Ask Zimo: Even if it’s not illegal, houses and hunting simply don’t mix

pzimowsky@idahostatesman.comDecember 26, 2013 

0110 out reclede

Idaho Statesman outdoors writer Pete Zimowsky, along the Boise River.

PETE_ZIMOWSKY

Q: I grew up in Meridian and hunted pheasants on farms throughout the area. I now live in Eagle on the Boise River just up river from Linder Road.

We’ve had hunters on the river opening morning until closing day every year here for the past few years.

My home is 100 yards from the river. My neighbor’s is more like 30 yards from the river.

This year the regulars seem to have moved their blind and the shots are coming directly at my house. I’ve had bird shot land on my house and around me while out early morning with my new pup.

We are not in the city limits, and we realize the bird shot probably won’t do any damage, but we make it a point to never leave cars out overnight.

The regulars are coming more often this year, and it is getting a little old to have shots blasted toward my house every day.

I’ve called Fish and Game to ask what protocol is, and they basically say no laws are broken, but it’s probably not the most considerate thing.

I’ve spoken with Ada County, and they say it is against the law to discharge a firearm in Ada County within 1,000 feet of a residence, yet I don’t believe they have ever done more than given a warning.

What do you think?

J. B., via email

A: Yours is the classic example of how the Treasure Valley and the Boise River have changed through development in the last 30 or so years.

Lots of us remember hunting pheasants off Five Mile Road, and hunting ducks just off Glenwood Avenue where the old Strawberry Glen airstrip was. Both areas are now filled with shopping centers.

Until a few years ago, goose hunters were using fields at the corner of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue in the area that is now The Village at Meridian.

I’ll never forget the note I got back then from a reader who was in a nearby restaurant and couldn’t believe geese were being shot at across the street.

One of my favorite duck hunting spots 37 years ago was located on the Boise River near Parma. It was a perfect spot where a slough came into the river. One year I came back and a house was built across the river. I never went back.

To me, houses and hunting (and populated areas) don’t mix, even if hunters aren’t breaking any laws. I just feel too uncomfortable hunting close to populated areas.

I think hunters in general should feel uncomfortable shooting too close to houses. I contacted Fish and Game and Ada County, and neither said there was a law against shooting within 1,000 feet of a house in Ada County.

However, there is a law that a hunter can be liable for where his or her shotgun pellets land, and Ada County has a law about shooting recklessly, which can result in a misdemeanor violation.

If a hunter’s pellets hit a house or car, or go on to private land, he or she can be cited for trespassing. The hunter is also responsible for any damages or injury resulting from the bird shot.

I think hunting is about getting away from it all and being in the boonies. I don’t want my bird shot landing in someone’s yard, or my gun dog trying to retrieve a bird near a busy road.

We all hate losing our prime hunting ground to houses, subdivisions and shopping centers. It’s only going to get worse.

Luckily, we have state wildlife management areas fairly close to urban areas that give hunters access in a growing valley. My take again: Houses and hunting don’t mix.

Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors

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