- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Talk about a potentially dangerous precedent. A court in Douglas County, Colo., will hear a case by a home association that seeks to stop elk hunting on a nearby ranch.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance sounded the alarm regarding the court case against Paul and Nancy King, who have allowed elk hunting on their privately owned ranch in Castle Rock. But Castle Pines Village, a subdivision of some 3,700 residents that is managed by the Castle Pines Homes Association, borders one side of the Kings’ ranch, and the newcomers to the county have filed legal action against the ranch owners, asking the court to prohibit all future hunting on the ranch.

It’s not that there have been accidents or any kind of problems. There haven’t been. But the home association claims hunting on the King property is a public nuisance that could pose a “serious and unreasonable risk to the residents of Castle Pines Village.”

Meanwhile, the Colorado Wildlife Commission and Division of Wildlife have intervened on behalf of the ranch owners, arguing that hunting regulations fall under their authority. The wildlife division ruled that hunting on the Kings’ property is a safe and effective wildlife management tool and should be permitted.

Imagine what will happen if the court agrees with the residents of the subdivision. If the hunting is stopped, it will result in an avalanche of lawsuits by animal rights groups in every rural part of the United States, all of them charging that hunting is a public nuisance.

Apply for black bear hunt - On Aug. 1 the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will accept applications from hunters to be included in this year’s lottery for black bear hunting permits. The bear season starts Oct. 26.

This will again be a quota-driven hunt. The goal is to remove 60 to 85 bears. The DNR will close the bear hunting season once the quota is reached.

Two hundred forty bear hunting permits will be issued for Garrett and Allegany counties only. Bear hunting is not permitted in any other Maryland county. Applications for bear hunting permits will be accepted online starting Aug. 1 at blackbear.dnr.state.md.us until 11:59 p.m. Sept. 1. Phone applications will be accepted at 888/579-6768 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. from Aug. 24 to Aug. 28. A $15 application fee must be submitted by credit card, check or money order by noon Sept. 2. Checks and money orders should be made payable to MDDNR Black Bear and mailed to MDDNR Black Bear, P.O. Box 30, Cumberland, MD 21501. For more info, go to www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/blackbearhunt.asp.

Smallmouth bass club to meet - Mark your calendar for the July 29 meeting of the Potomac River Smallmouth Club because one of the best saltwater fishing guides on the East Coast will be the guest speaker. When the club meets at 7:30 at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, you’ll have a chance to meet George Beckwith, the owner/operator of the Down East Guide Service in North Carolina. If he’s not fishing with light tackle and fly-fishermen in Costa Rica, Beckwith is fly fishing for stripers in the Roanoke River or on the Virginia/Carolina border or going after cobia, red drum and tarpon in the Pamlico Sound. For additional information, contact ernierojas@verizon.net.

Hunting & Outdoor Expo - On Aug. 15-16, the Charles County Fairgrounds, a few miles south of La Plata off Route 301, will be filled with booths displaying hunting equipment of every description. There will be an “Ultimate Bowhunter 3D Classic” archery shoot, or you can test drive an ATV, see Coty Jones’ state record black bear or have your trophy buck scored for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources trophy deer book. Local country singer John Luskey will perform Aug. 15, and for the kids there will be a 26-foot rock wall to climb, an inflatable slide, a Jurassic Adventure, games and much more. For more information on exhibits and schedules, visit www.mdhuntingexpo.com.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/ sports.

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