By Lars Dalseide | July 23 2014 15:29

From the Arizona Game and Fish Department - Event raises funds to ‘Save Recreational Shooting in Arizona

Arizona Fish & Game DepartmentPhoenix, Arizona – The future of recreational shooting in Arizona looks a little brighter after a successful fundraising event at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix on Saturday, April 12. The Arizona Game and Fish Department teamed up with TreadLightly! to sponsor the combination fun shoot and dinner party attended by nearly 200 people.

Recreational shooting in Arizona came under increased scrutiny when the Sonoran Desert National Monument, one of the last parcels of public land open to recreational shooting within a 30 mile radius of Phoenix, was ready to ban recreational target shooting. As an alternative to closure, Game and Fish, TreadLightly!, the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service were asked to develop a model public/private partnership to keep Arizona’s public lands open to recreational shooting. This partnership is considered a pilot project that can, when proven successful, be replicated across the nation.

Sponsors for the event included FNH, Layke Tactical, Patriot Ordnance Factory, Johnson Ranch, Alpha Arms, J+G Sales LTD, Davidson’s, Firearms and Shooting Trade Alliance, Bass Pro Shops, Carl Zeiss Optics LLC, Arizona Rentals, Arizona State Credit Union, McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Inc., ROBAR, Wildlife for Tomorrow, Discount Tire and Iron City Polaris. The event raised $20,000 to be used to build awareness and protect access for recreational shooting through TreadLightly!’s long-term “Respected Access is Open Access” campaign. AZGFD Shooting Sports Branch Chief Jay Cook was pleased to see Arizonans respond positively and counter the threats to recreational shooting on public and private lands.

“We must do everything we can to keep recreational shooting alive in Arizona,” said Cook. “Our plan is to educate and engage shooters, foster a culture of good stewardship among all shooters, and build a network of volunteer site-stewards. We cannot let a small minority of irresponsible shooters threaten the future of our sport. Together, with partners like Treadlightly!, we’re building strong support among shooters and the shooting sports industries.”

Lori McCullough, executive director of TreadLightly!, echoed the need for responsible shooters to “step up” and protect their sport. “There is a danger that this time-honored tradition could come to an end in our lifetimes. This is not an exaggeration,” said McCullough. “The concern is real and the entire shooting sports community needs to get on board to protect the future of shooting sports in America.”

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