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View Full Version : Shooting Over a River... Legal or Not?


osokne
07-15-2012, 5:49 PM
After much digging, the only law I could find regarding shooting over a river (or other body of water) had to do with being on National Forest land. The river in question, is fairly small as rivers go (~30ft wide avg) and runs through a valley, which is fairly steep, on both sides. One side of the valley, is privately owned and the other side is BLM land. The property line is the river, itself... or the historic high water mark thereof, or some such.

The owner of the (private) property asked me if I knew whether or not it was okay to shoot a target, on the other side of the valley. So, he'd be shooting a level/horizontal shot, at a target on the other side, at roughly the same elevation. (Not downward or upward). The other side is completely uninhabited and has no roads. In fact, it's so steep, it's basically inaccessible. Both the proposed shooting & target positions, are roughly 120ft above the river. On the target side it's over 2000ft to the top of the ridge, which is 2500 yards distant. Which pretty much makes it a "BFB" or "Big Friggin' Backstop". The terrain is sand/soil, with scattered bushes and trees.

Any ideas?

phrogg111
07-15-2012, 9:24 PM
Shooting over a body of water, or shooting over or down a road, is illegal. If part of the land is BLM land, I wouldn't risk it. I wish I could quote the laws on this.

Is the BLM land all considered national forest?

NorCalDustin
07-15-2012, 9:31 PM
Over or down a road... Illegal, yes.

Over a body of water... I dont know.

MudCamper
07-15-2012, 9:41 PM
It's an interesting question. I don't know of any federal codes that prohibit shooting across rivers on BLM lands. They can however post closures and restrictions per 43 CFR 8364.

Known state and federal codes (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=2514211&postcount=2)

BLM public statement on shooting (http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/recreation/hunting.print.html)

You could call the local BLM office and ask their opinion. While it may not be correct, it would tell you whether or not they'd come after you for it.

IrishJoe3
07-15-2012, 10:05 PM
Shooting over a body of water, or shooting over or down a road, is illegal.



The road, yes. Over water? I'm not so sure.

crackerman
07-15-2012, 10:36 PM
Why does everyone thing shooting over a road is illegal?

NorCalDustin
07-15-2012, 11:10 PM
Why does everyone thing shooting over a road is illegal?

Please go read the BLM website and lookup prohibited shooting locations.

fullrearview
07-15-2012, 11:15 PM
Over water? As far as I know, it is illegal. I will look for the fish and game code. It's one of those lost in the back of the book codes that I have only seen brought up a few times while backing DFG Wardens.

Ron-Solo
07-15-2012, 11:43 PM
Is the BLM land all considered national forest?


BLM land is different than National Forest, but both are Federal. They are manage by different areas of the Federal government.

fullrearview
07-15-2012, 11:43 PM
Yeah, can't find it right now... Too tired. I'll look tomorrow.

Curley Red
07-16-2012, 9:33 AM
Is the river considered a navigable water way?

mud99
07-16-2012, 9:44 AM
I doubt you will find much federal law concerning shooting over a river - Otherwise all those gator hunters on TV would be in jail right now.

osokne
07-16-2012, 9:45 AM
Is the river considered a navigable water way?

Hmmm... It's not listed on any of the kayak enthusiast websites. Kayaks might get through, part of the the year, yes. Rafts, probably not. Motorized boats would be an "Oh hell no".

JackRydden224
07-16-2012, 9:59 AM
When in doubt in California don't do it. You just never know what kind of laws or ban are in place that could get you in trouble. It's not worth it.

I say consult with local authorities first and get it in writing or hard copy of some sort. If they are attempt to arrest or tell you that you can't later then you can present proof you have gotten the okay from the same agency. I'm not a lawyer, but we are talking about guns in an anti-gun state so I can only advise you to CYA all the time.

DuknBucks
07-16-2012, 4:09 PM
Over water? As far as I know, it is illegal. I will look for the fish and game code. It's one of those lost in the back of the book codes that I have only seen brought up a few times while backing DFG Wardens.

OK....how about waterfowl hunting? that is legal on many rivers.......

Shooting into water is discussed in hunter safety as a safety issue but not as a general regulation...... bullets can skip!

CAHighSierra
07-16-2012, 4:29 PM
"It is illegal to shoot from a road, across a road, across a body of water, within 150 yards of a campground or other structure or occupied area, or if endangering any person or property."

This is pretty standard whenever reading the rules on HUNTING certain NF land.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sequoia/recreation/fishing.html

I would gather its pretty safe to say NO GO on legality.

MudCamper
07-16-2012, 8:01 PM
"It is illegal to shoot from a road, across a road, across a body of water, within 150 yards of a campground or other structure or occupied area, or if endangering any person or property."

This is pretty standard whenever reading the rules on HUNTING certain NF land.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sequoia/recreation/fishing.html

I would gather its pretty safe to say NO GO on legality.

Again, that is a code applicable to Forest Service land, NOT BLM land.

I've already posted a link to every conceivable code in my previous post.

CAHighSierra
07-16-2012, 8:18 PM
Again, that is a code applicable to Forest Service land, NOT BLM land.

I've already posted a link to every conceivable code in my previous post.

Exactly what I said. However, since they pretty much follow the same idea on when/where to shoot I wouldnt do it.

rero360
07-16-2012, 9:37 PM
Well, it may be different state to state, but I know there is an active rifle range in PA that has a road that crosses the range at roughly the 380 yard mark, and is open to traffic when the range is hot. Granted its a 1,000 yard only range and you actually can't even see the road or traffic from the firing points, not that its even much of a road, I forget if its even paved, but people do live on it.

gbp
07-17-2012, 7:15 AM
seems to me that if shooting over a body of water were illegal then every duck hunter in the state is a criminal
state facts not conjecture, nor a rule in a specific area as a law in all

YubaRiver
07-17-2012, 7:45 AM
Those duck hunters must use lead free ammo.