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Proposed hunting in neighborhood concerns homeowners
By: Genevieve Curtis
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Neighbors in North Las Cruces said they're concerned the federal government is trying to allow hunting in their back yards.
It's the kind of community that looks well-suited for a postcard -- barely outside the city limits of Las Cruces, the community has mountain peaks, lush pecan trees and horse stables nestled along the Rio Grande.
Except that residents like Tim Severns fear the echoing sound of gunshots will pierce their peace.
The U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission is considering a proposal that would allow deer and bird hunting as well as target practice in the federal strip of land along the Rio Grande. But it just happens to be feet from some people's front doors and others' back doors.
"When you hear gunshots out here, no matter what time of day it is, it's the first thing that comes to your mind when you've had a bullet enter your home," said Severns.
Severns' home has already taken hits from the stray bullets of illegal hunters and game shooters.
He showed KFOX14 places where the bullets have come within inches of going through a window and into his living room.
He's not alone.
"In their homes they've got bullet holes, they've got their cars that have been peppered with shotgun pellets, so there's a big concern," said Severns, speaking of some of his neighbors who live even closer to the proposed hunting area.
Neighbors are up in arms about the proposal.
"The IBWC, who's responsible for managing the land out here, they put a proposal together that would allow hunting out here. You can see we've got residences, we've got business, we've got livestock -- that really is not addressed in that proposal," said Severns.
Severns said people are concerned that next time it won't be a home or a car that gets hit by a stray bullet; it'll be a person or an animal.
Plenty of people own horses and other livestock that graze in the area, and people often ride their horses in the area. Residents are concerned about the risk they will be in if hunters and target shooters flood the area with the spray of bullets.
Severns said the terrain makes it difficult for hunters to see what's fair game and what's not.
"You wouldn't be able to see the homes over here, you wouldn't be able to see the livestock that graze and feed over there," said Severns.
Severns said he can see what's attractive about the land for hunters and he said he enjoys hunting as well -- but he just doesn't want to do it in his front yard.
"If you don't live in this area, and you're not aware of the residences, you're not aware of the homes, you're not aware of the people that live out here -- especially with target shooting -- and you miss or you're shooting beyond the vegetation and you don't see what's back there -- it's a big life-safety issue," said Severns.
KFOX14 asked the IBWC for a comment but have not received a response.