Forest Service/BLM Ban Exploding Targets In Northwest

By Tom Banse

Federal land managers have banned the use of exploding targets on public lands in the Northwest. The concern is wildfires. A leading manufacturer of the popular target shooting accessory is quite unhappy.

Fire investigators suspect exploding targets sparked at least half a dozen wildfires in Washington and Idaho over the past year. The chemical explosives give target shooters instant feedback that they've hit their mark from long range.

The Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. Forest Service is the latest public agency to ban exploding targets. A sister agency, the Bureau of Land Management, has previously banned the exploding jars and discs for the duration of fire season or indefinitely, depending on the state.

The founder of Tannerite Sports based near Eugene claims he invented the consumer grade exploding target. In an email, company president Dan Tanner wrote that he can understand restricting "certain incendiary targets during fire season," but he called the year-round bans "over the top ridiculous." Tanner asserts his product "will not start a fire" when mixed and used correctly. He blames wildfires on "knock off" products using inferior ingredients. Nonetheless, the Tannerite website urges shooters to respect federal land regulations. 

The Washington Department of Natural Resources and Idaho Department of Lands say exploding targets are illegal on state lands too. This May, the Oregon Legislature unanimously passed a ban on tracer ammunition and exploding targets on ODF protected lands during fire season. This ban takes effect next year.


Fire Prevention Order (Idaho BLM):

Video by exploding target manufacturer Tannerite to demonstrate that its targets "will NOT start fires."

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