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Target shooting on WMA

mccrackermccracker Posts: 354 Deckhand
I was told by an FWC officer maybe 3 weeks ago that people were allowed to now shoot on the WMAs. I remember asking him, "So I can go sight in my rifle in Corbett?" and his response was "Yes, we just ask people to shoot towards a canal bank or some other natural berm of some kind." He mentioned House Bill 45 which supercedes all county laws, and state law says you can shoot as long as its not over any public paved road yada yada. I am weary of what I was told, anyone on here have any further information? I know in the brochures it says target practice is prohibited and the WMAs are all state managed land which I would think made the brochure and rules state guidelines....


Thanks,
mccracker
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Replies

  • joekat46joekat46 North PortPosts: 2,516 Captain
    I hope not. There is already enough trash and shot up crap on the WMAs even when people think it is illegal. A pre hunt shot to check a rifle for zero may be okay but we all know some that would never stop at that. If you think the game is spooky now wait and see what happens if this is true. Brochures are usually at least a year behind. When rifles were made illegal for public land turkey hunting it took at least a year+ for the brochures to catch up.
  • Egreen cobraEgreen cobra Posts: 230 Deckhand
    He's correct.
    790.33 is the law of the land.
    HB45 says so.

    FWC can't make rules related to firearms/ammo unless it's related to taking animals.
    So legally you can target practice, because there is no statute that says you can't. As long as your within the other rules of the management area, i.e day use permits/ access points, litter etc.

    Obviously you would be responsible for your rounds, bouncing off into the woods. Also make sure that your actions can't be taken for some form of hunting. I.e you're "target practicing" on two hen turkey decoys while scratching on a call, in a ghillie suit with a 3.5in load of no. 4's.

    Note this is for State WMA's, Federal lands do not apply.
  • 001001 Posts: 4,292 Captain
    Sounds kind of scary. Without having designated safe shooting areas and the assault weapon craze out there, I can see more incidents occurring.
  • mccrackermccracker Posts: 354 Deckhand
    001 wrote: »
    Sounds kind of scary. Without having designated safe shooting areas and the assault weapon craze out there, I can see more incidents occurring.
    It does sound scary. He also told me to keep it hush hush. With the lack of public ranges and skeet shooting areas this does make it easier to teach a youngun or friend about gun safety and a whole lot cheaper too. There's good and bad and as much as I like target practice I'm not sure if allowing anyone to practice without designated shooting zones and a safe berm is a good idea in public woods where only one trail to play on is open.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,464 Admiral
    On one hand, I think it's great for people who live in the city and have difficulty finding a place to sight in their guns, but on the other hand, without a designated shooting range, it could lead to trouble.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • heavychevy15heavychevy15 Posts: 838 Officer
    Growing up we always used to go to the farm fields (with permission from farmers) and shoot long range, clays, etc. But I could definitely see how shooting target practice on WMA's could pose a problem.

    I'm all for making ppl go to gun ranges and structured environments with all the accidents that happen
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,166 Captain
    This can open a real "can of worms"......I am 100 per cent for gun rights and there is no doubt there is a real need for places to "target" shoot, especially for adjusting scopes and patterning shotguns....and the WMAs would be good places. However, we all know "target" shooting is attractive to the masses with a full array of semi auto and even auto "macho" guns.....Unfortunately, it is similar to the need for ATVs for hunting on a number of public lands that cannot allow them as the "mudders" would soon be running wild in the place.

    Tough situation that will need to be clarified and addressed.

    Obviously, during hunting seasons all licenses and permits can be required to be firing a gun (not possession as that is now allowed if legally stored).....The legal folks at the FWC and land owning agencies will need to get their heads together!

    What would be nice is that as many WMAs as possible would put up a berm and have designated "open" times for shooting in a prescribed area during the year. Controlling the shooting in "time and space" and therefore not continually disturbing other stakeholder activity, including hunting.
  • heavychevy15heavychevy15 Posts: 838 Officer
    What you stated is basically a gun range when you have designated times, areas, etc to shoot. Whether it's on a WMA or a building it's still regulated like a range would be.

    I'm not arguing, I'm agreeing that if your gonna do it you gotta do it right. Something like what you proposed makes sense, but like you said your opening a can of worms. It could go very wrong.
  • BuckDaddyBuckDaddy Posts: 644 Officer
    mccracker wrote: »
    He also told me to keep it hush hush.

    So much for hush, hush!!! :rotflmao
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,070 Moderator
    I don't see this as a big deal and I'm glad the NEW law has been changed. The language in the brochures has only been that way for the last 2,3 or 4 years. It used to say something discouraging target practice out of respect for everyone enjoying the land. It's a royal pain in the rear to have to find a target range, drive there and pay the range fee just because you bumped your scope and wanted to check the zero...especially if you're already out in the woods hunting.
    I like Newt's idea of having a berm setup at each WMA (that has the funding) and encouraging people to go there if they need to do something such as checking a zero.

    What I'm curious about is if the new law allows you to shoot outside of the hunting season.
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    They will have to change to brochures.

    http://myfwc.com/media/1386944/Lochloosa.pdf

    2. Target practice is prohibited



    SUPER BAD IDEA to change this. Ever still hunt in an area where yahoos are shooting illegally? Not very fun. Making it legal will not make it any better for the hunters.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,464 Admiral
    Cyclist wrote: »


    SUPER BAD IDEA to change this. Ever still hunt in an area where yahoos are shooting illegally? Not very fun. Making it legal will not make it any better for the hunters.

    I agree, it is no fun listening to constant shooting while hunting. However...

    I also see James' point. Many guys drive considerable distances from their homes to hunt.
    Would it not be more beneficial to be able check his gun there rather than having to go through the trouble of finding a range?
    This exact thing happened to a friend of mine years ago while hunting Tosohatchee. His gun slipped the knot of his pull up rope and fell 10' or so to the ground. In between hunts, we found a safe place along a ditch-bank and checked his zero. It was off a good 3" or so.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    flydown wrote: »
    I agree, it is no fun listening to constant shooting while hunting. However...

    I also see James' point. Many guys drive considerable distances from their homes to hunt.
    Would it not be more beneficial to be able check his gun there rather than having to go through the trouble of finding a range?
    This exact thing happened to a friend of mine years ago while hunting Tosohatchee. His gun slipped the knot of his pull up rope and fell 10' or so to the ground. In between hunts, we found a safe place along a ditch-bank and checked his zero. It was off a good 3" or so.

    I agree, but there is a difference between checking your zero and having a bunch of guys (usually drinking) shooting tons of rounds.

    I think the point is moot, target shooting happened when it was illegal and will happen no matter what.

    All we can hope for is that the target shooters are hunters and that they think about the impact on fellow hunters that happen to be out hunting.

    I don't think they want guns on WMAs after the season so I do not expect this to be allowed throughout the year.
  • shempshemp Posts: 611 Officer
    IMHO they would do well to put a public range for zero checking in some of the popular wmas (GW, 3Lakes); have a check station volunteer supervise & limited times to shoot. Would love to be able to pattern and zero scope w/o paying $$$ to go to a range for like 10 mins. Fl more suburban than ever, and city limits shooting getting more restrictive
  • mccrackermccracker Posts: 354 Deckhand
    james 14 wrote: »
    What I'm curious about is if the new law allows you to shoot outside of the hunting season.

    Doesn't matter if its hunting season or not so long as FWC could obviously see that you are not hunting but only target shooting or vice versa. As far as keeping it hush hush, word had to get out sooner or later...
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,166 Captain
    Amazingly, the SFWMD Gov. Board had to vote this morning to remove all gun and ammo rules for their lands that conflict with State Law...I go to the Gov. Board meetings and the land managers are very concerned...I met with staff and SFWMD managers today and we discussed some of the various problems that will need to be addressed. What is a reasonable new State rule regarding purchasing or being in possession of firearms being equal in all parts of Florida has the potential "problem" of opening a lot of land up to indiscriminate shooting by large numbers of people....

    The lawyers are going to need to work on this...and the NRA needs to look at how the purpose of the new Law can be maintained while preventing the wholesale blasting of all sorts of firearms 24/7/365 on public land. Perhaps "discharge" can be regulated????
  • Walker DogWalker Dog Posts: 2,155 Captain
    What I gather from what I was told by an FWC LEO, the new regulation does not allow them to regulate possession, but they still have the ability to regulate use on a WMA.... i.e. they cant keep you from having it, but they can still prohibit random target shooting or limit non hunting shooting to certain defined areas..... if they choose to.
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,070 Moderator
    I see limiting discharge as still going against the state law. However, it could be compared to concealed carry laws which allow possession but do not authorize use.
  • ChopperChopper Posts: 104 Officer
    As a kid we had marked a place where we set our back packs and lunch stuff with a small plastic drinking container we stuck on top of a small bush. After the morning hunt we all met up and nooned out(ate lunch). After nooning out we all kicked back in the tall grass for a nap before the evening hunt. Well a few minutes later I hear something and sit up and there is a guy pointing his double barrel shotgun right at me. Thankfully I'm alive! He was just getting ready to shoot the bottle we placed on the bush. Could have killed all of us. I'm all for guns and stuff but I believe you should only be shooting at game.
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,166 Captain
    The current thinking at the agencies (after a couple of conversations with managers involved in the rule revisions) is that if the area is closed to hunting...totally or there is no firearm season in progress....then "shooting" is not allowed. So, if that interpretation holds up legally, the only time "target practice" type shooting would be within the rules would be on days within a firearms hunting season...and this may be futher restricted by the type of firearm legal for the specific hunting.

    Possession would be universal......discharge not so.

    Also, there is the question of "quota permits" being needed to discharge a firearm during a quota hunt....

    This will be an interesting issue...one that has potential to cause a lot of problems for hunters...There is one scenario that I simply will not state in public as it can be so detrimental but will be glad to discuss otherwise. I will be sure to have it as part of the forthcoming FUTURE OF HUNTING IN FLORIDA Board Meeting in a few days. Our Tallhassee folks, including lobbyist, will be on the line and may have some suggestions for the next Legislature Session.
  • Egreen cobraEgreen cobra Posts: 230 Deckhand
    Discharging a firearm is covered under 790.15. Therefore, HB45 (and 790.33) comes into effect. FWC (or anyone else) can't regulate it. "In Public" is what the land managers are hoping to use to exclude discharging in certain areas. So the campground or recreational area at the WMA (where hunting is not allowed)- would be a "public place". The main "hunting area of the wma" tis not as clear.

    The good news is FAC's can be adjusted. The bad news is at the moment where people go, and the easiest way to keep the guns out, would be to keep the people out...

    There were many unintended consequences of this bill. While the legistature did give FWC some exemptions, you'll note that every other FAC dealing with game laws is related directly to "possession" of specific guns and ammo. Take a look at some of the now unenforceable laws on the books... Did you pay extra for that "special less lethal" waterfowl load last year? (though this is not the best example as the Fed can still get you...)
    N. Cook wrote: »
    The current thinking at the agencies (after a couple of conversations with managers involved in the rule revisions) is that if the area is closed to hunting...totally or there is no firearm season in progress....then "shooting" is not allowed. So, if that interpretation holds up legally, the only time "target practice" type shooting would be within the rules would be on days within a firearms hunting season...and this may be futher restricted by the type of firearm legal for the specific hunting.

    Possession would be universal......discharge not so.

    Also, there is the question of "quota permits" being needed to discharge a firearm during a quota hunt....

    This will be an interesting issue...one that has potential to cause a lot of problems for hunters...There is one scenario that I simply will not state in public as it can be so detrimental but will be glad to discuss otherwise. I will be sure to have it as part of the forthcoming FUTURE OF HUNTING IN FLORIDA Board Meeting in a few days. Our Tallhassee folks, including lobbyist, will be on the line and may have some suggestions for the next Legislature Session.
  • Mr19-6Mr19-6 Posts: 166 Deckhand
    Bumping an old thread BUT

    Since target shooting seems it would cause problems for hunters wouldn't it make sense that you should be able to do it out of hunting season?

    It seems backwards since more people are on the WMA's during hunting season than any other time. Pair that with locals only coming out during hunting season to fire off a few rounds without wearing orange(ignorance) and you have a problem.

    That being said what would be the penalty for breaking this "rule" of not shooting out of hunting season?
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    Don't be a dickhead. Don't do it.
  • JRussellJRussell Posts: 1,411 Officer
    Mr19-6 wrote: »
    Bumping an old thread BUT

    Since target shooting seems it would cause problems for hunters wouldn't it make sense that you should be able to do it out of hunting season?

    It seems backwards since more people are on the WMA's during hunting season than any other time. Pair that with locals only coming out during hunting season to fire off a few rounds without wearing orange(ignorance) and you have a problem.

    That being said what would be the penalty for breaking this "rule" of not shooting out of hunting season?

    FWC is against it and does not want people target shooting at any time. However there is a state law that says they cannot do anything about it during gun hunting seasons.
    The Florida Hunters Network Facebook page
  • Mr19-6Mr19-6 Posts: 166 Deckhand
    Cyclist wrote: »
    Don't be a dickhead. Don't do it.

    10 miles into a WMA throwing clays into open water for miles without a soul in sight(with binoculars).. Whats the big deal?

    I rarely shoot my pistol into a 12' high backstop I found in the same area. Here's why... Local ranges don't allow rapid fire,draw from a holster,mag changes,etc. 3,334,452 acres of state managed land and they only found space for one shooting range on a WMA(cecil webb).. I'm thinking the problem here isn't me... I haven't run into trouble yet.
  • ShineShine Posts: 834 Officer
    I would be willing to bet a legislative change will be just around the corner on this - Restoring FWCs ability to control firearms on WMAs. First year the law was changed making firearms exclusively a legislative jurisdiction, there were a number problems that were addressed in the next legislative session. One was discharge of firearms in areas zone primarily residential. This is another obvious case where there needs to be correction.
  • gottheitch22gottheitch22 fort Meade FLPosts: 4,353 Captain
    YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE A REAL CLOWN TO GO OUT SHOOTING WHILE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO HUNT . NOT SOMEONE WHO JUST DOES NOT CARE ABOUT WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING .
    living life as i like
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    Mr19-6 wrote: »
    10 miles into a WMA throwing clays into open water for miles without a soul in sight(with binoculars).. Whats the big deal?

    I rarely shoot my pistol into a 12' high backstop I found in the same area. Here's why... Local ranges don't allow rapid fire,draw from a holster,mag changes,etc. 3,334,452 acres of state managed land and they only found space for one shooting range on a WMA(cecil webb).. I'm thinking the problem here isn't me... I haven't run into trouble yet.

    Why waste steel shot on clays?
  • Mr19-6Mr19-6 Posts: 166 Deckhand
    YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE A REAL CLOWN TO GO OUT SHOOTING WHILE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO HUNT . NOT SOMEONE WHO JUST DOES NOT CARE ABOUT WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING .

    exactly my point.

    open for target shooting during hunting season closed otherwise...Doesnt make alot of sense
  • ReaperReaper Posts: 486 Officer
    Yeah been reading about all the wild west shooting on WMAs
    tumblr_lesrrtx1Hc1qe0eclo1_r1_500.gif
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