Officials urging public to use caution when hunting or shooting near Canadian River

Officials urging public to use caution when hunting or shooting near Canadian River

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Open season for hunters starts tomorrow, and just in time for that, law enforcement officials have announced some changes for those who shoot and hunt near the Canadian River.

It's been the norm for years, for people to shoot and hunt in much of the land surrounding the Canadian River. But officials say unrestricted shooting in the area is now causing problems both for residents, and for those out to just have some fun.

The Canadian River off U.S. Highway 287 has long been an area where hunters and shooters fire their weapons.

But with recent complaints from residents in the area claiming barns and and homes have been struck by gunfire, the Potter County Sheriff, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Potter County Attorney have teamed up to clarify the law.

It is illegal to discharge a firearm in a public place.

"You go back and look at the definition of a public place and it shows the definition as being where a substantial group of the public has access to," says Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas.

Now, no shooting will be allowed within a two mile radius of the U.S. Highway 287 bridge, as it is considered a public place, meaning any shooting in that area qualifies as disorderly conduct.

But not everyone is excited about the new changes.

"I disagree with some of the hunting where they made the boundaries so far down," says Hunter Claude Saunders Jr. "I do kind of disagree with that as far as the hunting, but we'll take that with everything else. I don't really have a big problem with it."

"We understand their concerns," says Thomas. "Everybody's been told that they can go hunt down there but really there's no provision in anywhere that says you can or that you can hunt there, so that's been an issue."

Hunters should also be aware under Texas Parks and Wildlife, it is another offense if a person knowingly discharges a firearm and the bullet travels across a property line.

All in all, Sheriff Thomas says they have one thing in mind.

"It's really just an issue of we want to make the public as safe as possible."

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