YAKIMA — Annual summer target shooting rules go into effect next week on the Wenas Wildlife Area, which is managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfire.
Starting May 15 through Sept. 30, target shooting, including at the Sheep Company Road shooting range, can only occur between sunrise and 10 a.m., when the risk of starting a wildfire is reduced. Further, on June 1, steel targets will not be allowed through the end of September. Exploding targets, tracer, or incendiary ammunition are never allowed on WDFW-managed lands.
In response to previous wildfires and persistently dry conditions, WDFW has restricted target shooting on the Wenas every summer since 2012. Seasonal restrictions improve safety for adjacent landowners and protect wildlife habitat by reducing fire risk. Public notice of the limited hours will be posted at all public entry points of the Wenas and at target shooting sites on the wildlife area.
The Wenas covers more than 105,000 acres between Ellensburg and Yakima. It provides a variety of recreation opportunities, including big game hunting, hiking, and birding. Much of the wildlife area is shrubsteppe, a type of habitat that has been reduced to 20% of its original range in Washington and has been significantly impacted by wildfires in recent years.
State land managers ask that visitors to any wildlife area check local fire danger information and take precautions to avoid igniting a wildfire.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.