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Residents are worried about wayward hunters

ArleeSue Borgman stands near the spot on her Clinton property where family members found hunters trespassing near homes that are only hundreds of yards away. - Spencer Webster / The Record
ArleeSue Borgman stands near the spot on her Clinton property where family members found hunters trespassing near homes that are only hundreds of yards away.
— image credit: Spencer Webster / The Record

CLINTON — For years the Schultz family has looked the other way when hunters used their wooded lands to hunt.

There was a lot of land and a lot of trees; about 180 acres worth on their property near Heggenes Road.

That has all changed. Hunting is no longer safe because the family’s acreage has been chopped up and sold, and homes have been built where sportsmen once roamed the woods.

ArleeSue Borgman, one of the Schultz children, said hunters haven’t stopped coming, however. Some continue to walk the property and trespass without the family’s permission.

It was a lot safer to hunt on the land years ago, she said, when the houses were few and far between.

Borgman currently owns

35 downward-sloped acres of that original 180 acres of land. She got the land after her mother, Winona Schultz, passed away in 2001.

It took only a few short years before houses began popping up around Borgman’s property, which sits close to Humphrey Road.

There have been times she’s seen headlights through the thin woods of her L-shaped property from cars traveling along the road.

Borgman’s daughter, Cassandra Dargitz, lives close by.

Early in the afternoon on New Year’s Day, Dargitz noticed something suspicious. It was a black Nissan Maxima parked nearly out of view from Linda Lane.

Dargitz investigated the car and found the keys in the ignition and the interior was spotless. The discovery blew a hole in her theory that it had been stolen and dumped on her mother’s property.

“I left a note on inside the vehicle on their seat for them to call me,” Dargitz said. She also called the police.

The car’s owner never called.

But on Jan. 5, after a day of shopping on the mainland, Dargitz saw the same car in the same location. This time, there were .22 shells on the seat.

So Dargitz called the police again and her husband Duane Dargitz put on a hunting jacket and went to confront the hunters.

He found two men in their 20s in street clothes about ready to leave.

“There was a .22 rifle with a scope on it between them, not even concealed,” Duane Dargitz said.

“I stopped them from leaving and told them they were trespassing and that they were not welcome to come back. Rifles are not allowed in Island County and we weren’t in season,” he said.

“They told me they didn’t want any trouble.”

Dargizt said the men had been hunting in an area just 200 yards from three homes.

“The thing that scared me is if they had shot the wrong way, they could have shot a kid,” Dargitz said.

Dargitz, 36, is a lifelong hunter. He has posted the property numerous times, But each time, the signs have been taken down, he said.

Todd Berry, a Freeland hunter, said hunters who don’t follow the rules put all hunters in a bad light.

“Hunters should always know where they are and other things, such as buildings, animals and houses,” Berry said.

Hunters should get permission from property owners before crossing their land, he said, and added that deer season closed Dec. 31.

“Even if you got permission once before from a property owner, always call every time before you go out so they know you are out there,” he said.

“I know my surroundings, especially at Deer Lagoon,” Berry said. “We are always really careful; never shooting toward the road or houses, and waiting for people to pass before shooting.”

Island County Sheriff’s Office officials said it is illegal to hunt on private property without permission.

“We will absolutely respond to and take action on potential illegal trespass issues,” said Island County Undersheriff Kelly Mauck. “It is definitely a concern for us.”

“The other issue with regard to enforcement is a hunter can start on one piece of property and end up on another,” Mauck said. “We’re one of the densest-populated counties in Western Washington.”

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or swebster@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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