September 29, 2009
People have already complained that hunters have trespassed on their land and have shot their weapons too close to their homes.
Callers on the rural East Side of Summit County are not the only ones grumbling, said Detective Ron Bridge, a Summit County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
"It’s more common on the West Side than you would believe. I can’t tell you how many people come up to Promontory and say, ‘Man, I used to hunt there when I was a little kid and now it’s houses,’" Bridge said. "You can’t hunt at Tollgate, you can’t hunt by The Canyons, you can’t hunt behind Summit Park or by Jeremy Ranch."
To avoid trespassing, hunters shouldn’t go anywhere in Summit County where they do not have permission to be, Bridge said.
"Trespassing calls, those are the calls that we get the most," he said about complaints about hunters. "If it’s not yours and you don’t have permission to be there in writing, don’t go."
A man in Summit Park complained Sept. 20 that somebody was shooting a gun too close to his Snyderville Basin home.
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"It was simply somebody target shooting," Bridge said. "The complainant wanted us to talk to the person shooting the gun."
The shooter reportedly fired a rifle near a trail at about 7:24 p.m.
State wildlife officer Bruce Johnson said he sympathized with the caller despite the many people who move in near established hunting areas.
"Some of the longtime homeowners have gone out and shot their guns and target practiced out in their back meadows or back field. I’ve been to those calls over the years," Johnson said.
It is illegal to discharge a firearm within 600 feet of a building without permission from the property owner, Johnson said.
"You also can’t shoot from, on or across a road; and you cannot have a loaded gun in your vehicle," Johnson said. "People need to be following those rules. They were established for their safety and for the public’s safety."
With hunting seasons beginning Saturday for elk, waterfowl, forest grouse and cottontail, hunters in the woods with hikers and mountain bikers can spell a recipe for disaster.
"To wear bright clothing certainly is beneficial," Johnson said. "Just remember that the public lands are multiple use. They are set aside for recreation, for hunting, for biking, for hiking, walking, bird-watching. It’s there for everybody to participate so they just need to remember to be aware of each other to get along with each other."
Mountain Trails Foundation Executive Director Carol Potter said she is extra cautious while walking her dogs in the fall to avoid accidentally being shot by a hunter.
"I have always been extremely careful because hunting is allowed on private land in the Snyderville Basin," Potter said. "Wear orange and get a bandanna and put it on your dog, because I can certainly see where it could be a potential problem."
Hunting is prohibited in Round Valley and within the Park City limits, she stressed.
But an abundance of public land in unincorporated Summit County lures big-game hunters from the Wasatch Front.
"We’re within 45 minutes of the Provo Valley, Salt Lake Valley and Ogden Valley," Johnson said.
Utah’s general deer hunt this year is Oct. 17-25.
Johnson encourages anyone who sees somebody poaching wildlife to call (800) 662-DEER to report the incident.
"If they see any wildlife violations or other suspicious activities please call our poaching hotline," he said.