Image: Leroy Thompson

A Florida man who has proposed opening a private school teaching military sniper skills in eastern Idaho should have checked with Bureau of Land Management officials before he recently invited local reporters to fire off high-caliber rifles on federal land, BLM officials said Tuesday.

In recent weeks, Michael Buchanan “Buck” Holly and his employees have been ferrying reporters to Clark County’s remote Skull Canyon, located south of the Montana border in the Beaverhead Mountains. It’s there that Holly hopes to use private, BLM and Forest Service land as a base for his weeklong “Advanced Mountain Sniper Course.”

But if Holly had checked regulations before heading to the hills, he would have learned that private, for-profit sniper schools are forbidden on BLM and U.S. Forest Service ground, bureau spokeswoman Sarah Wheeler said.

Even the U.S. military would have to submit a formal application and take public comment before winning permission to use public land, to make sure any activities didn’t harm sensitive species, pose undue safety risk or endanger the American Indian rock art that can be found in Skull Canyon’s jagged cliffs, she said.

“If they were using a typical forest service or BLM map, I think the boundary lines are pretty specific,” said Ballard. “They knew they were traveling within the national forest.”

Source: John Miller for the Associated Press via The Republic.

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