WSR 20-10-116
[Filed May 6, 2020, 11:06 a.m.]
Original Notice.
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 20-07-046.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Target practice on the department of fish and wildlife (WDFW)-managed lands, the department is proposing amendments to WAC 220-500-140 Firearms and target practice.
Hearing Location(s): On June 12-13, 2020, at 8:00 a.m.
Webinar and/or conference call.
This meeting will take place by webinar and/or conference call. The public may participate in the meeting. Visit our website at or contact the commission office at 360-902-2267 or for instructions on how to join the meeting.
Date of Intended Adoption: July 31-August 1, 2020.
Submit Written Comments to: Wildlife Program, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200, email,, by June 10, 2020.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Dolores Noyes, phone 360-902-2349, TTY 360-902-2207, email, by June 10, 2020.
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The purpose of the proposed rule is to clarify how individual persons may engage in target practice activities on lands owned or managed by WDFW and to promote consistency among state agencies relative to use of state-owned lands.
Specifically, the proposed rule: Clarifies the definition of recreational target shooting; distinguishes between department designated target shooting areas and dispersed target shooting; distinguishes between shooting single projectiles (i.e., rifle bullets and shotgun slugs) and shooting shot (i.e., bird shot); describes when a backstop is required when discharging specific types of firearms/implements; lists specific locations where recreational target shooting would be prohibited (e.g., from or across roads, designated trails, water body or within five hundred feet of buildings, campgrounds, etc.); restricts allowable targets to those commercially or privately manufactured specifically for target shooting; restricts recreational target shooting to thirty minutes before sunrise until thirty minutes after sunset; and requires recreational target shooters to remove shell casings, shotgun hulls, ammunition packaging, targets, and target debris.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: WDFW owns or manages about one million acres statewide, with thirty-three wildlife areas and nearly five hundred water access areas around the state. These public lands help sustain wildlife habitat and public recreation opportunities for current and future generations.
The primary purpose for WDFW owning and managing lands is the preservation, protection, perpetuation, and management of fish and wildlife and their habitats. Public use may include fishing, hunting, fish and wildlife appreciation, and other outdoor recreational opportunities, such as target practice, when compatible with healthy and diverse fish and wildlife populations and in a manner that addresses public safety concerns.
An increase in target shooting on WDFW-managed lands in recent years as well as an increase in visitors generally has created several challenges, including wildfires, concerns over public safety and user conflicts, and impacts to private property, littering, and damage to wildlife habitat. In addition, discrepancies with rules on adjacent state-managed lands (e.g., Washington department of natural resources lands) has led to confusion among target shooters about the rules applicable to specific sites. These proposed rule amendments attempt to address these challenges.
WDFW wishes to continue welcoming recreational target shooters to WDFW-managed lands while also protecting public safety and private property and minimizing damage to habitat.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 77.04.012, 77.04.055, 77.12.047, 77.12.210, and 77.12.240.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 77.04.012, 77.04.055, 77.12.047, 77.12.210, and 77.12.240.
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Name of Proponent: WDFW, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implemenation: Eric Gardner, 1111 Washington Street S.E. Olympia, WA 98501, 360-902-2515; and Enforcement: Steve Bear, 1111 Washington Street S.E., Olympia, WA, 98501, 360-902-2373.
A school district fiscal impact statement is not required under RCW 28A.305.135.
A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. A cost-benefit analysis is not required for this rule making under RCW 34.05.328.
This rule proposal, or portions of the proposal, is exempt from requirements of the Regulatory Fairness Act because the proposal:
Is exempt under RCW 19.85.025(4). This chapter does not apply to the adoption of a rule if an agency is able to demonstrate that the proposed rule does not affect small businesses.
Explanation of exemptions: The department is exempt from the requirements of chapter 19.85 RCW because the proposed target practice rules do not regulate small businesses; rather, the proposed rules regulate individual persons who undertake recreational use of department-managed lands. The proposed statewide target practice rules simply govern the time, place and manner for individual persons engaging in target practice activities on WDFW-managed lands.
May 6, 2020
Michele K. Culver
Rules Coordinator
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 17-05-112, filed 2/15/17, effective 3/18/17)
WAC 220-500-140Firearms and target practicing.
(((1)(a) It is unlawful to discharge tracer or incendiary ammunition on department lands.
(b) It is unlawful to discharge firearms in those portions of department lands where or when such discharge is prohibited by department posted notice or from or within five hundred feet of a department designated campground. Violating this subsection is a gross misdemeanor if the violation creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person, pursuant to RCW 9A.36.050.
(c) It is unlawful to fail to remove expended shell casings, ammunition packaging, or other related target debris, excluding clay pigeons, when target practicing on department lands at the conclusion of the target practice session and prior to departure from the area. Failure to remove debris constitutes littering.
(d) The use of glass, signs, appliances, mattresses, TVs, furniture, and exploding items as targets in target practicing is prohibited.
(2) The department may designate locations and times for target practicing consistent with resource management or public safety concerns.))(1) The department may designate or restrict locations, times, and manner for recreational target shooting upon department land, consistent with resource management concerns, management agreements or requirements, recreational use compatibility, or public safety concerns.
(2) Persons must not recreationally target shoot on department land except as provided by this section.
(3) Department land is open to recreational target shooting under the conditions set forth in this section, unless closed or otherwise restricted by this section or by any department-posted signage or notice.
(a) Notwithstanding the allowances by this section, recreational target shooting is only permitted where a reasonable person, in consideration of all attendant circumstances, would believe the area between the person and the target, and the area beyond the target, is free of risk to person, animals, or property.
(b) Unless otherwise posted, recreational target shooting is only allowed one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
(c) Recreational target shooting using:
• Firearms firing single projectile ammunition of .17 caliber or greater or shot equal to or greater than BB; or
• Compressed gas or air guns capable of shooting any projectile at over eight hundred feet per second, is permitted only:
(i) On department-designated recreational target shooting areas and in compliance with posted regulations; or
(ii) In other areas containing an earthen backstop, as defined (reference to definitions), which must be utilized while target shooting. A backstop is not required while using shotguns discharging shot smaller than size BB. Targets must be placed in front of and within eight feet of the backstop, and the person must be shooting at the lower half of the backstop.
(d) Recreational target shooting using:
• Archery equipment, crossbows, air bows; or
• Shotguns discharging shot smaller than size BB, is permitted:
(i) On department-designated recreational target shooting areas and in compliance with posted regulations; or
(ii) In other areas consistent with (a) of this subsection.
(e) Recreational target shooting is specifically prohibited:
(i) On, from, at, along, across, or down:
(A) Any department-designated or department-developed water access site or boat launch, and associated parking area;
(B) Any road;
(C) Any utility line, utility poles, or light posts;
(D) Any department-designated trail;
(E) Any water body or stream.
(ii) Within five hundred feet of the following (when not utilizing a department-designated recreational target shooting area):
(A) Residences, businesses, and/or other buildings or structures, including port-a-potties, etc.;
(B) Power stations, cell phone towers, utility poles, light posts, wind turbines, or other public utility structures;
(C) Campgrounds;
(D) Viewing platforms or structures;
(iii) In other areas posted by the department as restricted from shooting.
(4) Authorized targets for use on department lands are restricted to items, other than exploding targets, that are commercially manufactured for the specific purpose of target shooting, or similar targets privately manufactured that are consistent with this section, and as further restricted below.
(a) Steel targets that are manufactured for the specific purpose of target shooting are allowed subject to the following restrictions:
(i) When used on a department-designated recreational target shooting area, steel targets that are manufactured for the specific purpose of target shooting are allowed year round.
(ii) When used outside a department-designated recreational target shooting area, steel targets that are manufactured for the specific purpose of target shooting are allowed from October 1 to May 31, unless otherwise posted.
(b) Clay targets, when used, must be biodegradable clay targets.
(c) Items prohibited to be used as targets or to hold or post targets include, but are not limited to:
(i) Buildings;
(ii) Power stations, cell phone towers, utility poles, light posts, wind turbines, or other public utility structures;
(iii) Gates, fence posts or rails;
(iv) Vehicles, or parts thereof;
(v) Machinery, or parts thereof;
(vi) Signs, kiosks, or informational panels of any kind;
(vii) Appliances or electronics;
(viii) Furniture;
(ix) Pallets;
(x) Glass;
(xi) Explosive and incendiary items, including binary exploding targets (i.e., Tannerite);
(xii) Containers of liquids, chemicals, paints, or compressed gas;
(xiii) Standing or moving water;
(xiv) Live or dead trees or other vegetation;
(xv) Animals or animal carcasses.
(5) The discharge of tracer bullets or shells, incendiary ammunition, or steel core bullets, is specifically prohibited on all department lands.
(6) At all times, it is unlawful for a person to discharge a firearm, crossbow, bow, or any other projectile shooting implement on department lands in a reckless or negligent manner. A violation of this subsection may be punishable under RCW 77.15.230, 77.15.460, 9A.36.050, 9A.36.031, 9A.36.021, 9A.32.070, 9A.32.060, or other relevant statute depending on the circumstances of the violation.
(7) It is unlawful for persons recreationally target shooting to fail to remove and transport from department lands for proper disposal all shell casings, shotgun hulls, ammunition packaging, and targets or target debris. Failure to remove any such item is prohibited and constitutes littering.
Persons who recreationally target shoot are responsible for knowing other state, local, or federal laws that may govern their shooting activity, and compliance with this rule does not guarantee compliance with other applicable laws.