Taking aim at sloppy shooters.
Two thousand, four hundred pounds. That’s a ton plus a motorcycle. It’s also the amount of shell casings, shotgun hulls, blown-up targets, and just plain garbage that was removed from a popular (unauthorized) public shooting area near Bozeman earlier this year. The cleanup made the area look better, but there was still plenty that could have been done, and by the time the volunteers finished dropping it all at the landfill, every spot that was being cleaned earlier had someone shooting again. Apparently, people love to shoot their guns; unfortunately, it appears a goodly portion of them don’t like to clean up after they’re done—and it’s high time we called them out.
The sad thing about these rogue range shooters is that if they’re not careful, the shooting area could be closed. We’ve witnessed it already up Hyalite, where the Forest Service banned target shooting—and for good reason. Each year there are two cleanups in the Hyalite area: one in the spring, as the road reopens; and one in the early fall, after the throngs of people have faded. Prior to the shooting ban, much of the volunteers’ time was spent picking up shell casings and blown targets, including appliances, furniture, and just about any household item you could name. Now their time is spent picking up trash at trailheads and campgrounds.
But not all litter is equal. The aforementioned shot-for-brains, who think our public land is their personal garbage can, also seem to have little regard for what may be over the next rise. At the shooting area in question, there are horses, cattle, and occasionally dog walkers about, although most of these folks are too scared to go there anymore. While we’ve not heard of any injuries, these Rambo-wannabes make all shooters look bad.
The only good thing about these bullet-blasting buffoons is that ammunition has a small excise tax on it that goes back to states, helping them pay for such things as wildlife-habitat acquisitions, conservation easements, biologists’ salaries, and aerial surveys. Montana has received $2 billion of these funds in the last decade. (Our current lone U.S. Representative, Matt Rosendale, has recently signed on to a bill to end this funding—while this is also worthy of a session in the stocks, it’ll need to wait for another day.)
So, until these brassholes can figure out how to clean up after themselves… to the pillory!