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BLM > Arizona > What We Do > Recreation > Camping > Developed Campgrounds & Picnic Areas > Table Mesa Recreation Area > Recreational Target Shooting
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Table Mesa Recreation Area
Target Shooting

Table Mesa has long been popular as a place for recreational target shooting and sighting-in rifles for hunting.  With a dramatic increase in general recreational use in recent years, reports of "close calls" and dangerous encounters between shooters and other users of the area have become common, especially when access to Lake Pleasant was improved and the Black Canyon Trail was completed.

Safety and littering problems have become particularly significant in certain areas of Table Mesa.  To alleviate concerns about stray bullets, the following shooting restrictions are in effect on public lands throughout Table Mesa.  These restrictions have been initiated to encourage safe shooting practices for all recreational shooters.

Shooting Restriction Details

  • Make sure you have a safe backstop.  That means you can see where the bullets are hitting behind the target.  A hill or pushed-up berm of dirt is perfect.  Remember that bullets can ricochet off flat surfaces—that includes rocks, dirt and water.  Put your targets right in front of the backstop to ensure your bullets stop in the dirt.
  • Select a site that doesn’t put others at risk.  Do not shoot towards or across areas where other people congregate such as hiking trails, vehicle parking and staging areas, and trail heads.  It is a violation of Arizona State law (A.R.S. 17-301B) to shoot across a maintained road. Choose a site that avoids shooting across or towards motorcycle, quad, or four-wheel-drive routes as well.
  • Stay more than ¼ mile from any residence or occupied structure.  When selecting a safe shooting site, assume any structure is occupied.  It is a violation of Arizona State Law to knowingly discharge a firearm at a structure.  The statue (A.R.S 13-1211A and B) says:

o    A person who knowingly discharges a firearm at a residential structure is guilty of a class two felony.

o    A person who knowingly discharges a firearm at a nonresidential structure is guilty of a class three felony.

  • Avoid sites with improvements.  Such as: wildlife or livestock water facilities, livestock control facilities such as corrals and fences, signs or kiosks installed to provide information, barns or other rural developments, or any other improvement that was not specifically designed to be shot at.
  • Shooters are required to remove any litter, targets, items on which targets are mounted, and brass or shells from spent ammunition.  BLM Phoenix District policy is to only use targets that do not produce litter, and to remove them when you are finished shooting.  It is a violation of Arizona State law (A.R.S. 13-1603A 1) if a person "Throws, places, drops or permits to be dropped on public property or property of another which is not a lawful dump any litter, destructive or injurious material which he does not immediately remove."  This includes not only trash, but also brass or shells (including shotgun shells) from spent ammunition, and items used as targets.
  • Do not discharge firearms in developed recreation sites. Under the Code of Federal Regulations (43 CFR 8365.2-5(a)) no person shall "Discharge or use firearms..." on a developed recreation site. (43 CFR 8360.0-5(c) defines "Developed Recreation Sites and Areas" as "...sites and areas that contain structures or capital improvements primarily used by the public for recreation purposes.  Such sites or areas may include such features as: delineated spaces for parking, camping or boat launching; sanitary facilities; potable water; grills or fire rings; or controlled access."

It is the ultimate responsibility of the recreational target shooter to ensure the projectiles they fire are contained within the shooting site they select.  While shooting is allowed in most public land areas, the shooter should make no concession concerning safety.  The following discussion describes criteria for the selection of safe and considerate shooting sites.

Where to shoot: If you wish to target shoot with a rifle or pistol in the Table Mesa area see this map  for open shooting zones.

 Hassayampa Field Office 
21605 N. 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027-2929
Phone: (623) 580-5500
Fax: (623) 580-5580
Field Manager:  Rem Hawes
Hours:  7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., M-F


It is the shooters responsibility to:

  • Not shoot within 200 feet of major roads or trails (major roads and trails are shown buffered on map below).
  • Not shoot within ¼ of the Black Canyon Trail.
  • Not use Glass, Refuse, or Clay Pigeon Targets.
  • Not shoot from a vehicle, parked or moving.
  • Make sure his/her shooting site is safe and meets the all restrictions.
  • Clean his/her area.
  • Pick up all brass, cartridges, shot gun shells, and targets prior to leaving.
  • Always keep the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Not attach targets to living plants or place targets up against rocks or solid objects.
  • Never act in an aggressive or threatening manner to other public land users.

Preserve your privileges by caring for your public lands and other visitors.

Questions? Call:  623-580-5500


Table Mesa Rec Area Links

Recreational Target Shooting

Recreational Shooting at Table Mesa

Table Mesa Recreation Area Management Plan

Table Mesa Route Map

Black Canyon National Recreation Trail

Black Canyon Trail Coalition