Hunters bagged for shooting from road |

Hunters bagged for shooting from road

by Lynn BurtonPost Independent Staff

A trio of hunters from Minnesota were cited for shooting elk from County Road 263 east of Silt Tuesday morning.The hunters killed three elk in rancher Richard Murrs field, which sits between Highway 6 & 24 and County Road 263, the Colorado Division of Wildlife reports.The closest house was 50 to 75 yards from the hunters, and in the opposite direction from where they were shooting, said Perry Will, DOW district wildlife manager.They were shooting parallel to Interstate 70, and County Road 263, Will said.New Castle resident Scott Gordon witnessed the shootings and called the Division of Wildlife, according to reports.Anytime you have a situation like that, youre going to draw attention, Will said.The violation was for shooting within 50 feet of a county road centerline, Will said.The hunters, who Will could not identify because the citations were not handy, were not cited for shooting so close to homes.The law says you cant hunt in a careless manner, Will said. Hunters have to use reasonable prudence … So its kind of a judgment call on our part.The hunters also wounded two other elk, but told Will they couldnt get a safe angle to shoot again. He said they acted responsibly in holding fire, and DOW officers later dispatched the wounded elk. Those carcasses will be donated to a charity, Wills said.Murr said hed given the hunters permission to hunt on his property.They were legal hunters and had licenses, said Murr, who grew up on the ranch.Murr said elk come onto his property all the time, and they tear down fences and eat his cattles feed.He called elk hunting a blessing, and said if not for the hunt, many elk would die of starvation.I figured these hunters were safe, and werent going to hurt anybody, Murr said.Teresa Rippy, who lives north of Highway 6 & 24 east of New Castle, doesnt see it that way. This is getting out of hand, Rippy said.Rippy, who said she grew up in a family of hunters, said the big problem is hunters who drive between New Castle and Silt in the Peach Valley area, looking for elk and sometimes herding them onto private land where they can be shot. Such hunting, even if the hunter has permission to shoot on a ranchers land, is not right, she said.You dont sit in your truck on a county road, then when the elk cross the road you shoot it, Rippy said. Thats not hunting.Rippy said she has watched hunters, many from out-of-state or with local outfitters, drive in a big loop between New Castle and Silt, searching for elk.The elk run from spot to spot, Rippy said. There are large herds, and people know where they are. Hunters get into a frenzy, and they lose all reasoning.Will said its illegal for people to herd elk with a vehicle, but he hasnt issued any citations for that offense in quite some time.As for hunters shooting high-powered guns in an area thats being filled up with houses, Will said one option is to restrict hunters to using shotguns loaded with slugs, which travel no more than 200 yards, compared to using a rifle whose bullet can travel up to three miles.But the decision to prohibit high-powered rifles on private land is a county enforcement issue, and not the DOWs, Will said.The county might have to look at that in the future, Will said. But we dont promote firearm closures.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext.

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