The new San Bernardino County shooting map has finally made it through all the approval steps and is now available on-line and printed versions will be available very soon — perhaps even before the quail and chukar opener Oct. 16.
The map is a detailed, color-coded version that replaces the old map that hadnâ€™t been updated, by my best estimate, for over 20 years. It incorporates all of the county ordinances that affect where and how firearms may be used in San Bernardino County, and it will make it easier for recreational shooters and hunters to know where they can practice their sports legally.
The new map does not show property ownership, so hunters and shooters will still need to have copies of U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management maps that show land ownership to make sure they are not trespassing. The new map also does not include the city ordinances that regulate discharge of firearms under their jurisdiction, but it does show these areas so hunters can check with local municipalities to find out their laws. The new county shooting map, used in conjunction with the USFS or BLM maps, will make the task of finding legal access easier for sportsmen and law enforcement officers.
Looking at the on-line map and comparing it to the old version, there are not a lot of significant changes, other than the obvious ones: Areas that are now housing tracts or low-density housing are closed to firearms discharge. There are also more rural areas that are closed to the discharge of rifles and pistols because of dispersed housing in these areas where an errant shot or ricochet might reach an unseen home. But these areas are still open to shotgun shooting/hunting. The map also delineates the areas still open for night hunting in desert areas, a boon for varmint callers.
If you have high-speed internet access, the on-line version works very well, but with slower download speeds, and for most hand-held phones and devices, the file size seems to bog down or lock up access. The county is working on making the map more accessible to users with these devices. Here is the direct link for the new map:
Printed maps should be available soon. The Fish and Game Commission authorized the expenditure of money to get maps printed as soon as possible and John Bradford, assistant regional manager of Special Districts, said that process was moving rapidly. These maps will sell for $2 from the county, and there are likely to be printed versions available through retail outlets such as Bass Pro Shops and Turnerâ€™s Outdoorsman soon after they are available from the county.
Hunters and shooters should also keep an eye on the County Fish and Game Commission web site at http://www.specialdistricts.org/2/FishandGame/ to find out when printed maps will be available, and when there are additional on-line maps more compatable with slower Internet connections and hand-held devices.