Many apparently don't know that the lake is ringed by public game lands that are available for public hunting with a paid permit.
The interaction came to head Friday after two dog owners said their pets were shot and killed by arrows they believe were fired by a deer hunter.
"It's looking more and more like it was something that was done intentionally, and the dogs probably came up, you know, unsuspecting," dog owner Andy Maddigan told ABC 11.
Maddigan's rescue dog, Noelle, was one of the two killed.
Maddigan's wife was with a neighbor, and the neighbor's dog Lacy, walking along the lake when Noelle took off.
They immediately assumed the Pointer mix had picked up the scent of a deer; Lacy took off after her.
Falls Lake is ringed by public games lands that can be used by any licensed hunter who buys a permit.
But Maddigan, his wife, and the other dog owner didn't know that.
So, when the dogs didn't return Friday night, the owners were worried.
The next morning their worry turned to grief when a hunter found Noelle dead with an arrow wound to her leg.
Maddigan and his wife couldn't help but ponder her death.
"The loss of blood probably put her in a condition of shock pretty soon, so we're hoping and thinking - or believing - that she didn't suffer that much," Maddigan said. "But at that point, I wanted to believe that perhaps it was some sort of an accident."
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Then on Monday, Lacy's body was discovered nearby under a pile of leaves.
She too had been killed by an arrow, apparently at the same time as Noelle.
Maddigan said he knew then the two deaths weren't accidents.
"The fact that it had been covered up, attempted to conceal it with leaves, it was pretty clear," he said.
The Maddigan's had Noelle less than a year.
They originally planned to foster the dog after losing another dog they had for 10 years.
But they quickly decided to keep her.
"It didn't take very long to fall in love with Noelle," Maddigan said. "She was a really, really sweet dog, and we miss her already. And I thought every day would be a little bit easier but, you know, it hasn't been."
Now he's concentrating on informing others about the commingling of hunters and hikers and dog walkers.
And he's pleased to see that some who walk the trails are taking to social media to encourage Wake County leaders to post signs warning that lethal weapons are legally in use all along the trails.
"That's kind of a recipe for something happening that you'd want to avoid," he explained. "And that's what our purpose is really trying to hopefully prevent - some tragedy from happening to somebody in the future."
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