Residents, hunters in conflict on Carriage Row

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An incident that occurred Tuesday morning on Carriage Row in southern Polk County is a good example. This area is home to horse farms, where everyone has pets and where there are FETA trails.

There have been numerous poaching incidents in the past, including some in the last week. So neighbors were quick to take action when they saw four hunters shooting Canada Geese.

The farmer who leases the land was called, the sheriff was called and the residents confronted the hunters.

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A half day later, the dust had settled, information had been investigated and the facts made available.

According to Officer Jenkins, the four hunters were appropriately licensed, had sufficient verbal permission to hunt geese on the property and were within their rights. The residents, on the other hand, were interfering with their legal hunt, says Jenkins. Such interference is itself illegal, he says. This is an outcome that the residents did not expect.

The residents say they regret that hunting was being conducted so close to their property and animals and had reason to believe that permission had not been given, having talked directly to the landowner.

The residents say that a county ordinance requiring written approval would remove any ambiguity and afford protection to the legal hunters and landowners. It would allow the wildlife officers to more easily enforce the landowner&squo;s desires. The residents say they are hoping to get support from all stakeholders, including responsible hunters, for such an ordinance.

Wildlife Officer Jenkins said it is important that people know the current hunting laws and know how to contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission instead of confronting hunters.

Few people know that it is illegal to interfere with legal hunting and they could be prosecuted, Jenkins said. Another commonly misunderstood aspect of the law is how easily verbal permission to hunt can be given. Jenkins will be conducting a question and answer session for residents in the Carriage Row neighborhood this Friday.

Organizations or neighborhoods that feel they could benefit from having current hunting laws explained to them and their questions answered are invited to contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission at 800-662-7137.