Homeowners south of Sun River are expressing their concerns about elk hunting taking place too close to their residences. According to Isabella Warren’s report, shots were fired just 70 yards away from a neighborhood on a 140-acre piece of land owned by the forest service. Hunters were using this land over the weekend to track and hunt four elk. However, residents living across the street claim to have been frightened by the gunshots they heard early in the morning before sunrise. On the day of the incident, a witness noticed several cars pulled over on Spring River Road, near the location where the hunting took place.
There was also a broken barbed wire fence and remains of an animal visible from the road. The Oregon State Police were called to the area and confirmed that a herd of elk had entered the Forest Service land near the road. One resident captured photos showing hunters on bikes pushing the large herd towards the Sun River airport and eventually onto BLM land for hunting. While it is legal to hunt on this property using high-powered rifles and bows, as authorized by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), one resident contacted ODFW considering the proximity of the hunting activity to residential areas. Despite the legality, City police have deemed the hunt illegal due to the taking of a female elk. For the concerned neighbors, their main worry for the future is safety, especially with the Dutes River located just south of the forest service land, which is described as a recreational area.
One elderly neighbor frequently walks in this area with her friends, adding to the concern about hunting being allowed in such proximity. Dutes County established no shooting zones near subdivisions many years ago, and those living near Spring River Road are requesting a review of regulations. However, Dut County Commissioner Tony Deone explained that since the land is federally owned, the county lacks authority to make any changes.
Deone stated that it is the responsibility of the state troopers to act as local game wardens, and concerned neighbors can request the land to be designated as a no shooting zone with ODFW. The residents living near the hunting area expressed their dissatisfaction with the current situation and announced their plans to attend a community meeting on Tuesday evening in Leine to voice their concerns and advocate for changes in federal regulations. This meeting represents their collective effort to ensure the safety of their community..