Deer hunt decision expected this week

Roughly 50 islanders have submitted comments regarding the island’s annual limited deer hunt and King County officials are planning to make a decision about whether to continue the hunt this week.

For the past six years, 200 acres of Island Center Forest have closed for 13 to 20 days in October to allow hunting on the former state lands. The county is proposing to extend the hunt for another five years and has been gathering comments about the proposal for the past two weeks.

At a meeting last Tuesday about the proposed extension, nine islanders attended and voiced both opposition and support for the hunt. Five said they lived within a half-mile of the forest and are tired of having hunters come onto their property. They want a larger boundary between the hunting and residential areas.

King County Parks’ Natural Lands Program Project Manager David Kimmett, who led the Tuesday meeting, said the county has never before been made aware of the issue and, if the hunt is extended to 2021, more signage and better maps will be provided to the hunters.

“The hunters are supposed to know where they are and shouldn’t just be wandering around,” he said. “But we have signs everywhere and can put up more. We’re more than prepared to do that and educate them as well. I think we can solve these problems with the property owners.”

If the proposal is approved, the 2017 deer-hunting season at Island Center Forest would run from Oct. 14 to 31.

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