May 30th, 2009 08:51 PM
Shooting On Personal Property
I just signed a purchase argeement to buy a 130 acre parcel of heavily treed land in Texas (about 40 miles from Houston) and I plan to hunt on it a little and build a range with a berm. We have just a handful of neighbors on adjoining property but our property is so large and heavily forested that I don't envision any possible safety issues. Plus, of course, I will be extremely careful about how and where I shoot.
But my question is this. Since the property is designated "unrestricted use," I'm wondering what would happen if one of my neighbors complained about the sound of gunfire. Does anyone know if Texas law would prohibit me from shooting on my own "unrestricted use" land if neighbors complained? To my way of thinking, that would be like someone complaining if a dog barked on country property.
Anyway, I'd appreciate any opinions on this because I can still back out of the deal. I realize I could run around and ask the neighbors if they mind, but when neighbors move out and new ones move in, the situation could change... so I'd rather rely on the law.
May 30th, 2009 09:03 PM
Only way you will know for sure is to check with state and what ever local lawmaking bodies you have there.
What is acceptable here may not be allowed there.
I'll add that I shoot on my property, mostly only rim fire during the middle of the day and if I'll be doing any heavy stuff, more than a few rounds, I'll go to the range at the club. Yes, I try very hard to be a good neighbor. Our club even has neighbors so we restrict our shooting hours there, again, being good neighbors.
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May 30th, 2009 09:05 PM
I have 60 acres in Kentucky that I shoot on. Neighbors all around me, so I just try to be polite about it. Don't shoot to early or late in the day, unless your hunting.
If I have some friends over for some serious shooting, I let my neighbor across the street what's going on, he never seems to mind.
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May 30th, 2009 09:07 PM
I grew up hunting/shooting on private property and even now hardly go to a range.
My first advice is BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR:
Don't shoot early on weekend mornings when your neighbors may be sleeping in. Same thing for Sunday morning if a church is nearby.
If your property is near someone else's property that they use for hunting, they'll not like your practice gunfire effecting their still hunting, you might want to curtail your practice somewhat.
Introduce yourself to your nearby neighbors and tell them what you are doing and that you are safe and responsible. That way when they hear the gunfire they won't be wondering who in the heck is "starting a war" in the woods.
Granted you probably don't have to do any of the above, but if you want less problems it might be worth considering. BTW there might be a law regarding to shooting within X number of feet from a someone's dwelling regardless of whether you are on your on property or not.
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May 30th, 2009 09:16 PM
If its legal to do so, there shouldnt be an issue.
I respond to "shots fired"calls quite often.
We'll check it out, make sure that no one or nothing is endangered and then leave.Then well go to whoever called and explain the situation. The only ones that have ever had a problem were transplants that were unfamiliar with the laws.
I could tell of some interesting stories by people that have never heard gunfire during squirrel season or when the ducks were coming in abundantly or when they found out that their neighbor had their own personal range set up.
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May 30th, 2009 09:17 PM
Well, this won't help much but here in Nc it's oK to shoot on personal property as long as its safe to do so, and not in city limits. I've had people in the area call the sheriff complaining of gunfire, the sheriff go looking for it, find us shooting and say: well you're on private property and shooting in a safe manner, have fun. One time two deputies that came almost joined in and fired a few with us, but didn't.
May 30th, 2009 10:44 PM
The only way you'll know is to check your local zoning.
Here in KS it's legal in my county and I built a range on my 80 acre place. I'm also very considerate of my neighbors and haven't had any complaints.
But there are still potential issues in that anything that can be considered "commercial" or "club use" require a "special use permit" issued by the county. One of the steps is an "environmental survey" where the survey your neighbors and look at environmental impacts.
A gentlemen about a mile from my place was conducting CCW training at his place without a special use permit and he was issued a cease and desist for shooting on his property.
Just to be safe, I'd see what your local zoning board has to say.
May 30th, 2009 11:32 PM
If you have enough property, you may want to 'make a shooting area' with a bulldozer, build some berms to both make it safe and contain noise. OMO
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May 31st, 2009 01:11 AM
Where i Live my neighbors and I have little contests as who can make the most noise. The swat officer 4 doors down usually wins as the rest of us do not have any selective fire weapons. I remember a few years back a new family from Cleveland moved in across the street and the first Saturday they were in the house they all huddled in the basement and called the cops the sheriff had to go to 7 houses in the area to investigate because we were all shooting. Most of us have now made friends with the new guy and he has become a custom to hearing shots. We get a good laugh from his story though at back yard BBQs.
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May 31st, 2009 09:19 AM
Thank you all for your great advice. From the sound of most people who posted, I'll probably be okay. To be safe - as in a belt and suspenders kind of way - I'll probably check with the local authorities, but I have to believe there aren't any laws prohibiting people from shooting on their own property as long as it's outside the city limits and is big enough. Agan, thank you for your comments. Some of you guys have had some pretty funny experiences...
May 31st, 2009 11:21 AM
First, congrats on being able to find unrestricted land anywhere. I just attempted to purchase 8 acres 40 miles from Austin, and it had so many restrictions I backed out.
I think you need to check out what you are permitted to do, because your county commissioners might have a rule on such a thing.
I have heard (don't know if it is true) that here one must be on 10 acres before it is lawful to shoot.
In any case, first and most important after safety is to be a good neighbor.
May 31st, 2009 12:53 PM
Where I myself shoot it's private proprty & no house except the owners & road county or city within 1 1/2 miles it's PERFECT
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May 31st, 2009 03:29 PM
shooting on personal property
ppkheat has some good suggestions. Checking into state laws about distance you need to be from dwellings is a good idea. Also you might want to check on any local ordinances or zoning.
I live in rural southern Illinois (south of Interstate 64) and it might surprise people that there is no zoning in this county nor most others down here. I didn't need to get a building permit when I built my house. I have my own "range" as do neighbors on both sides of me.
Being considerate of your neighbors goes a long way.
I'm surprised what Hopyard said about needing 10 acres in Texas. Here in Illinois its either 200 or 250 feet that you must be from a dwelling to shoot.
Last edited by junglebob; May 31st, 2009 at 03:36 PM.
Reason: additional information
May 31st, 2009 03:50 PM
I wish I could afford to have a large enough property to shoot on, would love it. Still, hasn't kept e from shooting the few copperheads I've found on my 3/4 acre lot, one, a 24" in my garage after a bad storm. congrats on the property!!!
May 31st, 2009 05:00 PM
Here in Alvin, TX it is okay if you are out of city limits. You should check local ordnance for your area. I found this in Texas laws
Cities are also now specifically prohibited from regulating shooting on certain defined lands: 1 - if the gun is a shotgun, air gun, BB gun or bow and arrow, on 10 acres or more and not within 150 feet of a residence or occupied building on another property, if it is fired in a way that is unlikely to cross a property line, or 2 - for a centerfire or rim fire pistol or rifle of any caliber on 50 acres, not within 300 feet of a residence or occupied building on another property, and in a way not likely to cross a property line. The defined lands include those within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city, or areas annexed after Sep. 1, 1981
"Does this mean that you may not use a rifle or pistol (and I assume they meant to include revolver) on less than 50 acres?
Is that how you read this? Was that the intent?"
I'm not sure about this. The best thing to do is check with local law enforcement or county clerks office. If you plan on shooting on your property you must be sure of your backstop, you are liable for any damage that a bullet does if it leaves your property.
Last edited by gumaro; June 1st, 2009 at 12:13 AM.
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