CANNON BEACH — Hunters using either bows and arrows or shotguns with slugs will be allowed to hunt in the Ecola Creek Forest Reserve for the next five years.
Although hunting had been allowed temporarily for bow hunters only during the deer and elk season last fall, the Cannon Beach City Council agreed 4-1 last week to extend the hunting period five years. The council also decided to allow hunters who use shotguns with slugs as well.
Mayor Mike Morgan and City Councilors Sam Steidel, Nancy Giasson and Wendy Higgins approved the extension. Councilor Melissa Cadwallader opposed it.
“I know people don’t like (the idea of) hunting animals in the reserve, but it is a traditional cultural practice," Morgan said.
He said he supported the continuation of bow hunting and suggested that shotguns with slugs also be allowed. “A slug doesn’t travel," Morgan said.
“I think there is some interest in a phase-out over time," Morgan said later. “But that’s for a future council" to decide.
Hunting will be limited to the north side of the north fork of Ecola Creek and the west fork of the creek, which takes up about half of the 1,040-acre forest reserve.
Voters approved a $4 million levy in 2009 to purchase 805 forested acres east of the city limits. The land is contiguous to 200 acres the city acquired earlier in its watershed.
A stewardship plan also approved by the council allows hiking, horseback riding and bicycling in the reserve.
During the discussion prior to the vote, Steidel and Giasson said they opposed the discontinuation of hunting in the reserve. Higgins suggested studying the effects that hunting would have on the reserve first and returning to the issue in five years.
“Maybe we will hardly harm the hunters. Maybe we’re making a big deal out of it," Higgins said.
Hunters turned out in force during several meetings of a forest reserve advisory committee that was preparing the stewardship plan last year. The committee eventually recommended a five-year moratorium on hunting.
Herman Bierderbeck, district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the council that shotgun slugs had an effective range of 80 yards for killing an elk or a deer. The slugs travel about 150 yards, he said.