EDITORIAL: Put public’s safety first in public park deer hunt

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Deer are a nuisance.

But getting shot by an errant or drunk hunter while taking a hike in a park or sitting on your back porch is a whole lot more serious problem.

So Clifton Park officials considering allowing limited hunting in four town parks to cull the burgeoning deer population must put public safety above all else when deciding whether to move forward.

Under a preliminary plan, discussed at a recent public hearing, the town would allow 25 bow-hunters selected by a lottery to go into four town parks – Vischer Ferry Preserve, Garnsey Park, Veterans Park, or the Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve – for 22 days at the end of November to kill deer.

Such a program is rife with potential problems, not the least of which is that someone enjoying a late-fall hike on any of the park’s trails might get shot.

Remember: These are public parks first, hunting grounds second.

The proposed law addresses many safety concerns, such as screening of hunters who would be eligible for the hunting lottery.

Among the considerations is that all potential hunters must be licensed, attend a training session, and pass a proficiency test that includes hitting a 12-inch target from 20 feet on three out of five tries.

In addition, hunters should have no background that would indicate they might be irresponsible, such as past complaints against them.

There are also other rules in the proposal that include how close hunters can be to dwellings, roads, trails and other buildings.

Hunters also should be specifically prohibited from drinking alcohol while hunting. (Although that’s already in the state rules, town officials need to make that a priority).

Town officials also need to commit safety officers to the park during hunting hours to ensure that citizens aren’t inadvertently walking into a shooting range, that hunters are obeying the rules, and to be available to receive and act on complaints immediately.

Hunting can be a safe activity, even in a public park, and a valuable service to a community like Clifton Park in helping reduce deer populations.

But when expanding the practice to public areas — where visitors aren’t accustomed to encountering hunters and hunters aren’t used to being watchful for non-hunters — the town needs to bend over backwards to ensure everyone’s safety before moving forward.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion, Opinion

4 Comments
Michael Rumsey August 11, 2022
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“But getting shot by an errant or drunk hunter”  and “Hunters also should be specifically prohibited from drinking alcohol while hunting.” REALLY!!!???? This really offends me as a hunter for over 40 years. You should consider submitting an apology to the hunters that read this article. Very offensive and assuming. Maybe you need to broaden your range of hunters that you know. The hunters that I know(many) cherish the outdoors and wildlife as much as you. We know that these are delicate entities that we have the priviledge to enjoy in our life beyond the suburbia stereo typing of hunters opined in this artcle. Thank you for your concerns about being shot by degenerate hunter as opposed to going to your favorite mall with your head on swivel waiting for the next criminal attack.

Michael Rumsey August 11, 2022
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I really take offense to your first sentence in this article. “But getting shot by an errant or drunk hunter”???!!!  and this one “Hunters also should be specifically prohibited from drinking alcohol while hunting.”???!!!! I really take offense to that. I am not sure who your hunting contacts are, but that is totally wrong painting with a broad brush like that. Maybe you should consider an apology to the hunting delegation in the capital region. We love the outdoors and respect wildlife as much as you (maybe better because we don’t write accuations about tree huggers in suburbia that have no clue how to survive outside of grocerie stores)