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Fish and Game denies request to reduce number of hunting days in Morro Bay 

After months of campaigning for tighter hunting rules in Morro Bay, environmental activist Mandy Davis did not receive the response she had hoped for from the Fish and Game Commission. The commission met last week to hear public comments about possibly reducing the number of hunting days in the Morro Bay estuary.

Bob Hattoy, Fish and Game Commission member, described the two meetings as heated. "There were a lot of passionate people with volatile opinions," he said.

Davis has been collecting signatures for months to limit the black brant hunting season from seven days a week to three during the three-month hunting season. She also wanted to reduce the area of the estuary in which hunting is allowed. And she's gained the official support of the city of Morro Bay, the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Los Osos Community Advisory Council, the Morro Bay Winter Bird festival, County Supervisor Shirley Bianchi, and many others.

Instead of reducing the number of hunting days, the commission moved the start-time up from 8 a.m. to 7 a.m. Davis said the additional hour of hunting is exactly the opposite of what she and her supporters wanted.

"It's pretty transparent that they thumbed their nose at the public," Davis said. Not only will it add more noise earlier in the morning but it will also take a toll on the geese that feed early in the morning, she said.

The commission did reduce the black brant hunting season from four to two weeks in Morro Bay.

Davis said despite the results, with the political support she has gained she is optimistic about eventual hunting regulation changes in the Morro Bay estuary. "They can't stonewall forever," said Davis.

-J.P.

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