Goose hunting on golf course, Nearby neighbors speak out.

February 20, 2006

Gunfire in a quiet neighborhood and shocked neighbors say the shooting was all planned. An Upstate golf course let hunters onto its property to kill geese, but neighbors said they were never warned about the possible danger in their own backyards.

Normally you will find golfers on the Pebble Creek Country Club golf course in Taylors, but Saturday, neighbors heard hunters, saw them shooting the geese and later found shotgun shells scattered around the golf course.

According to Bill Russell, who lives in the Pebble Creek Subdivision, "It sounded like several large explosions going off."

Thirteen year-old Whitney Wyatt lives across the golf course from Russell and says, "All of a sudden we hear one gunshot after another, it sounded like an explosion."

It was obviously anything but a quiet, relaxing Saturday evening for Pebble Creek neighbors. "We looked out the door to see what's going on and we saw the four guys in camouflage carrying guns running down the golf course," described Russell.

The hunters mission, to shoot and kill the Canada geese usually found on the golf course. According to neighbors, the problem was they were never told they would find hunters with shotguns and never expected to see them shooting right toward their homes, children and pets.

"It was really scary because they were just coming right at us, they were about 100 yards away," says Wyatt.

Russell says, "They were out there just blasting away, with total disregard that somebody's child or pets were running around out there."

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the new owner of the Country Club gave hunters permission to shoot the geese on his property, which is the golf course. Since the hunters had all the necessary permits, licenses, and it was goose season, Saturday's hunt was legal. However, the DNR also says the owner told them he contacted the homeowners in the area. Russell says that's simply not true. "He didn't notify me, nor did he notify any of my neighbors. The majority of the people wouldn't have been upset about it because if they knew it was going to happen, they could keep their children away from the windows."

Instead, kids like Wyatt watched the geese being killed, she says. "All of a sudden we just started seeing them fall from the sky and it was really gruesome and they were dragging them by their necks ...It's just kind of really sad."

The Country Club owner was unavailable for comment. Many neighbors say they understand the need to get rid of the geese, but wished they were warned with a letter instead of gunshots.

"It may have been legal , but it wasn't a very neighborly thing to do," Russell says.

Neighbors don't have to worry about the geese getting shot again, at least not legally. Goose hunting season ends February 15th.



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