Letters to the Editor

Hunting: Kettles trail safety impossible

This Saturday morning marks the fourth time in three years that our group of riders has encountered a hunter, shotgun in hand, along the gravel portion of the Kettles Trail while on our Saturday morning ride. This is interesting as we are only on that trail for approximately five minutes each Saturday morning. What are the chances that we would encounter a hunter? According to my calculation; about one every 26.25 minutes of riding the trail on a Saturday hunting day.   

It is clear that the 150 yard “safety zone” imposed in 1997 did not, does not, and will not keep hunters away from that area. The commissioners can make the buffer any distance they like, but as long as hunting is allowed in any portion of the Kettles property, the hunters will hunt the old clearcut along the Kettles Trail. Call them “poachers” or “lost” or whatever you like, the fact remains that persons hunting deer in Kettles somehow end up in that area. Hunters do and will continue to “poach” the Kettles Trail, ignoring the buffer for as long as the county allows hunting anywhere on the Kettles property. There is no way to enforce the “safety zone.”

I stopped and talked with the hunter today, informing him that it is illegal to hunt in Kettles. He stated that he thought it was legal to hunt there because he parked at one of the gates along the highway and there was not a “No Hunting” sign on the gate. Somehow he wandered (accidentally I’m sure) through the trails to where we saw him (on the Kettles Trail, beside the clearcut, headed toward Fort Ebey). We all know that it is the hunter’s responsibility to know where he can legally hunt. When we parted, I mentioned he should exit the area immediately as I would be calling the sheriff. He said that he was going to go up to the next trail and go through the clearcut back to his vehicle. I warned him to please be careful as I was sure there were other trail users “in there.”  He seemed like a very nice man. Probably one of the nicest men that would ever accidentally shoot you.

Darcy Patterson

Island County Trails Council

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