Clarendon hunters fuming over land rights
Trouble is brewing ahead of Saturday's official start to the 2018 game bird hunting season, which runs until Sunday, September 23, as businessman Authnel Reid of Portland Bight, Clarendon, served notice last Friday that registered hunters like himself who are not aligned to any gun clubs would not allow themselves to be intimidated by outsiders who claim to lease property in the area during the annual bird-shooting season.
Reid was among hunters attending a forum hosted by the National Environment and Planning Agency at The Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
Describing himself as a traditional bird shooter who had long enjoyed the privilege of hunting in these areas and who was now at risk of being driven off, he said that this situation would not be tolerated.
Reid said: "Now we are having these gun club folks claiming they lease land - paid or imagined - [where] we shoot, our grandfather ... . These guys come from Kingston, and I want to be reasonable; put yourself in my position [and other] traditional shooters. Now when you lease it or claim you lease it, where are you expecting the guys from the area to go and shoot?"
Reid pointed out that there were at least eight members of his group (with seven new members looking to join) who were registered hunters but not inclined to join a gun club. He made it clear that they would continue to hunt in these areas and appealed to the two gun clubs located there to respect their rights.
"Gentlemen, Jackson Bay Gun Club, PWD Gun Club, be reasonable. It is not like the colonial days when you go and say stake your claim so we can't shoot. It is not going to work with us," declared Reid.
Law 'not necessarily right'
In response to interjections by some hunters that they were operating within the law and that the traditional hunters should join a gun club, the businessman gave the following answer.
"Gentlemen, the law is not necessarily right. Slavery was law. You got to be reasonable. There are people in the area [and] you can't tell them that they can't shoot and them born and grow here. What you expect them to do? Is trouble!
"We just stay in the area where we traditionally shoot. We don't go in the hills, and you come down (in the lowland area) and shoot. It's a vexing issue. More men are coming on who are more radical and you can't tell them that they can't shoot there because you lease it. It's not going to work!" warned Reid.