Putting Hunting in the Cross-Hairs
By Nicole Rivard
During the first weekend of fall, I joined my friend and her 9-year-old son for a run in Mohawk State Forest in Goshen, Conn., which the public has been enjoying since 1921. When we were about a mile-anda-half down a dirt road that winds through the forest, a car pulled up alongside of us, and the driver cautioned us that we should be wearing orange because the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection had opened up sections of Mohawk State Forest to firearms deer and turkey hunting.
After he pulled away, my friend’s son said, “Mom I don’t want to run here anymore, I don’t want to get shot.” His fear, sadly, is not unwarranted.
A front page story in USA Today on August 11, 2015, read: “Forests grapple with 8,500 gun incidents.” The article was prompted by the death of 60-year-old Glenn Martin, who was sitting around a secluded campfire with his family in the Pike and San Isabel National Forest in Colorado, waiting to roast marshmallows, when a wayward bullet struck and killed him. The 3.1 million- acre forest holds the record for most gun-related violations reported in the country, according to a review of federal records by the USA Today Media Network.
Records show that since 2010, United States Forest Service officers have handled 8,500 shooting incidents across the country. Of those 926 were in the Pike-San Isabel. The reported illegal shooting has intensified precipitously in recent years. In the forest district where Martin was killed, the number of firearms-related incidents, warnings and citations jumped from 65 over a 12-month period starting in July 2013 to 324 over the comparable period ending in July 2015.
Shooting is generally legal on national forest land except in marked areas, across roadways, near recreation sites and without a backstop. But whether it’s illegal or legal shooting or hunting, the problem with allowing such activities in areas of concentrated recreation use is that while hunters and shooters may know and obey property boundaries, their bullets cannot.
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More of Friends of Animals’ coverage of hunting in America:
– See more at: https://secure.friendsofanimals.org/news/2015/december/putting-hunting-cross-hairs#sthash.O7Zouu4R.dpuf