Nearly 40 people registered to hunt in Island Center Forest (ICF) during the 400-acre forest’s closure for a limited hunting season between Oct. 13 and 31.
Seven of the 38 hunters were from Vashon. The rest were mostly from Pierce County, said David Kimmett, a natural lands manager for King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks.
He said he doesn’t yet know how many deer the hunters bagged during the 19-day hunt. But he knows some deer were shot because of signs left behind that a deer had been taken.
“Overall, we still think that this limited hunt that we set up is working for the benefit of all,” Kimmett said. ”We had no major incidents. The biggest complaint was that the hunters could do a better job of cleaning the deer and removing whatever they leave on site. … If that’s the only problem we had, that’s not bad.”
Kimmett said the hunters he and others from the county talked to “were cooperative and appreciative that ICF was open to hunting.” Several non-hunters also showed up to walk the trails, not realizing the forest was restricted to hunting. No one, he added, complained about the closure.
“We heard many comments that there are too many deer on the Island,” he added.
This is the second year in a row that the county has closed the popular, publicly owned forest to everyone but hunters. Last year, 61 people registered to hunt there, six of whom came from Vashon, Kimmett said.
The county decided to offer a limited hunting season at Island Center Forest last year after residents expressed concern about recreational users being in close proximity to hunters on the forest’s maze of trails. Kimmett said the upset seems to have died down. “In general, it feels like … there is a sense of greater acceptance of (hunting) as a viable and necessary activity,” he said.