Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WISCONSIN NEWS: No Urban Hunt for Winona Public Lands

Deer hunting will not be expanded inside the city after a Winona City Council vote Monday night.

Council members voted 4-3 against expanding hunting to publicly owned lands, ending the latest round of debate over a topic that has spurred strong reactions from residents both in favor and against the proposal.

Mayor Jerry Miller and council members Tim Breza, Gerry Krage and George Borzyskowski voted for the motion to deny expanding hunting, while council members Debbie White, Deb Salyards and Al Thurley voted against that motion.

Breza previously advocated for the expansion, but made the motion against it Monday because of the divisions over the issue, he said.

"To go forward with a hunt at this time, I think, is counter-productive," he said, calling it a "lose-lose situation."

Hunting, by bow or shotgun, is already allowed on agriculturally zoned lands in Winona, but an ordinance specifically prohibits the use of bow and arrows on publicly owned lands. That restriction affects conservancy-zoned areas of Winona, including much of the blufflands facing the Mississippi River, and council members have previously discussed lifting that constraint.

Council members heard impassioned pleas from residents on both sides of the issue during a public hearing last month. That public involvement spilled over into Monday night's meeting, with Miller saying he had received one petition in favor of the hunt signed by 67 residents and another citizen presenting a survey he helped conduct in which about 65 percent of respondents were against it.

Several council members spoke in favor of asking city staff to work on an ordinance that would have allowed hunting on city-owned lands.

"Other cities have done this for many, many years," White said. "There is an issue. There is a problem."

But no motion to pursue an ordinance was offered, and the motion denying it passed.

Source: Winona Daily News

No comments: