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Hunting Restrictions Must Be Fair and Reasonable

Brownstown wants state to restrict hunting in the township

The Detroit News

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Brownstown Township has legitimate concerns about hunting in the area. The Wayne County suburb, as well as other Metro Detroit communities, are eyeing hunting bans.

The worries in specific areas of each township should be analyzed and restrictions applied, if appropriate.

But the complaints should not automatically translate into wider anti-hunting campaigns.

Balancing safety with hunting should be the overall goal.

In Brownstown, for example, bow and gun hunting are permitted in some areas, but hunters are forbidden by state law to discharge a firearm within 450 feet of any occupied building.

They must also have the landowners’ permission to hunt on the property.

That may be plenty of regulation for some areas, and not enough for others.

The matter will be decided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Under state law, the DNR has the exclusive right to regulate hunting anywhere in the state.

An example of balancing interests can be found in the controversy over hunting mourning doves. Hunters pushed to change the rules and allow a mourning dove season. Anti-hunting forces objected, often on the grounds that hunters didn’t need to add another bird to their list of prey.

A compromise includes a trial hunting period in certain parts of the state. That’s a reasonable approach.

Brownstown residents, however, do have one legitimate beef.

Officials there followed all the proper channels. The township board passed a resolution, contacted a newspaper to post meeting announcements and held a public hearing. But the Lansing office has been waiting about nine months for the district officer’s report.

More than a year has passed since the township began the process. That’s seems plenty of time for state government to respond.

Township officials worry that they won’t get an answer before the hunting begins this fall.

They deserve an answer before then.

When it comes, the decision should be based on safety and the geography of areas within the township, not on any general complaints against hunting.

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