Tradition not enough

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Beaufort County Courthouse was packed Monday night as the public came forward to voice its opinion for or against roadside hunting in the county.
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners is considering two proposals — one would ban all hunting from the rights of way of all public roads in the county; the second would provide an exemption for most roads in Richlands Township in the southeastern part of the county but ban roadside hunting in other areas of the county.
Supporters of the proposed ban spoke of the dangers associated with the practice.
Opponents cited tradition and the economy.
The practice of roadside hunting has already been banned in neighboring Pitt, Martin and Hyde counties. Pamlico County has restricted the practice to N.C. Highway 55 and N.C. Highway 306. Craven County also limits right-of-way hunting to specific areas. Many of those hunters turn to Beaufort County as a place to practice the method without restriction.
Citing safety concerns, Commissioner Hood Richardson had it right when he said, “You’re just as dead if you’re killed on a state highway as you are on a federal highway.”
While hunting surely provides an economic boom for Beaufort County and offers an opportunity for outdoorsmen to participate in a traditional sport, the safety of our residents must come first. We believe limited restrictions to curb the roadside practice will strike a fair balance between preserving the time-honored tradition of hunting while safeguarding our community’s most valuable natural resource — its people.