You’ve seen it, and like most people, you will never understand it.

The Tonto National Forest, after a seven-year effort by volunteer groups resulting in the collection of 192 tons of trash, has implemented restrictions on the target materials that will be permitted to be used by recreational shooters on the Tonto National Forest, with the requirement that all approved target materials be removed when shooting is finished.

Going forward, the use of unapproved target materials on the Tonto National Forest will result in citation.

Violations are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and up to 6 months jail time for repeat offenders.

What target materials are approved?

  • Cardboard with reusable frames – does not include wood pallets.
  • Paper with reusable frames – does not include wood pallets.
  • Reactive targets that are designed to move along the ground that are non-metallic.
  • Self-healing targets.
  • Metal targets designed for firearm use.
  • Biodegradable clay targets (the only material that is not required to be removed when finished shooting)

Otherwise you are littering and subject to citation. This seems like common sense but some people lack common sense or just do not care – hence the new restrictions.

The group I shoot with is very cognizant of the shooter trash problem. We clean up every site we use. We have picked up TVs, computers, glass bottles, tires, pallets, cardboard, paper, shotgun shells, brass cases.

I would love to hear from someone who thinks it is just fine to leave their target material of choice lying on the ground after their shooting time.

I have always wanted to gather up all the trash and leave it scattered at the front door of the person who left it. A desire that will never be fulfilled, but I have no problem taking a picture or two and making a phone call whenever I see someone leave their targets behind. The Coconino Supervisors Office phone number is 928-527-3600.

The Coconino National Forest has not followed the Tonto’s lead and they really do not need to. They just need to enforce the existing forest littering laws. Maybe some weekends of Coconino National Forest Law Enforcement watching known shooting sites and writing citations would do the trick. Perhaps Game and Fish could assist with more coverage and really make an impact.

I would love to see it.

On a side note. The deadline for up to $10,000 in scholarships from the National Wild Turkey Federation is January, 1, 2018. Contact Scott Talboom at 928-699-4008 for information.

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