We have been walking down on the nature trails at McNary Dam for the past four years. The past two years during duck hunting season, hunters have been shooting waterfowl less than 30 yards from the nature trails. This scares the people (and dogs) using the trails. Walkers on the trail actually get the ducks in the air for the hunters.
When you call the Corps of Engineers (922-2226) to report it, they only have jurisdiction in the park to the high water mark - whatever that is. They are not suppose to be able to have firearms in the park. The corps did tell us they are tracking this year the number of complaints. Also, some hunters have stated they have permission to hunt there. If one has permission, all should have permission - or a contact sign where to obtain permission.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stated they have no authority because hunting out of a boat on navigable waters falls under federal jurisdiction.
The state police stated it's not against the law. They can't enforce something that's not regulated. The state police did say that the fish and wildlife department and the corps could deem the area from the I-82 bridge and the McNary dam a "safe zone." This would be a quick and enforceable solution.
I am a hunter and I teach hunter safety. There are a lot of places to hunt waterfowl. Hunting next to a nature trail is neither safe or responsible. When hunters do not take into consideration the feelings of others and do not do the right thing then I think it's sad. It's said that it takes regulation, letter writing and signature gathering to make hunters and the regulatory bodies do the right thing. This situation is what causes bad public relations with the non-hunting, majority voting public. The Columbia River has a lot of opportunities along its shores to hunt ducks. It does not have to conflict with the public.
I have also noticed sturgeon season reopened the first of the year. Which direction are the waterfowlers safely shooting now?
This is not smart. We need to stop hunting from the I-82 bridge to the McNary Dam.
Larry Del Grosso
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