Hunting season leads to increase in gunshot complaints

From staff and wire reports

November 12, 2010 at 8:53 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The beginning of hunting season has coincided with calls to the Sheriff’s Office complaining of the discharge of weapons in close proximity to homes, according to Sheriff Greg Champagne.

Champagne said that shotguns cannot be fired within 800 feet of any residence, which equates to a distance of about 2 ½ football fields. Rifles cannot be fired within 2,000 feet of a residence.

“Of course, both can only be fired on private property with permission of the owners,” he said. “It is strongly suggested that hunters carry written permission from the landowner with them.”

In the state of Louisiana, property does not have to be legally posted to prevent people from trespassing, Champagne said.

“In order to enter onto private property for hunting or any other reason, one must get permission of the owner to do so,” he said. “Failure to obtain permission of the landowner can result in a criminal charge of trespassing.”

Along with private property, the Bonnet Carre Spillway has special regulations on the discharge of shotguns, which can be found on the spillway’s Web site. Rifles or pistols can not be discharged in the area.

In addition to recent reports of gunfire near homes, the Sheriff’s Office has also received a complaint of a protected species of hawk being shot and fatally wounded.

“Birds such as Bald Eagles, egrets, hawks and owls are protected and should never be fired at,” Champagne said. “Parents should be aware of the rules and advise their children of them.”

The Sheriff’s Office provides hunter education courses several times per year, and young people must take and pass the course in order to obtain a hunting license in Louisiana.

“As a lifelong hunter, I appreciate the outdoors during this time of year,” Champagne said. “It is also a time when those of us who choose to pursue the great American sport must also respect the property rights of others.”

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