Ten volunteers from the newly founded BHA club at California State University Fullerton participated in an event highlighting public land target shooting use. During this event, volunteers learned how to responsibly and safely utilize public land for target shooting in anticipation of the upcoming bird seasons. In the spirit of leaving the land better than it was found, garbage bags full of spent shells, wads, casings, leftover targets, car parts, glass, and other trash were also removed. This event took place at an established shooting location just off the famous Route 66 in the high desert of Southern California, and not far from more well-known destinations such as the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.
Those who have spent time in the high desert, know that public lands can be a popular place to target shoot. This location, owned by the Bureau of Land Management, has been irresponsibly used for decades as a place to blow off rounds, and dump trash, appliances, electronics and other waste. A common attitude regarding these kinds of public land “dumping sites” will often lead to the question, "why should I care enough to clean up an old shooting hole?" That is why it was important for us to highlight why and how public land can be used responsibly for target shooting.
There are 2.5 million gun owners in California, many of those being in urban areas such as Los Angeles, or San Bernardino. Public land provides a diverse and cheap option for hunters and recreational shooters to practice year round. However, we believe that these areas should be treated with the same respect as any other portion of our public lands. Pack out what you pack in. Excess trash and hazardous waste at shooting locations will only lead to these parcels being closed to use, restricting the public's rights to the land. A quick search on federalregister.gov will uncover numerous examples of closures occurring for this reason.
At the conclusion of our shoot and subsequent cleanup, our volunteers felt thoroughly satisfied with the portion of the area we were able to clean up and with the training we were able to accomplish for the upcoming bird season. So much so that the CSUF Chapter is planning another trip to do the same this fall! This year we will be raffling off a Champion whirly bid 2.0 at the cleanup in order to get more hands on deck. If you or anyone you know are interested in helping us to finish cleaning up our adopted area, please contact us at [email protected].