and around Clear Lake; please see Exhibit A map of the order for more details.)
- Target Shooting Video on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF
- Study of Fire Ignition by Rifle Bullets
- Printable Target