Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Residents propose tougher shooting law

Effort comes after elk were shot near Hulen Meadows

Express Staff Writer

Hulen Meadows residents want Blaine County to enact tougher laws regarding hunting near residential areas. Express file photo

    Following the killing of at least two elk close to the Hulen Meadows subdivision north of Ketchum earlier this month, residents there are requesting that Blaine County pass stricter regulations on shooting near houses.
    County code contains two somewhat contradictory ordinances on the subject—one that prohibits shooting a gun within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling, and another that prohibits shooting within 1,000 feet of a house or any area where livestock are concentrated. The ordinances were passed within two weeks of each other in 1982.
    During the public comment portion of a county commissioners meeting Tuesday, five Hulen Meadows residents, including Homeowners Association President Donna Finegan, said that as well as being confusing, county code does not go far enough in protecting people from errant gunshots. They asked that the shooting prohibition be extended to 1,000 yards.
    Commission Chair Larry Schoen said the issue would be added to a future meeting agenda. He said that at the least the commissioners would have to remove inconsistencies in the ordinance.

Our neighborhood, including its hunters, are appalled at these incidents.”
Letter from Hulen Meadows residents

    However, the county may not be legally able to enact stricter regulations regarding hunting. The Hulen Meadows residents provided the commissioners with a copy of Idaho code section 18-3302J, which authorizes counties to adopt firearms ordinances, but exempts hunting. Resident Barbara Brown asked the commissioners to seek a change in state law if they deem it necessary in order to permit the county to regulate hunting in residential areas.
    According to a letter submitted by Finegan, five elk were shot close to Hulen Meadows homes during the week of Nov. 1-7.
    “Our neighborhood, including its hunters, are appalled at these incidents with their lack of common sense and ethics,” states a letter submitted to the commissioners by nine Hulen Meadows residents. “Other valley residents are also appalled and report similar experiences in their neighborhoods.”
    On Nov. 5, a bull and a cow were shot at the edge of Sage Road, which leads up into the subdivision. According to Idaho Department of Fish and Game Conservation Officer Clark Shackelford, the animals were killed on BLM land and the one hunter present had a bull elk tag. Shackelford said there was a cow elk season open in that hunting unit, but the hunter there did not have a cow tag. Shackelford said there was no other hunter present, but neither was there evidence to tie the cow shooting to the hunter who was there. He said no charges would be filed regarding the incident.
Greg Moore:

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