Cooper Landing committee worried about hunting too close to homes

Posted: Monday, February 26, 2001

KENAI (AP) -- A local advisory committee is asking the Alaska Board of Game to do something about hunters firing their weapons too close to Cooper Landing homes.

Cooper Landing Fish and Game Advisory Committee Chairman Bill Stockwell said the problem has occurred a little too close to home.

''People come by on the road shooting spruce hens out of the trees and raining pellets down all around us,'' Stockwell said. ''My son got a shower of spent pellets all around him standing by his cabin by the Dry Creek bridge on Quartz Creek Road. That was last fall. About three years ago, they did the same thing to my wife and scared her.''

Stockwell said the committee passed a proposal in November to ban shooting within 300 yards of any home or recreational facility in the area from Hope to Cooper Landing, Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park.

The proposal would not bar people from shooting on their own land or with the permission of land owners.

The proposal, however, did not make the agenda for the Board of Game meeting next month in Anchorage. Margaret Edens, the board's executive director, informed the committee that it is up to local governments to set safety laws. Cooper Landing, however, has no city government.

Mona Painter, president of the Cooper Landing Community Club, said the community has discussed forming one but the idea has not garnered sufficient support because people fear more taxes.

Ted Spraker, area wildlife biologist for the Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna, said the best solution is for Cooper Landing residents to post signs on their land to keep trespassers out. Given the number of homes scattered through the Cooper Landing woods, it would be impossible for Fish and Game to post closures just around developed areas, he said.

Not everyone, however, agrees shooting should be banned within 300 yards of homes and recreation facilities.

''It's kind of a ridiculous idea,'' said Cooper Landing Fish and Game Advisory Committee member Lyman Nichols. ''If they're going to put a 300-yard boundary around every home, they're going to have to draw a map to show everyone where it is.''

Nichols also points out the proposal would restrict all shooting.

''So, if you've got a predator in your yard eating your chickens, you can't shoot it without calling all your neighbors within 300 yards,'' he said.

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