MILTON, DEC. 6 - Last month, a woman was struck by bullet fragments while biking in a New Hampshire park. Although she has since recovered from her injuries, the incident raised questions about the safety of the recent Blue Hills deer hunt in Massachusetts.
State Representative Bill Driscoll Jr. today expressed his fear that Milton is not immune from this kind of unfortunate incident. "What's most disturbing is that the woman was not mistaken for a deer but, rather, was in the background beyond where the hunter was aiming," Driscoll noted.
Driscoll's office has long expressed concerns regarding the possibility of similar accidents occurring in the Blue Hills Reservation. The minimum discharge setbacks (boundaries for where weapons can be used during hunting) in the Blue Hills are only 150 feet from roads and 500 feet from houses.. Bullets can travel much farther than either of these distances, and Driscoll believes that this poses a grave safety issue due to the fact that the Blue Hills is surrounded and intersected by neighborhoods and roadways.
"The Blue Hills are unique and special for several reasons, chief among them being the proximity of multi-use conservation land so close to an urban center, several suburbs, and literally in the back yards of more than a few residents," Driscoll stated. "I hope this is the last year that the list of multi-uses for the Blue Hills includes public hunting. It is simply and quite seriously not the place for it."
Driscoll explained that he and his staff were continuing to work on the issue on several fronts, and in recent meetings with DCR had succeeded in getting some of the setbacks redrawn. "None of this is good enough, though, and I remain committed to finding solutions that don't jeopardize the safety of our community."