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The Village of Lansing held a public hearing Monday to consider an amendment to its Code-Firearm and Bow Safety Law.  The amendment brings the previous law up to date, and incorporates language that is in keeping with State law and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations.  The new law extends bow and firearm hunting restrictions to encompass the entire Village.  "We incorporated some elaboration and some explanation, and some restrictions on some of the conditions that had been associated with the Village's position on issuing permits on a case by case basis for bowhunting during bowhunting season," says Village Attorney David Dubow.  "We have modified (language) on the longbow to refer to a 'hand powered long bow,' and included a formula for the number of hunters allowed (in an area)."

Attention to the law was motivated by the Village's new deer management program.  In cooperation with the DEC's Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP), the Village started a program this year that allows bowhunters to obtain additional tags to hunt deer without antlers if landowners give them permission and the Village has authorized the owner to pursue a hunt.  Village officials had hoped to conduct a strictly controlled hunt on the expansive Murray Estates property until negotiations with the owner hit a snag at the eleventh hour.  But Trustee John O'Neil says that both the Village and the owner want a hunt next year.

Key Points

* Hunting is forbidden anywhere in the village unless a landowner is authorized to grant permission to hunt on land that meets the '500 rule'
* Landowners must be authorized by the Village to allow hunting
* Only hunters explicitly invited by a landowner may hunt
* Additional deer management tags are obtained through the village

Officials say there are only three properties in the densely developed village that are large enough to meet the '500 foot rule' that states that a bow can only be discharged if it is 500 feet away from a dwelling, house, farm building or farm structure actually occupied or used, a school building or school playground, or an occupied factory or church.  "Actually you end up with two, possibly three properties that qualify," O'Neill says.  "Two (additional) properties that are now in the development stage could qualify if they so desire.  Both of those owners have said they'd be delighted, but they have lots of neighbors that brings the (effective hunting) area down to very small areas."

A controlled Village hunt could occur here next year

Even a Village controlled hunt is restricted the number of hunters allowed to one per ten acres, with the exception that two hunters are allowed on a lot ten acres or less.  "That is for safety reasons," Dubow explains.  It may be advantageous to have a second person on the premises."

Hunting that results in an arrow passing over a public highway is also restricted.  The law also says hunters must be not visible from any public roadway.  "Looking back at the legislative history of this, it was done to keep people from outside of the area seeing people hunting and thinking that anybody could hunt on that property."

That was a problem in the past, with hunters from out of the area 'crashing' an earlier hunt on Murray estates.  Trustee Lynn Leopold noted she has already seen hunters shining spotlights over the property to see if there are deer there at night.  With the Village's new deer management program officials have been careful to strictly restrict hunts only to hunters invited by a landowner whose property meets the regulations.  The Village would have gone farther to oversee and enforce Village rules while the hunt was taking place, and will continue to take a strong role if the hunt is rescheduled for the 2008 season.


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