F&G increases patrols at Cartier Slough to address littering and safety concerns

Over the last few years, Cartier Slough Wildlife Management Area (WMA) next to the popular Beaver Dick Park off of Highway 33 has experienced an increase in visitor use by locals and college students as they enjoy the hunting and hiking opportunities it offers. Unfortunately the WMA has also experienced an increase in target shooting from unsafe locations, leading to several close calls being reported by visitors.

Dirt pullouts filled with empty shell casings can be found along Cartier Slough’s perimeter where target shooters frequent. “These areas may seem like good spots to sight in a rifle or shoot clay pigeons, but in actuality, they are incredibly dangerous,” explains Conservation Officer Spencer Wesche. “None of the popular shooting locations have adequate backdrops for safe firearm discharges, meaning unsuspecting hikers within Cartier Slough could be injured or killed by stray bullets.” Over the last year officer Wesche has responded to several complaints from hikers who were almost struck by bullets coming from target shooters in unsafe locations.

Idaho Fish and Game takes these complaints very seriously and wants to prevent injury to people recreating on the WMA, and to keep the area clean from debris. Target shooters are reminded to select locations with an appropriate backstop and should take advantage of the Unified Sportsman’s Club shooting range on Highway 33 (just down the road from Cartier Slough) or the ample Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas that are safer and better suited for shooting. In all cases, users should always pick up after themselves.

During a recent clean-up day hosted the Idaho Fish and Game, volunteers collected 5,400 pounds of litter, including shot-up couches, TVs, refrigerators, and freezers, from the target shooting spots at Cartier Slough. This litter is unsightly and can damage important sagebrush habitat.

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Creative Commons Licence
Spencer Wesche Idaho Fish and Game
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Creative Commons Licence
Spencer Wesche Idaho Fish and Game

Because of the target shooting safety concerns and the littering issues, Conservation Officers are implementing an action plan specifically for Cartier Slough WMA. Users can expect increased officer presence at the WMA over the summer to address safety concerns. Littering will also be addressed, so any person leaving bullet casings, shotgun shells, or other target shooting litter is liable to receive littering citations and fines from Fish and Game or city/county officers and deputies.