Reporting Tom Reopelle
SAN DIEGO (CBS) — Feathers were flying in San Diego County on Friday after officials made a wild turkey shoot open to sport hunters of all ages.
KNX 1070′s Tom Reopelle reports the invitation to bring kids with guns into a county park has some animal rights advocates riled up.
Starting next year, licensed youngsters under age 18 will be allowed to hunt wild turkeys at the 3,800-acre Santa Isabel Preserve outside Cleveland National Forest in Julian.
Six kids participated along with adults in the first county-authorized turkey hunt back in March, but the 2012 event will be limited ten underage hunters each day accompanied by an adult.
The Board of Supervisors approved the two-day hunt on Wednesday despite criticism from activists who claimed the event will deny non-hunting visitors access to the area and needlessly harm wildlife.
“It establishes a framework for excluding the public from their own parks and preserves and allowing the possession and use of lethal weapons and the killing of normally protected animals,” said one opponent.
Supporters, however, pointed to the rapid increase of the wild turkey population and stressed that the hunt will be supervised and safe for young hunters.
The San Diego chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation estimates there are more than 20,000 wild turkeys in the county, the Associated Press reported.
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