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Judge dismisses lawsuit against hunting ban at Deer Lagoon

A lawsuit challenging Island County's ban on shooting at Deer Lagoon was dismissed in Island County Superior Court on Thursday.

The suit was filed on Nov. 10 on behalf of William Burnside Jr., a hunter who lives in Freeland, and the Washington Waterfowl Association, a nonprofit hunters' group that is based in Edmonds. The suit claimed the county violated the due process provisions of the Washington and United States constitutions, and said county commissioners adopted the restrictions on shooting at Deer Lagoon without conducting ballistic studies that would support the ban.

The lawsuit asked the court to repeal the ordinance that created the ban, and said the county hadn't shown that hunters using birdshot at the popular duck-hunting spot had ever jeopardized people, domestic animals or property near Deer Lagoon.

Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock ruled on Dec. 31 that the challenge was filed too late, county officials said late Thursday, but the judge also said the board of commissioners acted properly when passing the shooting ordinance, and the county was not in violation of state law protecting firearm rights.

John E. Justice, an attorney for the Washington Counties Risk Pool, represented Island County in the case.

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