Charlevoix County Parks & Recreation Director Ross Maxwell approached the Charlevoix County Building & Grounds Committee, on Wednesday June 12, with the issue of whether hunting should be allowed in county parks.
Specifically cited was the Porter Creek Natural Area near Boyne City, which the Charlevoix County Parks & Recreation Committee decided, in late-May, should allow deer hunting only and should include restrictions such as registering hunters with the county for the dates they wish to hunt, and limiting hunting activity to between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 each year.
“Personally, I think we should just allow hunting,” Maxwell said. “If we have problems we’ll we can change it later on.”
Charlevoix County Clerk Cherie Browe said the county had already received a legal opinion stating that hunting is automatically allowed on governmental lands unless it has been specifically outlawed or otherwise regulated.
Charlevoix County Commissioner and Building & Grounds Committee member Larry Sullivan (R-District 6) said the problem is that people use high-powered rifles to hunt deer.
“Those bullets will go a mile or further [sic]; a shotgun has very short range,” he said…. “If you’re going to allow for deer hunting which is, again, typically high-powered rifles, what’s the problem with shotguns?”
Sullivan added, “I can see no hunting at Whiting Park. The use there is tremendously different.”
Charlevoix County Commissioner and Building & Grounds Committee member Richard Gillespie (R-District 5) said he does not want to see yet another ordinance created.
“It may be worthwhile considering developing an ordinance for Thumb and Whiting (parks),” Sullivan said.
Maxwell said he has had a sign up that reads “No Hunting” but Browe said the sign is not legal unless there is an ordinance behind it.
Gillespie said you could erect a sign that reads “Please No Hunting.”
Charlevoix County Commissioner and Building & Grounds Committee member George T. Lasater (R-District 1) said, back when he was the county sheriff, he only had issues with people hunting where they weren’t supposed to once or twice per year but not specifically in the areas discussed.
Sullivan said the issue needs to be investigated to ensure that unenforceable rules are not being posted as though they were the law.
The building and grounds committee agreed to have the matter researched by civil counsel.