BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho National Guard set up a station to inform the public on safe shooting practices on the Orchard Combat Training Center south of Boise.
This 143,000-acre area is home to military training, but it is also a popular place for gun owners to practice their shooting.
"We see the public out here shooting on a regular basis, we want them to come out here and enjoy this area," said Major Steve Maughan of the Idaho National Guard. "But what we see is a lot of unsafe shooting, and we will see people shooting at each other or shooting in the general direction of our troops."
There are 22 ranges on the OCTC the guard uses for training, and this is their way of creating awareness to prevent a tragedy.
"It is something we want to educate the public on and let them know we don't want an accident to happen out here where somebody gets hurt," said Maughan. "If you have been out here training, you have heard ricochet rounds going over your head."
A 22 caliber round can travel up to 1400 meters, and a 556 bullet fired by an AR-15 can go 3500 meters, so people need to have a safe backdrop when they shoot.
The OCTC continues to grow in popularity, and that also means more illegal dumping, which is another message the Idaho National Guard wants to share.
"Pack it in, pack it out, and please don't shoot our signs," said Maughan. "We spend a lot of money putting up signs to educate the public, and those signs get shot up all the time."
For more information on the partnership between the Bureau of Land Management who manages the OCTC inside the Morely Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area and the Idaho National Guard, click here.
Last summer, we did a three-part series to discover how this partnership manages conservation with military training.