NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Police will get final say on which parcels are sanctioned for deer hunting and how big those areas are under terms of a proposed law allowing bow and crossbow hunting within the city limits.
The measure, which could be approved by City Council next month when it reconvenes, is designed to lift hunting restrictions on certain areas as long as they are deemed large and safe enough for hunting.
Law Director Andrew Crites stressed that the measure, which is being introduced by Councilman Robert Olesen, R-4th Ward, is not intended as a “culling” law, which generally aims to reduce the number of deer through the use of controlled hunting.
But reducing the deer population is a benefit of the law, and it is a less-costly option than the steps some cities have taken. Some have hired sharpshooters.
“Sharpshooters can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000,” Councilman Dennis Boose, D-2nd Ward, said.
Olesen added the benefits won’t be immediate.
“It could take up to five years to actually see a (meaningful) thinning of the herd,” Olesen said.
The growing deer population has created residential and property damage, and has led to accidents involving vehicles as well. Police Chief Michael Freeman has estimated there were at least 90 vehicle-deer crashes in 2011 around the city.
Requests by property owners wishing to register their land for bow-hunting may be rejected for reasons ranging from proximity to homes, condos, apartments or businesses, as well as schools, parks and day-care centers.
“Each parcel would be judged on its own merits,” Crites said.
“We could also revoke previous agreements (permissions) if a problem arose after the agreement was in place,” Freeman said.
Hunters would have to be state licensed and have prior written permission of property owners to enter their land. Hunters would also be required to hunt from a height of at least 8 feet above the ground. That elevation could be from a tree stand or hunting platform.
No hunting would be allowed from ground level.
It was also decided by the committee that no designated hunting area may be smaller than five acres.
Property owners could register a single parcel of land five acres or more, or combinations of up to four contiguous parcels of land totaling five or more acres.
Parcels of land would have to be registered for hunting every year.
Violations of the ordinance would be deemed a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200.
The Safety Committee plans to meet once more to finalize details of the hunting ordinance before it is brought to Council.
City officials anticipate the measure will be approved in time for local hunters to take advantage of the new law.
Archery season for hunting deer opens Sept. 24 and runs to Feb. 5.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.