Sportsmen's bid for shooting range near Gillis Falls Reservoir is opposed Neighbors fear noise, harm to animals

April 08, 1993|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

The Carroll County Sportsmen's Association again encountered nothing but opposition to a proposed outdoor shooting range, this time in the Gillis Falls Reservoir area, at a public meeting last night at South Carroll High School.

About 30 people turned out for the meeting. Many just listened, but others expressed strong opposition to establishing a range off Grimville Road close to a horseback-riding area.

Bob Bullock, who lives on Flag Marsh Road near the site, said he objected to the range because of the noise.

"We live in that little valley, and if you make any kind of noise, you get an echo and it's just terrible," he said. "We've been harassed by hunters and others. They shoot deer and leave the carcasses just laying around. You have kids that ride back there."

Shots are fired at all hours of the day and night, said Virginia Centi, a Grimville Road resident. She said she fears the range would just attract more irresponsible people with guns.

Helen Witte, who lives next door to the proposed range site, was worried about the long hours that it would be open -- from 9 a.m. to sunset daily.

"That's an awful lot of shooting unless you're going to give us earmuffs," she said.

Also of concern was the wildlife in the area. Debra Harrison held up a bag of feathers from a barn owl that had been shot by someone and just left on the ground.

"I bury all kinds of birds that have been shot back there," she said. "We have owls, hawks and a blue heron. You'll kill all these animals."

Members of the association attempted to answer residents' questions and calm their fears, but that didn't seem to mollify the audience.

"We want to get this shooting in a controlled area and off the farms and back lots and out of the woods," said Steve Scherer, CCSA president. "Safety is our No. 1 concern."

Neither could Lt. Louis W. Ritter of the Maryland Natural Resources Police quiet residents' anger over illegal shooting. Several residents said they have called repeatedly about problems with no result.

"The problems you're talking about are not insurmountable," Lieutenant Ritter said. "There are a lot of good indoor and outdoor ranges around, and they're not as horrifying as you think they are."

The association has suggested sites at Hoods Mill and Union Mills, but residents in both areas wanted no part of the idea.

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