A two-day wild turkey hunt for youth at the Santa Ysabel East Open Space Preserve will go on as scheduled this weekend, in light of a judge's decision Tuesday to deny a request for a temporary restraining order by the Animal Protection and Rescue League.
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The hunt, which will take place on the 3,800-acre Santa Ysabel Preserve and include youngsters supervised by experienced adult hunters, was approved on a 3-2 vote by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors earlier this year.
The event is aimed at teaching children about the outdoors, but activists such as attorney Bryan Pease call the hunt "cruel" and "unfair."
Pease, a lawyer for the animal rights group, said Judge Lorna Alksne ruled there was insufficient evidence of irreparable harm if the hunt was to take place. However, the question of whether the event violates the California Environmental Quality Act will be litigated at a later time, he said.
"This is a safe place for people, plants and animals
it's shut down this weekend because they're shooting turkeys
that's irreparable harm," Pease said.
Pease also argued that the Board of Supervisors, who approved the event in January, should not have done so without an environmental impact report. In the end, Pease was denied.
A half-dozen young hunters took part in the event last year at William Heise County Park, near Julian, but county officials wanted to move it to a larger and less-used venue a few miles away to lessen conflicts with other park visitors. The preserve will be closed to non-hunters while the kids go after the turkeys.
Supervisor Greg Cox, who voted with the majority, said the hunt was a limited event that does not change the definition of a preserve.
Supporters of the hunt say there are 20,000 wild turkeys in San Diego County. The hunt will be limited to 20 participants.
Pease said he plans to take the issue to court again after the hunt takes place.
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