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A pile of trash is collected from a recent cleanup operation at Cartier Slough Wildlife Management Area. Officers plan to patrol the area more frequently.

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The Cartier Slough Wildlife Management Area next to the popular Beaver Dick Park west of Rexburg will get extra checkups from conservation officers after complaints of unsafe target practicing and littering.

Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers said the area has “experienced an increase in visitor use by locals and college students” who want to hike and hunt.

“Unfortunately, the (wildlife management area) has also experienced an increase in target shooting from unsafe locations, leading to several close calls being reported by visitors,” said conservation officer Spencer Wesche in a news release. Besides unsafe target shooting, the area has also suffered from littering.

During a recent clean-up day hosted by Fish and Game, volunteers collected 5,400 pounds of litter, including shot-up couches, TVs, refrigerators, and freezers, from the target shooting spots at Cartier Slough, Wesche said.

Conservation officers said they plan to issue littering citations and fines to people leaving bullet casings, shotgun shells or target shooting litter at the wildlife management area.

“These areas may seem like good spots to sight in a rifle or shoot clay pigeons, but in actuality, they are incredibly dangerous,” Wesche said. “None of the popular shooting locations have adequate backdrops for safe firearm discharges, meaning unsuspecting hikers within Cartier Slough could be injured or killed by stray bullets.”

Wesche said target shooters should take advantage of the Unified Sportsman’s Club shooting range on Highway 33 just down the road from Cartier Slough or take their guns to Bureau of Land Management areas that are safer and better suited for shooting.