Minnesota DNR to test rifle training in state parks
The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials are considering holding firearms safety training in state parks — normally off-limits to hunting and target shooting.
To test the idea, they will let students in August and September shoot .22-caliber rifles in classes at the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area near Carver and the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area near Forest Lake, according to the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/KD3W0K).
It’s to accommodate a growing demand for classes. In the three years the course has been offered online, enrollment has grown from 2,000 to a predicted 6,000 to 8,000 this year.
Officials stress that any shooting will take place under strict supervision in closed-off areas. The average park user “shouldn’t even know we are there,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, education program coordinator for the DNR’s division of enforcement.
If the trials go well, the training may be offered at Fort Snelling State Park, William O’Brien State Park near Stillwater and other large state parks.
Wildlife management areas are open for hunting, while state parks normally are not. But special game hunts, usually to thin deer herds, are permitted in state parks.
People born after Dec. 31, 1979, who want to be licensed to hunt have to complete a hunter education course and fieldwork that includes shooting 15 rifle rounds under the watchful eyes of experts.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.