Arizona Recreational Shooting

Many take advantage of the opportunities to target shoot on public lands. Currently on Arizona public lands, there are no designated target shooting sites managed by the BLM. However, the Phoenix District has been constructing four recreational shooting sports sites on public lands in the Phoenix metro area. Construction began in late 2020 and is ongoing. Learn more about the Recreational Shooting Sports Project

Shooting is prohibited in some areas due to high public use and resource concerns. Prohibited areas include all developed recreation sites and other areas where posted. Check the list of specific areas below. You are generally allowed to target shoot on all other BLM-managed public lands, as long as you clean up your targets, shell casings, and trash.  

It is illegal to shoot (or place targets) on trees, signs, outbuildings, or other objects on federal lands that are for the public's enjoyment or use. You must follow all state laws and county ordinances on the safe and legal use of weapons and ammunition. National BLM regulations are listed here. Each local area may have extra requirements. 

It's your responsibility to know applicable laws and to use firearms in a safe manner. For the most accurate information, contact the managing BLM Office.

Join us in the partnership effort to sustain existing shooting opportunities in the Sonoran landscapes of southern Arizona by participating in Tread Lightly's Respected Access Campaign. Take part in events, and help spread the word about appropriate recreational shooting habits to your shooting friends and partners. 

Things to consider when selecting a location:  

  • You must get to public lands only via public roads. You may not cross private lands to get to public lands unless you get permission from the private landowner.
  • Check with local sheriff or land management agencies before using an area for shooting. Private and state lands are located adjacent to many public lands. Do not shoot on private lands without the owner's permission. Shooting is not permitted in state parks or state trust land.
  • Know your target and what is beyond it. Shots fired across the open desert can travel for more than a mile. Find a safe backdrop. A spot with a large mound, hill, or cliff behind the target is ideal.
  • You must not discharge firearms within 150 yards of residences, buildings, campsites, occupied areas, recreational areas, or domestic livestock.
  • Shooting across a road, trail, or wash is prohibited.
  • Shooting should only take place in areas well away from other concentrations of people and property.
  • Shooting from a vehicle is prohibited.
  • When driving to your target shooting location, stay on designated routes. Cross-country travel is not permitted outside of OHV open area boundaries.

When shooting on public lands,

  • The use of fireworks, exploding targets, tracer ammunition and other incendiary devices is prohibited on BLM Arizona-managed public land. Fire Prevention Order: AZ910-2015-0001
  • Use the correct ammunition for your firearm, and wear the appropriate eye and ear protection devices.
  • Shoot only retrievable, freestanding targets. 
  • Shooting glass objects, electronic waste, and items that may contain hazardous materials—such as Freon, propane, etc.—is prohibited.
  • Do not attach targets to living plants or attach targets to rocks, plants, or solid objects. It is illegal to deface or destroy trees, signs, outbuildings, or other objects on federal lands that are for the public's enjoyment. (CFR 8365.1-5 (a) (1) & (2))
  • Always pick up and remove targets, empty shells, and any other shrapnel or debris before you leave. 
  • Do not act in an aggressive or threatening manner towards other public land users.
  • Avoid being under the influence of alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs while shooting.

BLM Arizona areas closed to target shooting

Due to safety concerns, litter problems, high fire danger, and wildlife management issues, several areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management are closed to target shooting. These areas include:

We recommend using designated shooting areas for the best resource protection and to reduce litter and firearm shrapnel. A list of designated sites and a map is provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  

The BLM has color-coded 1:100,000-scale surface management maps available displaying public and private land ownership, roads, water features, points of interest and other topographic information. The maps do not display specific shooting sites, but it can provide guidance to those seeking appropriate public lands for target shooting. You can purchase these maps from the Arizona State Office and at the various field offices. Contact a BLM field office.

Phoenix-area Recreational Shooting Project

In January 2020, the BLM's Phoenix District published a final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Decision Record approving the Recreational Shooting Sports Project, clearing the way for the construction and operation of five recreational shooting sites on public lands near the Phoenix metro area. The sites will provide active management, enhanced access and increased safety for shooting sports enthusiasts and other public land users near one of the most populated metro areas in the nation. Construction began in 2020 and is ongoing.

On March 12, 2021 the BLM published in the Federal Register the final supplementary rules for this project. The rules became effective April 12, 2021.

Recreational Shooting Sports Project Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Recreational Shooting Sports Project?

In January 2020, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the construction and operation of five recreational shooting sports sites within the Phoenix District. Construction of the Baldy Mountain site began in the fall of 2020 followed by the Box Canyon, Church Camp, and Saddleback Mountain sites. Narramore Road has been planned, but construction has not started.

Where are the sites?

Three sites in the Hassayampa Field Office—Baldy Mountain, Church Camp Road, and Saddleback Mountain—are north of Phoenix off State Route 74 (Carefree Highway). Box Canyon is in Pinal County west of Maricopa. The planned Narramore Road site is in Maricopa County west of Arlington.

When will the sites open?

The BLM is in the final stages of construction at four of the sites and we anticipate they will be open by autumn 2022.

What work remains to be done?

Much of the major construction work is nearly complete at Baldy Mountain, Church Camp Road, and Saddleback Mountain. Remaining tasks include fence line construction, installing targets, posting signs, making maps, and planning operations.

In the Lower Sonoran Field Office, some additional safety features are needed at the Box Canyon site. Narramore Road has been planned, but construction has not started.

What hours will the sites be open?

Once operational, the sites will be open for day-use only. Sites will open daily at 7 am. Closing time will vary throughout the year depending on the time of sunset. The sites will also be closed on alternating Wednesday mornings for maintenance and cleaning.

Will the sites close every year during fire season?

Phoenix District staff will analyze conditions each year to determine if the developed shooting sites can stay open during fire season.

Will I need to reserve a time to visit?

No, the sites are first-come, first-served. If a site is full, you may have to come back at another time.

Will there be a fee for the sites?

The sites are intended to initially operate without fees. Should the BLM determine in the future that fees are needed to best manage the sites, we would develop a recreation business plan and engage the public for input before implementing any fees.

Are the sites going to be staffed?

Staff and volunteers may be present on occasion, though the sites are not planned to be staffed during all open hours.

What facilities will be at the sites?

Sites will have varying levels of development.

  • Baldy Mountain: There will be 100-, 200-, 300-, 400-, and 500-yard shooting lanes with fixed steel targets for long-range rifle shooting.
  • Box Canyon: There will be 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 300-yard shooting lanes with three steel targets. There is also an area for sporting clay/skeet shooting. The site will also have toilets.
  • Church Camp Road: There will be 50-, 100-, and 200-yard shooting lanes for rifle and pistol shooting. The 100-and 200yard lanes have fixed steel targets. The site will also have toilets and picnic tables.
  • Saddleback Mountain: There will be 200-, 300-, 400-, 500-, and 700-yard shooting lanes with fixed steel targets for long-range rifle shooting.
What rules will apply?

Supplementary rules were published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2021. View the full Federal Register notice here.

What safety tips do you recommend?

You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others at the site. Shooting sites are self-service sites. Check out these tips for responsible target shooting from Tread Lightly!

Where can I get more information?

Learn about the BLM’s planning efforts for the Recreational Shooting Sports Project at the National NEPA Register. You can also contact the Phoenix District Office by phone at 623-580-5500 or via email at blm_az_pdoweb@blm.gov.

Download these FAQs as a PDF.

a wildfire burning in trees with the text Fire Restrictions

Know before you go! Check fire restrictions on the public lands you plan to visit. Recreational target shooting is temporarily prohibited during fire restrictions.

OLS Target Shooting 2

 

Prevent Wildfires while Target Shooting

  • -Bring a bucket of water and a blanket to put out a fire.
  • -Place your targets on dirt or gravel, away from grass.
  • -Don't shoot trash like old TVs or other appliances.
  • -Don't shoot with steel core ammo.
  • -Exploding targets, tracer ammo, an incendiary ammo are illegal on public lands.

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Arizona State Office