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Rocker Huey Lewis baits ducks to stop hunting near his Montana property

November 27, 2009 | 10:37 am

Huey Lewis and the News perform at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.
Musician Huey Lewis is in the news. He and several of his Montana neighbors have installed duck feeding stations along a waterway near their properties to effectively stop waterfowl hunting in the area, the Associated Press reports.

At issue is the Mitchell Slough, which the Montana Supreme Court ruled a public waterway, subjecting it to the state's stream access laws. Those who live along the 15-mile tributary to the Bitterroot River contend that it is a man-made feature and not subject to the public access regulations.

Lewis said that he and other area residents -- who include investor Charles Schwab -- began placing feeders along the slough about two months ago, contending that the waterway is too close to homes for safe hunting.

"I'm feeding ducks all over the place -- many of my neighbors are," Lewis said. "The reason is, the Supreme Court decision has changed everything here, and now we have public access. And most of us believe the Mitchell is unsuitable for duck hunting."

It is not legal to hunt waterfowl in an area that has bait stations for birds.

The feeders have come as a surprise to some. Missoula duck hunter Ron Pense saw Lewis' feeders as he was wading up the slough on Tuesday.

"It's attracted every duck in the area," Pence said. "Legally, if I know where a bait pile is, I can't hunt around there or I'll get cited."

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials know of the feeders. "We've been aware of it pretty much since he did it," FWP Capt. Jeff Darrah said. "Federal law says you can't hunt a field that's been baited. That's his way of saying you can't hunt here."

FWP officials have been meeting with landowners and public access advocates to try to establish rules for duck hunting and for passing through the slough.

"We're going to take a look at waterfowl hunting on Mitchell Slough," Darrah added. "There may be places where it's not appropriate, but some areas may be. We're not willing to say it's closed yet."

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: Huey Lewis and the News perform at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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