Q: We just moved to Boise for our retirement home. I used to hunt and shoot rifles, shotguns and pistols 30 years ago, then a family job career got in the way, along with 10 years in California! I’d like to start shooting again, not so much at a club, but in the outdoors. Do you know where I can start? We’re talking a .22 to start.
MIKE TRAFTON, via email
A: Short answer is you can shoot a .22 nearly any place on public lands where it’s not specifically marked closed to shooting and it’s safe. But let’s back up from there.
Don’t sell outdoor shooting ranges short. There are many of them in the Treasure Valley, and they cater to different styles of shooting. They are reasonably priced (or free), and you don’t have drive around searching for a safe, legal place to shoot.
I shoot at gun ranges and on public lands, but I spend more time at gun ranges these days for the convenience and amenities they offer, such as target boards, shooting benches, etc.
Each range works a little different. My friends and I usually shoot at the Emmett range, which is is run by the Gem County Rod and Gun Club. For $25 annual dues, you get a combination to the gate, and you shoot any time there’s not a competition happening.
The George W. Nourse shooting range is south of Nampa and operated by Canyon County Parks and Waterways. It has nine shooting lanes of varying distances, all with bench rests. It’s free to shoot there. For directions, go to canyonco.org and click on “Parks and Rec”, then “Jubilee Park.”
Blacks Creek Rifle Range is within minutes of Boise (especially if you’re close to the freeway). It’s open Friday through Monday, 10 a.m to 4 p.m. It costs $10 a day to shoot there. You can get a map and details at blackscreekrange.com.
That’s a partial list of shooting ranges. There’s a website, wheretoshoot.org, where you can enter your zip code and it will list all the shooting ranges in your area.
I know you said outside of gun clubs, but I think organized shooting ranges are the best option.
Another popular place to shoot on public land is south of Boise by taking Gowen Road then Pleasant Valley Road to the south. It’s marked for legal shooting after you cross under the power lines a couple of miles south of the train tracks. Lots of people shoot out there, but not all of them are responsible, so there’s lots of trash left by slobs. It’s frustrating, embarrassing and maddening that some people are such poor representatives of the sport.