View Full Version : So what happens if I am camping... and get caught shooting?

02-21-2012, 9:30 PM
So, I know that by law (unless prohibited by a local law), you are allowed to have a loaded gun at a camp site. But what if I go out in the wilderness... like literally wilderness, hundreds of yards from the closest human... set up a little range and shoot some things.

Then someone a ranger or something comes across me, either because he heard it or just by accident....

Granted I have a safe setup... as in... a backstop (like side of a hill) or something... And my setup is safe...

But the area is not per-se a dedicated shooting area... just wilderness.

Would I be breaking any laws? if so... what are the repercussions?

Im curious about both firearms and air rifles... would the law be the same? In the past ive shot air rifles while camping like that... but i plan to soon take a 22LR and 9mm semi automatic pistols with me..

Anyways... anyone with any info on this, id be very thankful :)

The particular "wilderness" is "San Bernandino National Forrest"... out in the wilderness

02-21-2012, 10:23 PM
You need to check the local laws there is no right answer for every part of CA or anywhere for that matter.

As far as I know San Bernandino your only allowed to shoot scatterguns but again you need to contact the rangers or find out if your in BLM.

SoCal Choppas
02-21-2012, 10:34 PM
Anytime before you going shooting in the National Forest, you should call the local Ranger Station and ask them about any restrictions. Also, you are limited to what type of targets you are shooting at, generally no targets containing plastic.

When shooting is allowed, I usually shoot at Biodegradable Clay targets or bring up wood target frames.

I've seen Rangers ticket people for shooting at prohibited targets that were left there by other people. (Propane tanks, TVs)

http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72 BTSw8jAwjQL8h2VAQAng7kaQ!!/?recid=26225&actid=106&cid=null&navid=110250000000000&ss=110512&ttype=activity&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&pnavid=110000000000000&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&pname=San+Bernardino+National+Forest+-+Target+Shooting

02-21-2012, 10:35 PM
Since its a national forest... check both state and federal, since both applies in the same area. If you going to check with a ranger and they say "GTG"... get it in writing. You are better off finding BLM land.

02-21-2012, 10:43 PM
in the SBNF you can only shoot in designated shooting areas when they are open and at only certain targets. or on private land with the owners permission.

and being 100's of yards away fro humans is notfar at all. how ever being far away is not equal to being legal.

02-21-2012, 11:04 PM
So do they write you a ticket for shooting in a non shooting zone? What kind of ticket is it? how much is it usually? is it like thousands of dollars? Do they just tell you to GTFO?

02-21-2012, 11:24 PM
See the sticky in the Outdoor forum.

02-22-2012, 12:01 AM
See the sticky in the Outdoor forum.

Sweet sticky.. thanks for the pointer.. it still doesnt mention anything about the penalties...

02-22-2012, 5:08 AM

Important - Shooters must call ahead to the local Ranger Station nearest to their preferred shooting area, to find out the Forest Use Guidelines (Activity Levels) for that particular day.

02-22-2012, 5:31 AM
And a little appeal? Please don't shoot trees. Not good for the trees or for anyone who may later harvest the tree. Embedded lead projectiles and saws really don't get along too well.

02-22-2012, 5:45 AM
If you know its illegal why do it? I've seen rangers take chainsaws for illegally cutting firewood and wouldn't want to risk the same with my gun. I think they give them back but not till after the court hearing and that could be months. Again, why?

Mesa Tactical
02-22-2012, 7:02 AM
Sweet sticky.. thanks for the pointer.. it still doesnt mention anything about the penalties...

Well, no, it wouldn't, since it discusses how to do things legally.

02-22-2012, 9:35 AM
Sweet sticky.. thanks for the pointer.. it still doesnt mention anything about the penalties...

There's no penalties for obeying the law. The penalties for breaking it would depend on what law you are planning on breaking.

02-22-2012, 10:01 AM
It's not rocket science.

Find BLM land. Shoot legally. Stay out of court. Sleep in your own bed, not Bubba's.

02-22-2012, 12:42 PM
SBNF only allows shooting in areas designated for shooting. There are only a handful (two or three) still in existence. They are all presently closed.

Do not shoot anything in the SBNF unless your life depends on it.

I expect it is at least even money that they will take your guns. They will also charge you with whatever they think might stick. Some of those charges can be felonies (CA PC 246.3)

i.e. don't do it. It can't possibly be worth the risk.

02-22-2012, 7:53 PM
Hunting is legal in the SBNF. What's open.....

I feel your pain because there is no BLM land close if you live on the south side of the SBNF. You have to go a pretty long ways. I only shoot on private property nowadays.

BTW I think Jackrabbit is open year round ;)
Be sure to have your hunting permit. You DO have your hunting permit right?

02-22-2012, 8:28 PM
Most forests around here, at least in my research, only allow shooting in designated areas or for hunting. If you're out in the middle of nowhere and want to check the zero on your rifle that's probably not an issue, taking half a dozen of your friends and shooting clays is probably a bad idea.

Whatever you do, for pete's sake, clean up your mess. I stopped to sleep in a very pristine area on the way to where I was deer hunting last fall only to wake up to find dozens of broken and whole clay's scattered next to the road as well as a big pile of empty shells. Nothing worse than getting a late start due to cleaning up some jackwagons mess.

God Bless The Mauser
02-22-2012, 9:15 PM
I was looking into some of the national forest around Tahoe and it said on the website shooting is welcomed, but there were a few restrictions like no shooting near buildings, over roads or bodies of water, basically just common sense stuff.

02-23-2012, 4:54 AM
I was looking into some of the national forest around Tahoe and it said on the website shooting is welcomed, but there were a few restrictions like no shooting near buildings, over roads or bodies of water, basically just common sense stuff.

Please do show the link that says shooting is welcomed in or around the Lake Tahoe Basin, other than designated shooting ranges?
I've looked for it for years and have never found it.
When I received an email from a supervising forester a few years back, I didn't get that impression at all.:shrug:

02-23-2012, 5:57 AM
He may have meant around as in out of the basin area a ways. Most of the more developed areas in the national forests don't allow shooting. As others have said, check out the usfs info and contact the local ranger in the area you are looking, and once in be a good guy and don't shoot the trees or leave a mess.

Are guns permitted?
The Federal Rules for firearm use is the following: 1) no shooting within a 150 yards from a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, 2) no shooting across a road, trail or body of water, or in any manner or place whereby any person property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge, 3) no shooting in a cave. For state law regarding firearm use please contact a state or local office to get the best information.