Article published Nov 19, 2004
By ASHLEY SMITH and Emily Cavalier
AMHERST - Janice Kelleigh doesn’t hike through Joe English Reservation
during hunting season without wearing orange. When she used to walk her old
beagles through the conservation land near Route 101, she tied bright
scarves and bells to their collars.
Kelleigh said that is the kind of precaution anyone walking through the
woods this time of year should practice.
“People have to use more common sense. It’s hunting season. You live in
New Hampshire,” she said.
Kelleigh and other area residents and dog lovers are taking a closer look
at the interaction between hunters and hikers at the reservation after a dog
was shot and killed there last week.
Andrew Duane’s golden retriever, Duncan, was shot Nov. 11 while Duane was
hiking with a friend at the nature preserve. The dog’s owner said Duncan was
too injured to return home from the animal hospital, and Duncan died
The Merrimack man said he assumed the person who shot his dog was a
hunter. Duane said he did not know at the time that hunting was allowed at
Duane said Thursday that he still plans on making an appeal to have
hunting banned at the Joe English Reservation.
“Longer term, I am going to write to state reps to get some reasonable
penalties in place for people who shoot carelessly,” Duane said via e-mail.
Amherst police did not return phone calls about the status of their
investigation into the shooting.
According to the state Fish and Game Department’s Web site, anyone found
guilty of negligently discharging a firearm or “causing death, injury or
damage to domestic animals or property while hunting could lose his or her
hunting privileges for a minimum of one year.”
Kelleigh said signs reminding hikers to share the area with hunters are
posted at the beginning of every trail. Anyone who frequents the area should
know about them, she said, adding that she could see how people could miss a
sign if they were talking to someone while entering a trail.
Jan Woodbury, who founded the Peabody Environmental Center next to the
Joe English Reservation, agreed the hunting signs are visible.
“There are many, many signs at the start of each trailhead - in orange -
and a big metal sign in the parking lot, and another sign in the parking lot
about hunters and hikers sharing the woods,” Woodbury said in an e-mail.
However, she added, hikers traveling in areas posted “No Hunting” should
exhibit the same safety precautions.
“I have 16 acres (at home) and it’s posted, and I still see hunters,”
Woodbury said in a telephone interview. “Hunting season - it exists. You
have to learn to cohabitate.”
Gary Zetterberg often runs through the woods of Joe English with his
black Lab, Shirley. After learning of Duncan’s death, he is even more
concerned for his dog’s safety - and his own - while on the trails.
“I’m apprehensive about running in the woods during hunting season, but I
do it anyway,” Zetterberg said. “Personally, I would not go running at dawn
or dusk when hunters typically are out.”
During hunting season last year, Zetterberg was running on a trail when
he spotted a hunter dressed in camouflage deep in the woods. When the hunter
heard his footsteps, Zetterberg said, the man swung around and aimed his gun
right at him.
Even though the hunter quickly realized he had spotted a runner, and did
not fire a shot, the incident left Zetterberg feeling a little uneasy.
“Some of these guys take a shot at anything that moves,” Zetterberg said.
Woodbury said hunters are basically a necessity in an area that large -
the preserve is now a little larger than 600 acres due to land acquisitions
last year - to keep the deer population at a healthy level.
She also said hikers should be aware of the possible presence of hunters.
The state’s hunting season extends approximately from Sept. 15-Dec. 15.
“Fish and Game has been advertising for weeks that it’s hunting season
and you should wear orange when you’re hiking,” she said.
Woodbury said hikers should mark both themselves and their animals with
bright colors like fluorescent orange, pink and purple. Avoid wearing white,
she said, because hunters look for the white tail of a deer. Dog vests are
available in bright colors, and bandanas work, too.
Jim Bowen, who lives near the reservation, said dog owners need to abide
by the town’s leash law, which he said requires a dog to be in close
physical proximity to its owner, whether restrained by a leash or not.
Anyone with an unfriendly dog should always keep it physically
restrained, Bowen added.
The Amherst resident also said both dogs and owners should wear orange
when they’re in the woods. Bowen wears an orange hat and has a matching vest
for his golden retriever, Cherokee.
“This is the time of year it’s prudent to do that,” Bowen said.HUNTING
Hunters have to take precautions, too, according to the state Fish and
Game Department’s Web site. Besides offering schedules for hunter education
courses, the site posts the “Ten Commandments of Hunting Safety.” The
- Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm.
- Control the direction of your firearm’s muzzle.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
- Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
- Unload firearms when not in use.
- Never point a firearm at anything you do not want to shoot.
- Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded
- Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water.
- Store firearms and ammunition separately.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while
© 2003, Telegraph Publishing Company, Nashua, New Hampshire