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View Full Version : Moving to Montana- Suppressed shooting restricted to ranges? Park/public land?



Aries144
10-26-11, 23:11
My wife and I are talking about moving to Bozeman so she can attend MSU. I'm curious about the attitude of locals and local and state law enforcement to target shooting, evil black rifles, suppressors, etc.

I'm particularly trying to figure out where I can go to shoot. I'd really prefer being able to go out into a wilderness area or state park and shoot versus shooting at a range. I've had a dream for a while about moving somewhere out west and being able to pack up a small rifle and pack, go for a hike out into the boonies, maybe stop and camp, shoot into a hillside at some cans for a while, maybe do some fishing, etc. Having never been to MT is this at all realistic?

I'm also specifically curious about being able to target shoot on public land with a suppressed rifle. I'm a little concerned about the possibility for it to be construed by law enforcement as intent to poach though. Suppressors can carry a strong association with poaching or 'assassins' in some people's minds. I've read that hunting with a suppressor is verboten and that having a suppressor while "afield" may actually be the way the law is worded, meaning that you can only shoot suppressed on private property. Anyone know anything specific about this?

Thanks for your time guys.

P.S. Why the hell does Bozeman's official city website have a carbon footprint calculator on it?! What kind of city is Bozeman? Is this reflective of the general populace there or perhaps just the city officials?

Javelin
10-26-11, 23:18
You can shoot suppressed at ranges (fairly common that I have seen as well). I am not sure about hunting w/ a suppressor though.

Aries144
10-26-11, 23:44
To clarify, I'm not talking about hunting with a suppressor, which seems to be clearly against the law, I'm talking about being able to target shoot while on public land (out in the boonies) with a suppressor.

montanadave
10-27-11, 15:47
P.S. Why the hell does Bozeman's official city website have a carbon footprint calculator on it?! What kind of city is Bozeman? Is this reflective of the general populace there or perhaps just the city officials?

Bozeman has seen significant growth in the past twenty years, with a lot of folks moving to the area from out-of-state because of the location, outdoor recreation, general quality of life, etc. It's a nice town. I lived there in the late seventies, again for a few years in the mid-to-late eighties, and another brief stint in the late nineties. Always enjoyed it but, again, there has been some significant growth and it's undergone some changes.

A little history. Bozeman has MSU, which was originally the state land-grant agricultural and technical college. MSU has a large plant and animal science department, a very well-regard college of engineering, the college of nursing, etc. Missoula had the U of M, with forestry, journalism, the law school, etc. The ropers went to MSU and the dopers went to U of M. Bozeman was a little college town in the largely agricultural Gallatin Vally and Missoula was timber town with a lot of logging and sawmills.

Sometime in eighties, all the hippies that had been living in Missoula (where you can go for weeks in the winter without seeing the sun) realized that Bozeman had a vastly superior climate with lots of bright sunshine all winter long. So Bozeman's main street started seeing little coffee houses like the Leaf and Bean popping up next to the Rockin' R Bar and the Eagles Club. Additionally, there were more than a few folks who traveled for their work (airline pilots, people in sales, etc.) who discovered Bozeman, could commute with commercial airlines flying into Gallatin Field, and decided to plant their families in Bozeman. Word started to spread and more out-of-staters followed.

That's not to say Bozeman went west coast. It just became much more cosmopolitan, if you can even use a word like that for a town in Montana. There's a little something for everybody in Bozeman and it has now developed a large enough economic base that it's continued growth and vitality are pretty well assured. A fair number of tech and biotech companies have located in Bozeman, bringing a lot of high-paying jobs. RightNow Technologies, founded in Bozeman in 1997, just announced it was being purchased by Oracle this week for $1.5 billion.

And, from what I hear, Bozeman has had some growing pains. There are plenty of folks that were content with Bozeman remaining the sleepy little college town it had been for years, others who embraced the growth, and transplants who wanted to get involved in local affairs and shake things up a bit.

Hunting and fishing are HUGE in Montana and recreational/target shooting is a popular pastime. Guns are part of the Montana landscape regardless of what area of the state you are in. "Black rifles" sell like hotcakes around here and are a pretty common site at ranges and public shooting areas. Most towns of any size will have a private range or two, with pistol, rifle, skeet and trap facilities, and there is generally a chunk or two of BLM land nearby which is frequented by locals for target shooting. Just ask somebody at one of the local sporting goods stores and they'll get you squared away.

As for just hiking down the trail in one of the local national forests and blazing away, that might prove slightly more problematic. The areas around Bozeman see a lot of hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, x-country and backcountry skiing, etc. You'd do well to stop at the local ranger's station and gauge their reaction.

I don't know where you're from, but if you and your wife move to Bozeman, I'll bet you'll like it.

Aries144
10-27-11, 21:04
Montanadave,

Thank you very much for the detailed reply.

A year spent around Boulder, CO being the only thing to compare it with, I think I'm getting a picture of what you mean about blazing away just off a trail- that wasn't really my intent though. I'd just really like to go someplace where I can incorporate a little shooting into a planned one or two day vacation without someone looking over my shoulder or having to share a location with other shooters who may exhibit questionable safety habits. I also really dislike the restrictions that come with many public ranges.

Short of owning my own land (something that seems far into the future sometimes), finding a safe location to shoot, like into a hill or mountainside, in an unpopulated wilderness area was my best guess as a place that would satisfy my desire.

Thanks again.

diving dave
10-27-11, 21:36
Ahhh Montana..My wife and I bought 30 acres near Whitehall, and will be moving there as soon as I retire and get the hell out of commie-fornia. I went to a gun show in Helena and was quite nice to see suppressors and other class 3 goodies on display. It's a free state.

Javelin
10-27-11, 21:38
Montanadave,

Thank you very much for the detailed reply.

A year spent around Boulder, CO being the only thing to compare it with, I think I'm getting a picture of what you mean about blazing away just off a trail- that wasn't really my intent though. I'd just really like to go someplace where I can incorporate a little shooting into a planned one or two day vacation without someone looking over my shoulder or having to share a location with other shooters who may exhibit questionable safety habits. I also really dislike the restrictions that come with many public ranges.

Short of owning my own land (something that seems far into the future sometimes), finding a safe location to shoot, like into a hill or mountainside, in an unpopulated wilderness area was my best guess as a place that would satisfy my desire.

Thanks again.

The biggest concern won't be over your suppressor... the issue will be possible poaching concerns. Montana Fish & Game are good folks. I know - I grew up there. If you have a suppressor and you're out on BLM land (not State Park land) you should be OK.

NWPilgrim
10-28-11, 00:00
I have not gone shooting in Montana, but I have shot on US Forest and BLM, and State Forest land in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. No big deal. Main thing is to find a gravel pit or hillside that does not endanger vehicle or foot traffic (easy). Both agencies have gravel pits all over the back roads for the original construction and maintaining the roads, and only a few are actively used for gravel mining at any one time. I have talked with Game Wardens at such sites and they are not trying to bend the regs to portray you as hunting illegally. It is obvious you are target shooting with or without a suppressor. Take a few targets with you to post while you are shooting.

Now if you are wandering off trail, that is bushwhacking, during hunting season with a rifle then that may not be so clear cut. But hunting season is usually in cooler/colder weather when you are less likely to be out just for hiking and shooting. If you are hiking and shooting in the late spring and summer then I doubt there would be much confusion as to your intent. I would ask the local ranger station about it and what areas they would recommend you go for such activity and what time of year. They are helpful, especially the ranger stations in the wilderness areas you plan to go and not the HQ in the major cities.

Aries144
10-28-11, 04:38
Thanks Pilgram, that was especially helpful.

Guys, thank you all for your help.

Feel free to add anything else you think would be helpful. We're talking about looking for places to rent in the area as well. Any areas I should know to avoid?

TacMedic556
10-31-11, 21:38
I am in Montana and involved in Law Enforcement. You can shoot on public lands such as Forest Service and many state lands as well as far as I know. We here in Montana love black rifles, I know I do. A gun of any color is only as bad as the individual using it.

Bozeman has swung a little more left being a University town. I wouldn't worry too much about shooting though. Look at Park County Shooting range just North of Livingston (town east of Bozeman). Good shooting range there. Welcome the the Last Best Place.

Aries144
11-01-11, 14:34
Thanks Tac, I appreciate the information and the welcome. :)

All we have to do now is get though the rest of my wife's deployment, finish up the last months of her time in service, and it looks like we'll be packing up and heading out that way.

Thanks again for all the information guys.

DCsampson
11-01-11, 16:58
Andrew B,

As tacmedic556 said, the Park Co. Rod & Gun Club is a nice place to shoot but run by fudds unfortunately. There is also some BLM land nearby that is used quite a bit.

I am the new match director for MTDPA (our local version of IDPA) and we shoot our matches east of Bozeman near the town of Logan at the Montana Wildlife Federation range. We are planning to have more black rifle shoots next season.

Montana is awesome if you can find a way to make a living here!

Google MTDPA or PM me if you'd like more info.

DC

R1J1D
09-14-12, 15:40
Aries you ever move to Bozeman?

Aries144
03-10-14, 15:34
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