NORTH ROYALTON – Safety and law officials explained the implementation of the upcoming deer bow hunting program and fielded questions from a crowd of 100 residents and hunters during an informational community meeting July 18.
In his opening remarks, Law Director Tom Kelly explained the rules and regulations surrounding this issue were drafted with one focus in mind: safety.
“This is all coming down to a question of safety,” he said. “It’s an experiment, a work in process. We’re hoping for a successful outcome but part of that success will be determined almost entirely by the issue of safety.”
The $150 municipal hunting fee and the possibility of injured deer wandering into neighboring properties were two top concerns expressed by the crowd.
“Who came up with the $150?” one man asked, leading to an applaud from many.
“I’m an avid bow hunter. I commend the city for addressing this, the problem is serious. For me, I can go to Hinckley and it costs nothing. In North Royalton, it’ll cost $600 to take my three boys. I just want to know how you justify that number?” another person asked.
“I’m a little sticky on this $150,” another said, again resulting in clapping and chuckles. “Where does it go when it leaves my pocket?”
Officials explained the fee, something agreed upon by all six communities where bow hunting is being instituted as a form of nuisance abatement – Royalton, Strongsville, Broadview Heights, Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills – will go directly into the general fund to cover administrative costs.
This program, which differs from regular hunting, is extensive, resulting in quite a bit of added duties by the police department, Assistant Law Director Donna Vozar explained, which will be processing bow hunting applications, inspecting property and stands.
“The whole goal of this program is to help reduce the number of deer. To make sure it is safe to do that, police officers will be spending time and police officer time is a lot of money,” she said.
Several had questions pertaining to wounded deer wandering off the designated hunting site and onto neighboring property.
Per this program, hunters must inform adjacent property owners they will be hunting. Police Chief John Elek recommended they also get permission then to come onto the property should an injured deer wander, as trespassing is prohibited in Royalton.
But what if a hunter wants to follow the blood trail past adjacent properties where he or she no longer has permission to be, one resident asked.
“You can’t wander onto property without permission. (The hunter) can’t follow,” the chief explained.
Contacting the police when an injured deer wanders is something one resident mentioned and the chief agreed was a good idea.
Another resident wanted to know what the penalties are for trespassing, and Vozar explained it is punishable up to one month in jail and a $250 fine.
Someone asked the city if it has another plan if bow hunting isn’t successful.
“After 40 years of doing this (hunting), I think you’re opening a can of worms. Do you have a Plan B?” he said.
“If it doesn’t work, we will go back to the way it used to be,” Elek answered.
Deer culled will be tracked by the police to monitor the program’s success.
One audience member had a word of warning for hunters encouraging them to hunt safely, make good decisions and be respectful to property owners and law enforcement.
“I just want to remind everyone this is an experiment,” he said. “You don’t want to be the one person that blows it for everyone else. Please think about that.”
The full list of rules, regulations and forms will be available on the city’s police department website by Monday, July 25, at northroyalton.org/en-US/Police-Department.aspx.