Illegal Hunting at Baton Rouge Parks Spooks Cyclists

December 31, 2014

The Baton Rouge, La., parks department is putting up signs in a few parks and conservation areas to remind people that it’s illegal to hunt there.

Corn was recently found near the bike trail at Hooper Road Park, BREC spokeswoman Cheryl Michelet told The Advocate.

Hunters bait deer with corn. “You don’t put corn out for squirrels and rabbits,” said Baton Rouge Area Mountain Bike Association president Bob Walker.

He said he asked BREC and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to do something about hunters in the park – especially the piles of corn seen along the bike trail – after other riders who use the Hooper Road and Comite River Park mountain bike trails told him they’d had problems. Those are the only public mountain bike trails in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Mountain biker Drew Sutton said he sometimes hears gunshots. “Any time I hear gunshots, I’m just thinking, `Please don’t shoot me,”‘ he said.

Hunting is not common in BREC parks. Park and wildlife officials cannot recall anyone ever being shot by a hunter in a park.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries gets a few complaints each year about people hunting in the BREC parks, said Capt. Len Yokum.

Several weeks ago, a dog walker saw a deer stand in a BREC park. By the time wildlife and fisheries agents responded, the stand had been moved, Yokum said, but agents are keeping an eye on the area to try to catch the hunter.

Michelet said deer stands are rarely found. When they do, she said, they are usually in little-used parts of parks or areas recently bought by the city-parish.

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