By Casey Neill
Sue Paterson fears Warburton mountain bike trail riders could meet the same fate as her son, Gary.
He took his dog Ace for a walk off Woods Point Road in the afternoon on 19 February, 1999.
“My son was shot from six meters away, down a bank, up a road, and was wearing a white flannelette shirt with red stripes on it,” she said.
“If they’ve decided they’re going to put pushbike riders out there in the bush, then they should revoke that area as hunting area.
“That land should be changed before someone gets shot.
“They can’t say it hasn’t happened before, because it has.”
Ms Paterson said Gary was three weeks from his 21st birthday when he died.
“All they’re talking about is traffic and parking,” she said.
“Is it so long ago that they’ve forgotten that they can’t put hunters and recreationists in the same area?
“A precedent has already been set in the valley.
“At the moment we have a massive deer problem and that is attracting hunters from down town.”
Yarra Ranges Council acting environment and engineering director, David Harper, said the safety of all users of the proposed trails, the State Forest and Yarra Ranges National Park was an important consideration when planning the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination.
“The issue of deer shooting in the area is something Yarra Ranges Council is certainly aware of and is working closely with DELWP and Parks Victoria to develop solutions to address the concerns of deer hunting and ensure the safety of riders, visitors and hunters,” he said.
“Deer shooting and management is a recognised state-wide issue and a Victorian Deer Management Strategy is currently being developed by DELWP and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.
“Council has been involved in the development of this strategy”.