Bike track warning

Sue Paterson fears Warburton mountain bike trail riders could meet the same fate as her son, Gary.

He took his dog Ace for a walk off Woods Point Road in the afternoon on 19 February, 1999.

“My son was shot from six meters away, down a bank, up a road, and was wearing a white flannelette shirt with red stripes on it,” she said.

“If they’ve decided they’re going to put pushbike riders out there in the bush, then they should revoke that area as hunting area.

“That land should be changed before someone gets shot.

“They can’t say it hasn’t happened before, because it has.”

Ms Paterson said Gary was three weeks from his 21st birthday when he died.

“All they’re talking about is traffic and parking,” she said.

“Is it so long ago that they’ve forgotten that they can’t put hunters and recreationists in the same area?

“A precedent has already been set in the valley.

“At the moment we have a massive deer problem and that is attracting hunters from down town.”

Yarra Ranges Council acting environment and engineering director, David Harper, said the safety of all users of the proposed trails, the State Forest and Yarra Ranges National Park was an important consideration when planning the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination.

“The issue of deer shooting in the area is something Yarra Ranges Council is certainly aware of and is working closely with DELWP and Parks Victoria to develop solutions to address the concerns of deer hunting and ensure the safety of riders, visitors and hunters,” he said.

“Deer shooting and management is a recognised state-wide issue and a Victorian Deer Management Strategy is currently being developed by DELWP and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

“Council has been involved in the development of this strategy”.

1 COMMENT

  1. If hunters are not going to do it, who , pray tell is going to keep the plague levels of Sambar down it the area? Council??? I think not. When vineyards, orchards and small farms are struggling to keep their heads above water the last thing they need is vermin (and lets not beat around the bush here, as that is what deer are) eating their profits. If anything the Yarra Ranges NP should be opened up for responsible hunting. Anyone who has walked the O’Shannassy Aquaduct track between Don road and the O’Shannassy damn of late will testify to the amount of damage being caused.
    The responsibility is not solely on the people hunting. Hunters are expected to plan ahead, ring GMA and DWELP , the Police etc etc.. so why is it unrealistic to educate people coming to the park that hunting is happening in there area? 99.999% of hunters are responsible, ethical outdoors people, who genuinely care about the native environment. Whilst I have sympathy for the tragic loss of anybodies kin under such horrible circumstances it is important not to make knee jerk reactions to isolated accidents. People die on the roads every day but we don’t ban driving. It boils down to education. Of all.
    The ‘Nanny State’ mentality that is beginning to prevail must not be allowed to gain too much ground where we live. I, and I think I speak for the majority of residents, live where I do because I wish to enjoy some degree of freedom from the rat race. Long may this prevail.
    On the issue of the MTB trail conflicting with hunting. The simple fix is to do as has been implemented in the area of Big Pats Creek and towards Noojee. ie to have a no hunting exclusion area either side of the road/track. Couple this with signage at the trail heads to let people know not to stray from the designated MTB tracks unless they are versed in hunting/walking in wildness areas. There are idiots in EVERY walk of life but lets wake up here!! Apply some common sense and let everyone enjoy whichever outdoor pursuit they choose equally.

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