Couple frightened by duck shooters at towpath

A COUPLE who felt the hail from gun cartridges rain down on them after two men shot a duck overhead along the Scarva towpath have called the hunters’ actions irresponsible.

A Banbridge man and his wife were walking along the popular public footpath when they were disturbed by two men from the other side of the railway tracks. The walkers said they could hardly believe it when the men fired a shot towards the towpath which killed a duck directly overhead.

The upset walker, who did not wish to be named, told the Leader, “I have a gun myself but would never dream of shooting in the direction of anywhere people could be walking.

“My wife was particularly scared when she could feel the hail from the cartridges raining down on us. These guys were no more than 25 or 30 yards away from us when they were shooting which shows they have no regard for the safety of anyone using the towpath.”

The hunters’ did not retrieve the duck after they shot it, something which also angered the walker. “They were just killing for the sake of killing,” he said.

Part of the area in which the incident happened is designated an Area of Scientific Interest and a Site of Local Nature Conservation Importance, a spokesperson for the Department of the Environment confirmed.

Councillor John Hanna, an avid shooter and member of the Canal Committee, said he was disgusted by the incident.

“I have been a shooting man all my life and cannot believe how irresponsible these people have been by shooting towards the public pathway,” he said.

“That is totally irresponsible behaviour and I know the council would take a very dim view of such an incident. It’s a question of public safety and public health. Any responsible gun owner would not have been shooting towards a public path. The entire shooting fraternity would take a dim view of this type of behaviour.”

Mr Hanna encouraged anyone who might witness such behaviour to report what they have seen to police.

A police spokesperson said the matter had not yet been reported to them and as such they could not make a comment.