should we allow more hunting in the city?

We’ll be voting on a change to city ordinance on Wednesday, April 2 (regular Tuesday meeting moved to Wednesday due to the election on Tuesday) that would allow the discharge of firearms in certain outying areas of the city. I’d like to hear feedback from De Pere residents on this. If we allow it, we can also place whatever restrictions would seem reasonable. These are the restrictions under consideration:

  1. The property upon which the discharge is to occur is contiguous and adjacent to property in a neighboring community upon which the discharge of firearms is permitted.
  2. The property upon which discharge is to occur is not platted and located in a R-1, Single Family Residence District or Conservancy District.
  3. Written permission of the property owner must be obtained.
  4. Shotguns only are allowed to be discharged; slugs as ammunition are prohibited.
  5. Discharge less than 100 yards from any structure, public park or trail and less than 50 yards from the centerline of any roadway is prohibited.

About the restrictions, #1 basically says that if your property buts up against land in Rockland or Ledgeview (or other municipality) and they allow hunting, then it would be okay on your land. #4 basically rules out gun deer hunting. We don’t have to use all of the above restrictions, and of course we can add more if they are appropriate.

This request was brought forward by Bob Janssen, who owns a 120 acre farm at 3234 Old Janssen Trail. I visited him today to see his land and talk about the issue. He doesn’t hunt any more, but he’d like to allow his family to hunt turkeys.

If you’d like more details about this issue, the agenda packet for Wednesday’s meeting contains Mr. Janssen’s original letter, a memo from city staff, along with maps and diagrams that show the affected area.

De Pere municipal code 8-2(a)(2) already allows for the discharge of firearms “for use in the hunting of migratory birds and waterfowl in that portion of the Fox River contiguous to unincorporated areas which allow hunting, and in accordance with state regulations.” So we already have this small exception to our ordinance about the discharge of firearms. I’ve heard from two residents in the past two years who don’t like this though. They are just not comfortable with hearing gunshots in our city.

I don’t yet know how I’ll vote on Wednesday. If you’re a De Pere resident, I’d like to hear from you. Please comment here, or contact me directly and let me know how you feel. And if you’re available, please consider attending Wednesday’s meeting to share your thoughts with the entire council.