Hunting In Parks Or Near Schools Must Be Stopped

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It is an outrage -- a goose was found at Green Valley Park with an arrow through its beak and neck this weekend. We are grateful that Game and Fish officers were able to rescue the injured bird and believe it will survive its wounds.

How can people possibly think hunting the waterfowl at Green Valley Park is acceptable?

But they do, and as parks officials recently discovered, it is perfectly legal to take a bow and arrow anywhere in town and shoot at the geese and ducks or any other wildlife as long as the hunters have a proper license.

This was not the first time one of the birds at the park has been wounded. On Dec. 3, park patrons witnessed two men in camouflage stalking the geese. A razor-sharp hunting arrow was also found at Rumsey Park Monday morning.

Firearms cannot be discharged near structures, but bow hunting is allowed.

And there is very little the mayor and town council can do about it. According to Game and Fish officials, no municipality or county has the authority to regulate the taking of wildlife as game.

Town officials were shocked to find out they are about as crippled as the goose when it comes to keeping the park waterfowl and other wildlife safe from hunting.

However, there can be local regulations for the use of weapons within the town limits.

We urge the town council to make such an ordinance a priority. Make it illegal to use any kind of weapon in a public park, school or near populated areas, except in the event of endangerment -- such as with an animal that might be rabid.

Bows and guns are not the only weapons to include in such a regulation; BB guns and slingshots should also be addressed.

Parents of children interested in hunting should enroll them in safety courses and teach them to respect wildlife.

The hazards of using any kind of weapon in populated areas could be far more serious than an injured goose -- a child could be hurt.

How can these people with their bows and arrows think shooting wildlife in the confines of a town park can be considered hunting? A witness to the earlier stalking incident in the park was right, "They might as well go shoot a frozen chicken."

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