Duck hunting on Tomales Bay raises debate

10/18/2012

Waterfowl hunting in Tomales Bay opens Saturday for the season, and two camps, one pushing for a ban on hunting, the other endorsing the state-regulated and historic pastime, are gearing up. A newly formed group, Action Tomales Bay, has argued that hunting in the 483-acre Tomales Bay Ecological Reserve disrupts the soundscape, threatens public safety and unfairly targets birds attracted to the adjoining, federally protected Giacomini Wetlands. Last week its members touted the discovery by the Department of Fish and Game that the reserve’s western access is located entirely on private property. A new map—the second revision in so many weeks—labels the area as “private access.” The only public access is on Highway One, north of Point Reyes Station.

Inverness resident Scott McMorrow created an online petition over the weekend to support hunting in the reserve—“in the spirit of creating a dialogue that expresses all sides.” Fish and Game officials say they are listening to people and gathering information before deciding whether to propose prohibiting hunting in the reserve; regulatory changes must be submitted to the Fish and Game Commission, which reviews regulations every two years.