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jm31828
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jm31828
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 6:49 am 
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My wife, kids, and I went and hiked at Frenchman Coulee on Saturday.  There were tons of people there, possibly because it was a free state park day.  Anyway we were a bit surprised by the fact that when we walked up to the trailhead for the trail that goes down the Coulee floor to the waterfall, a couple of guys had a bunch of equipment set up literally right at the trailhead, they were shooting targets with high powered rifles from that spot.  The guys were nice and were advising that they were shooting off in one particular direction, but will wait until they see us get down the trail and around the first bend (and out of sight) before they start shooting again.  Once we made it down to around that spot we could hear the loud gun shots as they resumed shooting.
I appreciate their decency in being clear about what was going on to reassure us as we walked by, but my question is this- is it even legal to be shooting like that right at a trailhead for a state park?  It just seems so dangerous given the fact that you never know if people might be off trail off in the distance, maybe someone's dog may have gotten loose and run off, etc.
This is not meant to bring up any discussion about gun control or anything, but just more a concern about the spot where the guys chose to do the shooting.
Everyone we saw there at the beginning of the hike (most had kids) seemed quite uncomfortable with what was going on.
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treeswarper
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 7:09 am 
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Were you IN a state park?  I am not familiar with that place. 

We had an annoying, but legal similar experience yesterday.  We were bike riding and running our dogs and had to go by a shooter.   I thought my demon dog would be gun shy but she ran up and started barking at the guy!  We rode on by and he did not even pause in his shooting, which I thought was rude, but not illegal.   

I support target practice but it needs to be safe and have some thought behind where you are doing it.

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jm31828
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 7:15 am 
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Yeah, as far as I know it is a state park- it's over by Vantage, and a discover pass is required to use it- the sign right at the trailhead (they were literally standing right by that sign when shooting) said "Discover Pass required".

I feel the way you do- target practice is fine, but definitely needs to be away from people considering how very dangerous it can be.
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 7:28 am 
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http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=332-52-145

Emphasis added -- shooting from a road or trail is against state law.

Quote:
(3) Where is target shooting permitted?
(a) Persons may target shoot in:
(i) Developed recreation facilities specifically designed for target shooting; or
(ii) Areas with an unobstructed, earthen backstop capable of stopping all projectiles and debris in a safe manner.
Persons shall not target shoot in any other location.
(b) Persons shall not shoot within, from, along, across, or down roads or trails.
(c) Persons shall not shoot on, at, across, along, down, from, or within five hundred feet, of:
(i) Recreational facilities that are not specifically designed for target shooting;
(ii) Residences;
(iii) Businesses;
(iv) Structures;
(v) Other areas as restricted;
(vi) Areas designated or posted as no shooting.
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jm31828
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jm31828
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 7:50 am 
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Interesting!  I guess I or someone should have said something to them, then, about where they were doing this.
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 8:02 am 
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IDK: I'm reluctant to confront armed individuals directly.  It could end badly.   Reporting the incident to county sheriff and the land manager seems like the prudent approach.
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Schroder
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 8:16 am 
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Just to clarify one point - Frenchman Coulee is a Fish and Wildlife access area, not a State Park. Discover Passes are required at boat launches.
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jm31828
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 8:22 am 
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Hmm, interesting- there is no boat launch there- the only things there are the hiking trails and some rock climbing areas.  The sign for the discover pass requirement is right at the trail head by the parking area.

But regardless even if it's not a state park, I imagine it's still illegal to shoot right there at the trail head where everyone comes/goes.
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Schroder
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 9:17 am 
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I should have expanded that - "A Discover Pass or Vehicle Access Pass is REQUIRED on all recreation sites owned by WDFW".  Frenchman Coulee is owned by WDFW.

I would imagine they were breaking the law cited by RandyHiker
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treeswarper
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 9:18 am 
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You "imagine".  That's not good enough.  Deciding via internet isn't either.

I expect more and more encounters of this kind that with the slopover to the east side of people trying to get away from the overpopulated side of the state.

Target practice happens.  Those guys were polite in stopping their shooting till you got a ways away.  I would bet that was it--no evil intentions. They were just saving wear on your ears.

To decide the legality of it?  A meeting with the county sheriff would be the only sure way.

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jm31828
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jm31828
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 9:24 am 
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Yes I mentioned that the guys were polite- the concern I and others on the trail had was simply that it's unsafe.  We didn't think the guys had ill intention, but things can happen when shooting in such a busy area with people all over the place- all it would have taken was one kid to go running off in the sage brush without these guys noticing for some terrible tragedy to happen.  So they were nice and polite, but not smart about where they were doing this. Common sense should have dictated that you don't set up and do this right at a busy trail head, for any number of reasons.

As I think back, I guess I should have called the Sherriff's office to mention it and let them handle it if any laws were being broken.  Obviously my question now after the fact was just to serve my own curiosity.
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Sewellel
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 9:38 am 
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jm31828 wrote:
Hmm, interesting- there is no boat launch there- the only things there are the hiking trails and some rock climbing areas.  The sign for the discover pass requirement is right at the trail head by the parking area.


There actually is a paved boat launch ramp and parking area at the end of the road.
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Schroder
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 10:01 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
That's not good enough

Not good enough for what? To satisfy you?  This is just a forum discussion here, which I don't expect will go very far because of longstanding rules limiting this topic.
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cascadeclimber
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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 11:09 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
We had an annoying, but legal similar experience yesterday.  We were bike riding and running our dogs and had to go by a shooter.   I thought my demon dog would be gun shy but she ran up and started barking at the guy!  We rode on by and he did not even pause in his shooting, which I thought was rude, but not illegal.

As someone who has been bitten, chased, growled at, tripped, and otherwise threatened more times than I can count by people's "running" dogs in the last year, the hypocrisy of this upset is stark.

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PostMon Apr 16, 2018 11:11 am 
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I pass by target shooters on a regular basis. They are always friendly and polite because they don't want anyone calling the sheriff. clown.gif
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