The Town of Clifton Park is studying a proposed law to help manage the town’s deer population. About 60 townspeople attended a public hearing Monday night on a proposed law that would allow deer to be hunted with bows by a select group of 25 hunters for three weeks in November at four of the city’s parks. More than 20 people spoke at the two-hour public hearing.
Thomas Palmer of the city’s Deer Management Committee gave a presentation on their proposed plan at the start of the public hearing. He explained that 25 bow hunters would be selected via a lottery system and would have to pass a proficiency test.
Those selected will be allocated a plot of 50 acres within a park where they can fish; Fisher Ferry Reserve, Guarnsey Park, Veterans Park, or Duas Kiel Nature Reserve, during the three-week period at the end of the deer hunting season.
“The program we put together is an ethical and legal program, and we believe it is very safe,” Palmer said.
Palmer outlined some of the problems facing the town and the population due to the deer population, such as the destruction of the farm, the damage to the landscape, the cost to the town of an average of two to three deer per week being cleared of the road and the damage it could cause to vehicles in the event of a collision. He said there had been no incidents of braces in New York in the past three years
A recurring theme among speakers who opposed the legislation was safety. Many speakers who lived near parks were concerned about the possibility of a bow falling on their property, injuring someone or something that was not intended to be accidentally hit. There were also concerns about where a wounded deer might run after being injured, and where the hunter would leave the interior after the hunter removed it. A number of speakers who said they used the trails and trails in the various parks expressed concern that hunting continues while the parks are open.
“The Fisher Ferry area has become a bright spot for the city,” said resident Thomas Dembra. “Our experience with continuous duck hunting shows that the city has neither the means nor the will to protect the landowners adjacent to the nature reserve, or even to enforce your rules, which tell me that the expansion of hunting there has improved, you just make it less safe for us and our children who live in this area.” .
The city allows duck hunting for one week a year at the Fisher Ferry Reserve. Dembra explained that every year duck hunters leave the reserve and come to his property. He said he felt threatened by the fishermen, who he said often drink alcohol and shoot towards his house.
Several residents who spoke out in support of the deer mitigation plan said hunters did not want to be near trails or other people in parks because that would make hunting difficult for them.
“The fishermen know what they’re doing,” said resident and fisherman Mike D’Amelio. “I wouldn’t be fishing anywhere near a bike path, if I had 50 acres I would look at the topography map and look at any trees that would be available to me in that area as I’m going to that area. I wouldn’t go where that path is, you don’t want Deer to be where your way is. They want the way with the least involvement of people.”
D’Amelio said he went door to door and asked the property owners if they would let him fish on their property. He said it was denied. He explained that the legislation would allow the town to open the land.
“The only thing I really want to mention is that if you go ahead with this program you are promoting public safety,” said resident Carl Springell. “Because as some of the people here have said and we’ve seen that, where people during hunting season, in a state approved program for duck season, raise the bar and go in. This is a dangerous situation for hunters and for people to do and it’s not right. So I think as you go forward with the program, You consider enhancing public safety where it may be needed.”
The proposed plan for a vote will be considered at a future city council meeting.
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Categories: Clifton Park and Halfmoon, Saratoga County