Two Pennsylvania Game Commission Food and Cover Corps employees were injured on Monday, Oct. 1, while responding to a burning target backstop at a shooting range on State Game Land 183 in Palmyra Township, Pike County. According to Game Commission Northeast Region director Daniel Figured, the accident is being attributed to the illegal use of exploding rifle targets.
Game Lands maintenance supervisor Leonard Boyer and Game Lands maintenance worker Charles Campfield arrived at the range, along state Route 6, at around 3:15 p.m., and observed a target backstop and frame on fire. While attempting to extinguish the fire, an illegal exploding target on the ground detonated, injuring the two. Both men sustained burned skin, temporary blindness and hearing damage as a result of the blast, and were treated at an emergency room of a local hospital.
"Game Commission shooting ranges are intended for use by sportsmen to sight in their firearms and hone their shooting skills," Figured said. "The use of exploding targets on SGL ranges is prohibited by agency regulations and clearly poses a threat to the safety of our employees and others using the range. The only targets authorized on SGL ranges are paper targets placed on a permanent backboard."
Several brands of exploding targets are legal to purchase and available commercially. They often consist of two inert chemicals that, when combined and loaded into a hollow target, cause an explosive reaction when impacted by a high velocity bullet.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the agency's Northeast Region office at 675-1143.