Residents concerned about hunters, guns on popular trail

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MARYSVILLE, N.B. - Gabriela Tymowski believes it's just a matter of time before someone is killed on the Gibson trail leading to Marysville, near Fredericton.
She's concerned about hunters shooting guns in the area.
"I use the trails between Greenwood Drive and Marysville and on three occasions, while on that trail, I've seen hunters armed with guns," Tymowski said.
"I have also heard many gunshots in the immediate area. It's dangerous to be hunting so close to a popular trail system. Someone is going to be mistaken as a deer or accidently shot by a stray bullet."
Hunting season for deer ended last week, but continues for small game, such as ruffed grouse and rabbit. Coyote, crow and groundhog season is open until Feb. 28.
Tymowski said a friend's dog was shot by a hunter recently and it has her fearful something even worse could happen.
"It really makes you think about the safety of small children and people using that trail system," she said. "It's not like anyone going through there is wearing orange so the hunters can see them. There's not even a sign posted to warn of the dangers of using the trail system during hunting season."
The Gibson trail runs through Chris Rice's property. Rice said he too has seen and heard many hunters in the area.
"Sometimes it's barely dawn when the gunshots wake me in the mornings," Rice said. "It can't be safe, especially with so many people using that trail system - myself included."
Rice said he plans to post signs asking hunters not to use his property when hunting, but he suspects that won't solve the problem.
The Department of Natural Resources says it's illegal to discharge a firearm or bow within 200 metres of a dwelling, school, playground, athletic field, dump or place of business. Within 400 metres, it's illegal to discharge a rim-fire rifle, a centre-fire rifle, or shotgun loaded with a ball or slug.
Coun. Eric Megarity, vice-chairman of the public safety and environment committee, said anyone who sees an armed individual near a public place should call the police.
"The worst thing you can do is aggravate a person carrying a weapon by suggesting that he or she should move off your property or away from a trail," Megarity said. "Let the police deal with it and they can decide if the person has rights to be hunting in the area."
Megarity suggests that anyone with concerns about hunting near the trail system should contact the city councillor in their ward and file an official complaint.
"If we start receiving a lot of complaints about this, it may be something we'll have to look into further," he said.
Tymowski said she wants to see the issue dealt with before the next deer season.
Runners, walkers, bikers and others who use the trails shouldn't have to worry about their safety every hunting season, she said.
"I would understand it if I were trying to jog through the woods during hunting season, but these are trails within city limits that the city itself encourages people to use all year," Tymowski said. "We shouldn't wait until someone gets hurt or killed to do something about this."

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources

Geographic location: MARYSVILLE, Fredericton, Greenwood Drive

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