Annual shooting restrictions on Pole Mountain will take effect on Tuesday, March 31.

These restrictions, which are authorized by Forest Service special order, prohibit the discharge of firearms within the Pole Mountain unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest from March 31 through September 10.

Hunters who possess a valid Wyoming hunting license and are in pursuit of the species for which their license is valid are exempted.  This includes spring turkey hunters.

Discharging a firearm during the restricted period is prohibited to provide for public safety.  The Pole Mountain unit is one of the most highly used recreation areas on the National Forest.

“It’s such a highly popular area,” says U.S. Forest spokesman Aaron Voos. “There’s so many people that use the Pole Mountain area that it’s just not safe to have people up there on one side of a hill hiking, or riding bikes, or riding horses, or camping—and then on the other side of a hill having somebody shooting some sort of a firearm.”

This is an annual renewal of a special order which has been in effect since the late 1990’s. There will be an increase in Forest Service Law Enforcement presence as the prohibition takes effect.

While shooting restrictions are in place on Pole Mountain, other areas of the National Forest are still available for shooting.

“What we ask people to do is just practice safe shooting, but they can certainly shoot on other portions of the National Forest. That’s one really unique thing about the public ownership of those National Forest System Lands is that they can go out and shoot,” says Voos.

Additionally, Forest users are reminded that due to wet conditions and illegal off-road travel, roads on the north side of Wyoming Highway 210, also called Happy Jack Highway, have been temporarily closed on the Pole Mountain unit. Roads will reopen as soon as conditions allow.