Living Green

Dec 4, 2009 1:18 AM by Steve Adamson

Hunting season controversy in Morro Bay

The water in and around Morro Bay is enjoyed by folks with a variety of interests year round. This time of the year, hunters frequent the area hunting for brant geese. However, there are those who feel this location should no longer be used for that purpose.

Bob Lyons, who is a docent at the museum of Morro Bay, recently wrote an editorial to the Tribune expressing his concerns about hunting around the bay. He noted to us today ( Thursday ) that people coming by the museum ask all the time about the shotguns going off. "They can't believe hunting is allowed in what they thought was a sanctuary."

Morro Bay is used for a variety of recreational activities, but hunting doesn't seem to fit here, according to Lyons. "To me, it's a negative use of the bay. So many people think it's a sanctuary where it really isn't if they allow the killing of birds."

Do you agree or disagree that there should be hunting in Morro Bay?

He wrote the California Fish and Game Dept. earlier this year commenting on their mission statement which says in part that they manage natural resources for use and enjoyment by the public. He questioned if a few duck hunters represent the public, or instead is the public the many who see Morro Bay as a sanctuary against the killing of the brant geese? We asked him what the Fish and Game's response was, but he said he never got a reply back.

The hunting season runs from Nov. 10th through January 27th, with the first 30 days being allowed in particular for the popular brant geese hunting. Hunters like Larry Leonhardt, who has been hunting them here for four decades, says their one month window of hunting the geese is small, considering that there are no hunters around the majority of the year. When they are hunting, he says they are conscious of others concerns and their safety record shows that. "We haven't had no accidents here and I've hunted this bay for over 40 years. I don't want to cause conflict, that's why I try to always go early in the morning the best I can."

Just like others who use the bay area for whatever their personal preference of recreation may be, Leonhardt thinks his privilege to hunt here is just as valid. "I'm in a way probably like the kayaker. I enjoy seeing the birds too, but then I like to hunt them. It's a tradition."

He said hunters do hold meetings on a regular basis to discuss safety issues around the bay when they are out hunting.

Do you think hunting of ducks and brant geese should be allowed in Morro Bay? You can vote on the issue here on KSBY.com by typing in the keyword "balance." You can also post your comments as well.

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