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County considers creating outdoor shooting range

  • Stan Bernard of Lynnwood shoots his .30-30 rifle during target practice in a clearing on unincorporated Snohomish County land outside Sultan earlier t...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Stan Bernard of Lynnwood shoots his .30-30 rifle during target practice in a clearing on unincorporated Snohomish County land outside Sultan earlier this month. It’s important to practice before hunting season, Bernard says.

  • Kevin Bernard shoots his muzzleloader during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land earlier this month. Under the direction of his fa...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Kevin Bernard shoots his muzzleloader during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land earlier this month. Under the direction of his father, Stan Bernard, Kevin began shooting at a young age.

  • Joe Osborne aims his .30-06 rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County earlier this month.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Joe Osborne aims his .30-06 rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County earlier this month.

  • Stan Bernard loads his gun before target practice on unincorporated Snohomish County land near Sultan earlier this month.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Stan Bernard loads his gun before target practice on unincorporated Snohomish County land near Sultan earlier this month.

  • Kevin Bernard shoots a Glock pistol during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County earlier this month.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Kevin Bernard shoots a Glock pistol during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County earlier this month.

  • Stan Bernard of Lynnwood shoots his rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land outside of Sultan.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Stan Bernard of Lynnwood shoots his rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land outside of Sultan.

  • Joe Osborne of Lynnwood shoots his new .30-06 rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land Saturday, September 18. Osborne wen...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Joe Osborne of Lynnwood shoots his new .30-06 rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land Saturday, September 18. Osborne went out shooting with his friend, Kevin Bernard, Bernardís father, Stan; and Bernardís brother-in-law, Anthony Crock.

  • Joe Osborne shoots his rifle during target practice earlier this month, as Anthony Crock (left) and Stan Bernard look on.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Joe Osborne shoots his rifle during target practice earlier this month, as Anthony Crock (left) and Stan Bernard look on.

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By Alejandro Dominguez
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Stan Bernard of Lynnwood shoots his .30-30 rifle during target practice in a clearing on unincorporated Snohomish County land outside Sultan earlier t...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Stan Bernard of Lynnwood shoots his .30-30 rifle during target practice in a clearing on unincorporated Snohomish County land outside Sultan earlier this month. It’s important to practice before hunting season, Bernard says.

  • Kevin Bernard shoots his muzzleloader during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land earlier this month. Under the direction of his fa...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Kevin Bernard shoots his muzzleloader during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land earlier this month. Under the direction of his father, Stan Bernard, Kevin began shooting at a young age.

  • Joe Osborne aims his .30-06 rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County earlier this month.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Joe Osborne aims his .30-06 rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County earlier this month.

  • Stan Bernard loads his gun before target practice on unincorporated Snohomish County land near Sultan earlier this month.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Stan Bernard loads his gun before target practice on unincorporated Snohomish County land near Sultan earlier this month.

  • Kevin Bernard shoots a Glock pistol during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County earlier this month.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Kevin Bernard shoots a Glock pistol during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County earlier this month.

  • Stan Bernard of Lynnwood shoots his rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land outside of Sultan.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Stan Bernard of Lynnwood shoots his rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land outside of Sultan.

  • Joe Osborne of Lynnwood shoots his new .30-06 rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land Saturday, September 18. Osborne wen...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Joe Osborne of Lynnwood shoots his new .30-06 rifle during target practice in unincorporated Snohomish County land Saturday, September 18. Osborne went out shooting with his friend, Kevin Bernard, Bernardís father, Stan; and Bernardís brother-in-law, Anthony Crock.

  • Joe Osborne shoots his rifle during target practice earlier this month, as Anthony Crock (left) and Stan Bernard look on.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Joe Osborne shoots his rifle during target practice earlier this month, as Anthony Crock (left) and Stan Bernard look on.

Stan Bernard likes to target shoot to make sure his guns are in good shape for hunting season. He likes to practice his sport outdoors because it is fun and relaxing for him.
The problem is the places to target shoot are decreasing.
Bernard, 61, of Lynnwood, had been going to the gravel pit at the end of 116th Street SE in Sultan for about 20 years. Then, in March, Snohomish County closed it down, citing noise and safety concerns.
Indoor and private gun ranges are too expensive, and getting in some practice before deer hunting season opens Oct. 16 is important, Bernard said.
“We don’t want to do anything illegal, (we just want) a place to shoot,” Bernard said.
Throughout the county, there is no designated free, outdoor public shooting range. Snohomish County parks and recreation director Tom Teigen said that people in east Snohomish County want a new site after the gravel pit range was closed down.
“This would provide a safe and regulated location open to the public where shooting enthusiasts could gather,” Teigen said.
The county wants to make a new outdoor shooting range sometime in the future, said Brian Parry, executive director for county Executive Aaron Reardon.
And the county has an idea where one could be. The county is hoping to take over 158 acres of land at Sultan Basin Road, near Olney Creek, from the Department of Natural Resources. A decision is expected in early October.
If the county acquires it, making a shooting range in the area would be the primary focus, Parry said.
First, the county needs a study to make sure it is safe to shoot on the land. How much it would cost depends on the design.
“We need to see if there is funding available,” Parry said. “But I believe interested people will support the creation of a shooting range.”
Hunters and gun owners can go onto unincorporated public land and DNR land to practice shooting unless it’s prohibited in the area. But they need to follow certain rules.
“You are accountable for the bullet that leaves the barrel,” said Larry Raedel, DNR’s chief law enforcement officer.
Shooters can practice on lands owned by the department unless there is a sign that forbids it. The Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area, the main forest land in the county, is an example of where shooting is not allowed. There are around 5.6 million acres managed by DNR in the state and there are very few signs forbidding shooting, Raedel said.
Among the rules to follow: People shooting at targets must have an earthen backstop to catch or stop the bullet. If shooting clay pigeons, they cannot be thrown into the air.
Visitors cannot shoot across roads. Shooting into trees, including shooting targets that are attached to branches or trunks, is prohibited. Also, shooters must take with them everything they bring, including their targets. People who break the rules can be fined from $250 to $500.
“People have brought bottles and televisions sets to shoot and leave them here,” Raedel said.
Shooting can only be done during daylight hours. Alcohol is prohibited.
In Raedel’s five years with DNR, there have not been any injuries or deaths involving target shooting on DNR land, but there has been incidents related to hunting, like last year’s death of a hiker in Sauk Mountain when a boy shot a woman on a trail after mistaking her for a bear.
Shooters seldom act inappropriately, he said. If people see dangerous behavior, he encourages them to call 911.
But the rules about where one can shoot can be confusing.
Last weekend, Bernard said he went practice shooting with his son and a couple of others. They drove onto county land six miles southeast of Sultan until they reached a dead end.
From there, they crossed into a box canyon with one entrance. It was the perfect place to shoot.
Still, to be safe, he called the sheriff’s office to make sure he was allowed to shoot there. He was. Oftentimes, signs against shooting are missing or are not visible.
“If there is an outdoor shooting range,” he said, “people will be there all the time.”
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com






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