MONTESANO — By a 2-1 vote, the county commissioners have banned shooting and hunting over much of the North Beach area north of Ocean City to the Copalis River.
County Commissioner Wes Cormier said he could have supported banning shooting, but still felt that bow hunting should be allowed in the area. His fellow commissioners voted to ban both.
Discharging firearms and hunting is now prohibited from the area east of Highway 109 and Highway 115, with a south boundary of Damon Road, a north boundary of the Copalis River with a west boundary of the Mean Lower Low Waterline.
The no shooting zone was advocated by Sheriff Rick Scott after receiving a petition from about 50 residents in the area. The petition was spurred after a neighbor shot at a deer with his pistol 13 times in close proximity to the residential homes in the area, according to one of the neighbors who testified on Monday. Since shooting wasn’t banned, the man wasn’t cited.
Cormier noted it is already illegal to shoot at residences, the highway and to shoot at the ocean. But he thought hunting with a bow still made sense.
County Commissioner Frank Gordon said that getting hit with a cross bow bolt “is almost as deadly a weapon as a gun shot” and neighbors have found cross bow bolts on the school grounds at North Beach Junior-Senior High School.
County Commissioner Herb Welch said he felt the school being in the area should be of top concern, as well.
“It’s a residential area,” Welch said, adding that someone may think they’re in the woods but are really 40 feet away from a house.
Only one person testified in favor of the petition. The neighborhood association for Oyehut wrote to the commissioners in February when the situation was first discussed, noting, “the other side of the situation was not able to present their testimony.” Nobody from the Association testified at Monday’s meeting.