A meeting was held Tuesday night in Sunriver, focused on setting boundaries for hunting on federal land. Neighbors near Sunriver and to the south of there are concerned about their safety.
“Shooting those high-powered rifles in a very confined area is actually the issue that we’re trying to deal with,” said one commenter.
The meeting was expected to be focused on rifle hunting of elk near Spring River. But half of those in attendance were there due to shotgun bird hunting on federal land — all too close, they say, to private property.
“You can’t be shooting within 150 yards of somebody’s house and expect that to be safe,” said a commenter.
“It goes both ways,” said another. “Just cause somebody dropped a bit of birdshot on your tin roof.”
Representatives from Oregon State Police, the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife were also there to listen.
“The person responsible is the person that pulled the trigger,” said County Commissioner Tony DeBone. “They do have the responsibility of where that is going, but that means they have that right to be able to do that, too.”
“Is that really reckless endangering?” said Oregon State Police. “Is that, are you recklessly putting somebody’s life in danger?”
Some at the meeting admit they are lifelong hunters, but feel areas like Spring River is filled with people recreating. Therefore, they felt an obligation to stop hunting in the area.
Many at the meeting admitted accommodating the elk, allowing them to feed and occupy their property.
“All year long, we’re taking care of those elk. And then there’s this one period of time during elk season where I think we failed them in that particular piece of federal property,” said a commenter.
One of the most confusing parts of setting limits on hunters is knowing which agency has jurisdiction. Even so, Commissioner DeBone promised to look into extending the no-shooting zone by expanding the corridor that exists along the river.
The Deschutes National Forest said, after a request, they will provide direction on how and if it is possible to change the land to a no-shooting zone permanently.
The public is now looking into creating a community, making a petition and considering taking things to the courts.