Conflicts between mountain bikers and other users of the outdoors are nothing new, but when three riders took incoming gunfire from someone target-shooting in a Washington forest, the situation could have resulted in someone’s death.
Scott Baldwin and two friends were riding in the Capitol State Forest near Olympia on a foggy day on a single-track trail when bullets suddenly started whizzing over the head.
The scene was captured on video through a head cam and soon after posted to Youtube. The footage has sparked outrage among the mountain biking community and a call for increased regulation for target shooting.
Unable to exactly determine where the gunfire was coming from, the riders took cover and shouted to stop shooting. “Stop fucking shooting,” were their exact words.
When things finally quieted down they were able to make contact with the shooter who appeared to be firing along a road under foggy conditions and without a backstop.
That’s a big no-no and one that has increasingly endangered recreational mountain bikers and hikers. From January 2011 to May 2016, state records show more than 300 reports of unsafe, noisy, destructive or illegal target-shooting, according to the News Tribune.
When the mountain bikers in this case confronted the shooter, he apologized and said he was done. Badwin said he regrets not getting him on camera and chewing him out more.
“Please learn a lesson from this if you shoot for fun in the forest,” Baldwin told Dirt magazine. “I have nothing against guns or target shooting, but this person was breaking multiple rules of recreational shooting and common sense!”