A simmering dispute over safety and trespassing has bow-and-arrow hunters in the Angeles National Forest and some San Dimas Canyon residents up in arms.
Residents are upset that the hunters cut across their property to hunt deer and are afraid that a bystander might be injured.
Hunters, on the other hand, say they are being harassed by people who just do not like hunting.
The residents' complaints led to a meeting last week with hunters and city, county and federal officials. The hunters agreed to stay off private land, and city officials agreed to post signs indicating where hunting is and is not allowed, said Don Stikkers, district ranger for the forest's Mt. Baldy District.
Hikers and hunters have used a U.S. Forest Service road through the canyon for 50 years and have the right to continue, he said.
Bow-hunting season begins in mid-October and ends Jan. 31. State and federal laws prohibit hunting within 150 yards of a public area. But sheriff's deputies acknowledge that because of the drought, animals wander down to the residents' homes seeking food and water.
Residents still weren't happy after the meeting. "Absolutely nothing was solved," said Jo Richards of Terrebonne Avenue. "No one knows exactly who owns what. It's a big mess. They've given hunters every right. Our safety meant nothing."
Richards, who owns a 4 1/2-acre lot, said the "hills are my back yard. These homes are not on regular city lots. The mountains are privately owned up here." Richards said that she and other property owners plan to research further what access rights are allowed where.
Humboldt Court resident Kathy Curtis told the City Council on Nov. 13 that hunters rip down no-trespassing signs. She also displayed a bow, which she said she found in the front yard of her two-acre lot. "My main concern is my kids. I don't want my family hurt," she said.
Curtis said that hunters follow deer trails and that some trails go across private property. "I had one man come in my back yard with a stocking over his face, a net over the stocking, and dressed in camouflage," she said. "It was scary to see. He was crossing the yard looking for deer."
But John C. Scruggs, a state Fish and Game Department hunting safety instructor, said "hunters have been tremendously harassed." He said residents call the San Dimas Sheriff's substation several times a day.
Hunters have complained that residents let the air out and slash tires, and set booby traps along trails, said Joe Dotterer, president of the California Bowman Hunters and State Archery Assn.
Sheriff's officials said they were not aware of vandalism to hunters' vehicles.