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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eden “Resident” Killed

Guest Post by Sharon Holmstrom
A wonderful variety of creatures live along the North Fork and Wolf Creek drainages. Many are human residents and then there are what the Division of Wildlife Resources classifies as “resident” deer. These are deer who do not migrate to the high mountains when winter ends but spend generations living in the same small area. They are acclimated to humans and their “home” habitat. They mate, raise babies in the thickets along the streams and please us with their presence. In the deepest part of the harsh winters, many of us feed them. In many communities, including ours, the presence of wildlife has been cited as part of the “quality of life” that residents seek to protect. Hunting these animals in residential areas is akin to walking into the zoo and, after you have shot the tiger, boasting that you have been “big game hunting”.

A number of the human residents of Eden have encountered problems with hunters in the past: hunters who show up with rifles, dressed in camo, crossing our driveways and fences to hunt in our fields and common areas. We were told by the county sheriff’s department that in order to have protection from these hunters we must post our property. In anticipation of this year’s bow hunt, we posted private property and common areas. We let it be known throughout the neighborhoods that we did not want hunters. Even with all these precautions, a local resident told a relative by the name of Logan that he could shoot a deer on his property.

This is legal within certain perimeters. First, the bow hunter must have WRITTEN permission from any household within 600 feet of the shooting site i.e. the spot where you shoot the animal be it in the open or from a constructed blind. (pg.40, 2010 Utah Big Game Guidebook) A homeowner may give you permission to kill an animal on his property but you still may not break the law by discharging a weapon in the vicinity of an unwilling land owner.

As bow hunters know, unless you are a crack shot or fire two arrows, the animal you kill may take some time to die, sometimes in an agonizing way. To assume that the deer you shot would remain on the property is unrealistic. A beautiful buck who has lived in our neighborhood for perhaps several years and was well known to all who watched him was shot by Logan late Saturday evening. His blood trail led across a county road and down into the common area of Eden Hills subdivision, where he died and lay unrecovered through the night. The homeowners association had not only posted this property as No Trespassing but had a citizen’s watch over the area.

Logan and a hunting partner trespassed on the posted common area the next morning, where they were discovered by irate residents of Eden Hills. He has been charged by DWR with criminal trespass which carries a fine and possible jail sentence. His partner was issued a warning.

If you wish to protect yourself from invasive hunters this is how you must post your property. “Properly posted” means that No Trespassing signs are displayed at all corners, on fishing streams crossing property lines, on roads, gates and rights –of-way entering. (pg.42, 2010 Utah Big Game Guidebook). For those residents living in a smaller lot subdivision this probably means posting your front, side and back yards. Violating land thus posted is a Class B misdemeanor. The consensus of the residents involved is that there should be no hunting in residential neighborhoods. It’s dangerous and it is not sporting. What is sporting is the hunters who make the effort to hunt the “wild” game in the mountains.

You may obtain a free copy of the 2010 Utah Big Game Guidebook at the Division of Wildlife Resources office in South Ogden.


Chuck Norris said...

I have many photos of the buck that graced the common area behind our home....and sometimes in our yard...he had 2 friends with that accompanied him in his travels...have not seen all 3 in over a I know why he's not around. This "hunter" gives hunters a bad name and the word moron a new meaning.

fair game! said...

I can hear it now... there will be lots of discussion about this post. I have heard the arguments for years.

1. There are those that will say you shouldn't feed wild animals. . 2. There are those that will say they "hunt" to feed their family. 3. There are those that will say "the animals will starve to death if not hunted, will never survive the winter, are over populating open ranges".

Being from a multi generational hunting family (big and small game) I feel confident I can speak with some sense of knowledge on the above.

1. FEEDING WILDLIFE: If you are willing to feed the game through the ENTIRE winter, purchase and store hay, obtain a permit (in some cases) and keep the game away from public roadways, you have EVERY right.

2. I HAVE TO FEED MY FAMILY: I do not claim to be an animal activist but never will I buy this argument. Get real. Just admit you LIKE to hunt and don't blame it on your starving stomach. Ever heard of shelters, food banks, food stamps, the LDS church, the Catholic church? Gees, there's more out there for starving Utah folks than any other "needy" population. This state takes care of the "hungry".

3. THE ANIMALS WILL STARVE: well then, that's life! That's cold winters. That's lack of food supply. But that's also what feeds other starving animals. It's natural and it is the life cycle. It was like this long before you bought your super sharp shooter fancy rifle. You are not doing them any favors by ending their life "quickly".

To this hunter in Eden: If I find you on my acreage, shooting anything that resides on my property, you may end up in my freezer! Fair game is fair game, right?pi