Two days ago, my family was walking our dog down this relatively vacant stretch of the bay, which is a few blocks away from the house. While we were walking, we overheard what was apparently some gunshots fired in the distance. A woman, also walking her dog, mentioned to us how appalled she was to discover that people were hunting duck around the neighborhood. Adding insult to injury, just under a mile away is a bird sanctuary (Morro Bay Estuary) that sits next to the residential area.
This morning, I woke to more gunshots fired and it suddenly jogged my memory. Two years ago, around the same time, I found some bullet casings in the empty lot next to my house. I looked at them carefully, wondering where they were coming from and how they ended up there. Now I know.
The woman we spoke to the other day said they have filed petitions against the duck hunts and sent them to the California Department of Fish and Game only for them to reject the petitions and say the hunting was perfectly legal. Perfectly legal? Since when is shooting a gun in a residential area perfectly legal? I can come up with all sorts of hypotheticals that are reasonably possible. There are people walking their dogs, children are playing, there’s traffic going up and down the street — and if a bullet strikes someone, what’s the department going to say then? “Sorry, stray bullet. It’s legal.”
Maybe it’s one of those things where they only take action if something actually happens. That reminds me of all these laws passed in government that were based on tragedies that could have been prevented if those kinds of laws were enacted before the tragedy.
I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area for 12 years and hearing gunshots there wasn’t uncommon, but here in this small community full of families who are within firing distance? It’s very unsettling. One of the reasons I moved away from the area was to avoid being shot — and this is what I wake up to in the morning?
Also, we live in the middle what is supposed to be a protected habitat for wildlife. To say that people are allowed to hunt ducks just a few inches away from a bird sanctuary is picking and choosing. What’s to stop hunters from “accidentally” shooting an egret or a blue heron? Where is the enforcement that approaches hunters with fines and handcuffs for being so negligent of their neighbors? I believe we ought to have answers.
I urge concerned individuals to call the Central Region of the California Department of Fish & Game at (559) 243-4005 regarding this problem. The person to speak with would be Regional Manager Bill Loudermilk.
I will be calling them today and will post an addendum to this blog tomorrow around the same time with the results of this conversation. I will be going through the necessary channels before petitioning for a California voter initiative.