January 19, 2017

Arizona: BLM Accepting Comments on Sonoran Desert Recreational Shooting Plan

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Phoenix District Office has announced details on three public information meetings at which the agency is seeking public input on recreational target shooting management alternatives for the Sonoran Desert National Monument (SDNM).

The BLM released the Draft Target Shooting Plan for the SDNM in mid-December of 2016, and will be accepting formal comments until March 15, 2017.

The monument, which has historically been a popular recreational shooting destination for sportsmen and women in Arizona, was partially closed to recreational shooting through a 2015 court order. Currently, the nearly 500,000-acre SDNM is open to target shooting, with the exception of 10,599 acres temporarily closed following the 2015 lawsuit, which was filed against an earlier BLM plan that would have kept the entire SDNM open to shooting.

In response to the BLM’s move to restrict recreational shooting, the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC) submitted comments in 2016 encouraging the BLM to restore recreational shooting on the Monument as part of the SDNM Resource Management Plan scoping process. The Arizona State Senate also expressed their concern with the recreational shooting restrictions via Senate Memorial 1018 in 2016.

Sportsmen and women who are interested in learning more or providing feedback to the BLM can do so online, or at the following locations:

January 19, from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the BLM National Training Center located at 9828 N 31st Ave., in Phoenix, AZ
January 20, from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Arizona Game and Fish Department located at 5000 W Carefree Hwy, in Phoenix, AZ
January 21, from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm at the City of Casa Grande Dorothy Powell Senior Center located at 405 E 6th St., in Casa Grande, AZ.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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