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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Hunting problem on the trail

I took the wife and daughter to the Weldon Spring trailhead for some bike time on December 29th. I was about 1.5 miles east of the trailhead when I spotted a camo bowhunter walking back to the parking lot. I also spotted some very fresh kills (raccoons, etc) left lying along the side of the trail. I turned around and told the family we needed to leave pronto, and being on a bike, I had plenty of time to get back before the hunter got close.

Now, I'm don't have anything against responsible hunting, but I was under the impression that as a state park, that sort of thing was rather verboten, especially the shooting of non-game critters.

What should I have done in this case? It's been bothering me for over a week now.
posted Jan 8 2007 11:06AM - merkin4, St Peters MO

I would contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and/or the Missouri Conservation Department. I wouldn't think what you saw would be legal......and if not, I'm sure the local conservation agent would like to know.
posted Jan 8 2007 12:01PM - Trek Biker, St. Joseph, MO

I wouldn't think what you saw would be legal

So what exactly did he see........a hunter walking on the trail? It's not illegal (or uncommon for that matter) for hunters to use the trail to get to one of the Conservation areas located along the trail. I don't understand why would seeing a bow hunter walking on the trail be enough to cause someone to stop their ride. As for the dead critters......are you certain that the bow hunter killed them?
posted Jan 8 2007 1:25PM - Jim, St. Thomas

From the MO State Parks (DNR) website: The discharging of firearms, BB guns, paintball guns, bows and arrows, sling shots or any devices that use burning powder, explosives, compressed gases, etc. is prohibited.

Also: No hunting or discharging of firearms is permitted.

Hard thing to determine perhaps......if you are all camo'd up carrying weapon....are you hunting or just passin thru?

Coons are inseason now though....not big deal to shoot a coon....as long as you don't use a spotlight.
posted Jan 8 2007 3:11PM - Trek

I know a lot of state parks have managed hunts, I went to one in Cuivre River State Park. There should have been some type of postings along the trail or at least posted at the trailhead.
posted Jan 8 2007 3:12PM - DougK

I believe you over reacted. The are (currently) managed hunts going on in MDC property, some adjacent to the Katy Trail. I saw plenty of bow hunters this past weekend and it did not deter me from a great 8 mile hike, not to mention I too wear cammo. The are specific rules about where hunts take place and distances from trails, hunters do, however, use the trails to get from point A to point B. Hunters have right to pursue their form of recreation just like hikers and bikers. They put up with noise from us and we should tolerate their presence and not treat them like we just saw a terrorist. Hunting and the sale of ammo and firearms provides the state, through taxes, money that is put back into the DNR and MDC that is used for conservation programs and maintenance. Just how often do other park/trail users contribute to these things? The Sierra Club learned long ago the birders and hikers don't have deep pockets and that opening up their club to fishermen and hunters had a positive impact on their bottomline and allows them to continue restoration work and other conservation projects. Teach your family what good things hunting does for wildlife management and conservation rather than instilling fear into your children at site of a man engaging in his hobby.
Sorry for the rant...
posted Jan 8 2007 7:03PM - Missouri Joe, O'Fallon, MO

All the land north of the location you described is part of the Weldon Spring Conservation Area. See this link for the Weldon Spring brochure that contains all the area rules.


I agree that you probably overreacted to some extent. The hunter had in no way caused you any "problem" or presented any visible threat by your account. It's these types of reactions that give hunters a bad name when most of the time it's not deserved. Obviously, I don't know whether this particular hunter was responsible or not, but I've ridden past rabbit hunters with dogs and shotguns on the Hamburg Trail that step to the side, smile and say hi as I pass.

I say live and let live, especially with a bowhunter walking on the trail back from his hunting spot.
posted Jan 8 2007 8:28PM - Ken, St. Charles

Hunting is prohibited on the Trail as it is a state park...but, remember, it is a very narrow
state park...just the width of the Trail in most places. So, a hunter can walk down the Trail,
and cannot shoot standing on the Trail, but the property alongside the Trail is private
property and, given the landowner's consent, it is perfectly legal to hunt on (within the
bounds of law otherwise.). Sharon
posted Jan 8 2007 8:36PM - sbikes, Kansas City

Hunters are the greatest conservationists.

People who live in cities almost over react to these situations. Its sad that some people
are so far removed from nature.

posted Jan 14 2007 5:26PM - Robert, Columbia

I'm a bike rider who also loves to hunt. In fact, one of the properties I hunt on borders the trail. At times, when the ground is muddy or the snow deep, I will walk a short piece of the trail to get to my hunting spot. My firearm is always unloaded, slung on my shoulder, and the action open. Don't worry about us hunters. We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to be safe and courteous.
posted Jan 24 2007 3:41PM - Pistolero45, Columbia, MO

Last fall I was riding the Katy trail on a moderately busy day when I saw two hunters. They were standing on the trail and appeared to be looking at something in the back of their pickup.

Cyclists and walkers were passing within a couple feet of them.

As I approached one hunter pointed his shotgun down and toward the middle of the trail, and with several pumps out came several unspent shotgun shells. Right as I and other people were passing. In fact, people had to swerve to get around him.

Didn't seem like a reasonable thing for him to do. Is this one of those things I shouldn't worry about, or did he violate a basic rule of gun safety?
posted Jan 25 2007 1:17PM - Brad, St Louis

The hunter was actually being safe. You should never, never, never, ever, leave unspent ammunition in a firearm. What you saw was a safety minded hunter.
posted Jan 25 2007 1:42PM - DougK, Troy

"What you saw was a safety minded hunter."

I wasn't concerned about him emptying his gun. It was the emptying of the gun while it was pointed in the general direction of people passing within a couple feet that I was wondering about. The hunter was standing on the right side of the trail with his gun pointed at the middle of the trail. Walkers and cyclists were within arm's reach, swerving to avoid him. Was it acceptable to be unloading his shotgun with other people near the barrel of the gun?
posted Jan 25 2007 2:11PM - Anonymous

Follow up: Was the hunter violating one of the basic rules promoted by the NRA:

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances
posted Jan 25 2007 2:17PM - brad, st louis

I'll start by saying that I am a hunter but I can't think of a reason to unload your gun while people are going by other than to be prick. Granted....he was being a fairly safe prick....but still a prick.
posted Jan 25 2007 2:39PM - Jim, St. Thomas

I actually bow hunted in one of columbia's parks near a bike trail this year and harvested a
young doe.

I had to drag her out and to the trailhead with lots of people around. One person walked
over to me and I thought oh great here comes the peta line. Instead he just thanked me
for thinning the herd and said it was a nice deer.

To give you some idea of the good work that hunters do last year about 300,000 deer
were harvested in missouri via gun and bow. Every doe will typically have one fawn when
she is 1.5 years old and twins every year after that for possibly 10 plus years. If people
didnt hunt and eat deer they would die of starvation and disease. This is much more
humane plus its really healthy protein that everyone can benifet from.

posted Jan 26 2007 3:56PM - Robert, Columbia

The Katie Trail runs through Weldon Springs Conservation Area. This is not a State Park, so hunting is allowed and is a very popular hunting area. There is a season for Racoons and they are hunted, often with dogs, in the Weldon Spring area. To see one killed could have been one that was wounded and never found by the hunter. As for managed hunts, most of these apply to the Busch Wildlife area (Across Hwy 94 from Weldon Spring). These managed hunts apply to Deer, Turkey and waterfowl. Weldon Spring also has managed Turkey and Deer hunts. It's important to note that single projectile guns are not allowed in either area with few exceptions. The managed deer hunts allow rifles and the shooting of a .22 cal rifle for racoons treed by dogs is allowed.

So, what you saw was perfectly legal. We all need to share our limited resources and be wary of each other.
posted Nov 21 2007 7:49PM - JJR, St. Charles

Racoons have been becoming overpopulated since fur prices have dropped about two
decades ago.

Many coons die of distemper and that is what you saw I am sure.
posted Nov 21 2007 7:55PM - Robert, columbia

Bow hunters are the safest hunters there are. You are obviously a dumbass liberal. Probably had a cheese burger that night. I guess you think cheeseburgers grow on trees. Nobody would waste a arrow on a raccoon. Besides they are nocturnal. He didn't kill that raccoon. Who cares what he killed? Good thing you left, he was probably really hunting bicyclists....
posted Oct 28 2013 8:45PM - Urarealidiot, St. Charles

Urarealidiot, peace be with you.
posted Oct 29 2013 4:33AM - The rainbow hippie liberal, St. Charles

I'm just happy to know that people are still reading forum discussions from six years ago.
posted Oct 29 2013 8:37AM - Ray (webmaster)

Me too! I sure like to see that one about horses on the trail keep popping up.
posted Oct 29 2013 9:12AM - Trek

This is as good (as Ray said 6 years later) as Duck Dynasty!! Hooya!!
posted Oct 29 2013 2:15PM - Pseudio

When did Sarah Palin and Barack Obama move to St. Charles, MO?
posted Oct 29 2013 7:22PM - Mitt Romney, Not in the White House

First of all the hunter knew you were there before you knew he was there. And second you are in missouri, people hunt. I'm sure if you would have talked to him he would have been friendly and told you what he was after. In regards to the dead animal, I doubt he left dead game on the trail. One because it's illeagl to not retrieve your game, and two because it is not legal to shoot with in 200 ft of the trail. That being said If he was up to no good he would not leave an animal he shot in view from the trail. I feel like you are a yuppy who should try a nice park in the city or something. There are lots of nice parks in the area. If seeing a hunter bothers you maybe you should try one of them.
posted Mar 23 2016 9:29AM - Anonymous, St.peters

Hey St. Pete it was in 2007. Nice of your to keep it going though. Ray thanks you and I thank you.
posted Mar 23 2016 4:48PM - Anonymous

Tags: Weldon Spring, Columbia, Weldon Spring Trailhead, Restaurants, Parking, Water, Other Trails, Animals and Plants, Hiking, Running, Events Modify Tags

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