Canyon Lakes Ranger District Recreational Sport Shooting Reminders

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U.S. Forest Service Emblem

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – With summer just around the corner, many are planning trips to the Forest. With this influx of people, it seems like a good time to remind visitors of the rules, regulations and best practices of recreational target shooting.

  • Only shoot at cardboard/paper targets, self-healing targets, manufactured metallic targets, or manufactured thrown-type clay targets. It is up to a $5,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to six months for using an unapproved target.
  • Shoot further than 150 yards from a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation area or occupied area.
  • Do not shoot on or across a National Forest System Road or across a body of water.
  • Do not shoot in any manner or place where any person or property is exposed to injury or damage.
  • Do not possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage while discharging a firearm.
  • No tracer rounds or incendiary rounds allowed. Exploding targets are prohibited.
  • Clean up your targets and casings.
  • Respect all signs while visiting your National Forests and Grassland.
  • Additional information is available online at

Some areas get particularly crowded with a variety of recreational activities, like the Swamp Creek area southwest of Red Feather Lakes. Over the holiday weekend, more than 460 visitors were seen by recreation staff on one day in just a portion of this popular area. There are signs posted at intersections within Swamp Creek showing the dense road system in this area; always make yourself aware of other people, trails, roads and activities near you.

For safety reasons, it is important to disperse yourself while shooting. Have a map of the area, as much of the Canyon Lakes Ranger District is intermixed with private land and roads and trails abound. Once confirming you are on National Forest System lands in an area not closed to recreational shooting, confirm you have a safe backstop. Just because an area is not closed to shooting does not mean it is automatically a safe or legal place for shooting. Videos on how to shoot safely can be found at

As with all activities on our Forests and Grassland, you are responsible to know the rules and regulations to keep yourself and others safe.

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