By JEFF SCHULTZ
The Porter County Park
Board, Thursday, tabled a proposed policy on deer hunting sought by resident
Bryan McFadden, president of the Quality Deer Management Association
Northwest Indiana chapter.
McFadden first approached
the board last fall about allowing archery deer hunting on park lands not
currently used by the public.
controlling deer populations and harvesting the deer meat, which can be
processed at local food pantries and given to families who are less
fortunate McFadden said.
In March McFadden gave a
report on deer activity at park land in Liberty and Pine townships. The
areas studied did not include heavily used Sunset Hill park.
Park board members were
generally favorable to the idea and asked McFadden to bring to them a
written report of the regulations he would like to put in place.
The plan was also favored
by the Izaak Walton League Porter County chapter.
The board on Thursday began
asking McFadden about subjects they felt were missing in his policy such as
fees and what will be the format for the classes.
McFadden said youth would
be able to learn archery in a class setting that could lead to lessons on
how to hunt. He said there are grants that can be pursued to support the
programs but fees will likely be needed to get the program on its feet.
Hunting reservations would
be done on a first come, first serve basis and there will be a limited
number of days one could take the class so other residents could have an
opportunity to sign up, McFadden said.
“It sounds like
there is a plan. We just need to get it into policy,” said board member
McFadden said drawing a
plan together is difficult because each park property has different
characteristics. He said, with a bit of frustration, he’s been to the board
months before and still hasn’t received direction on how to develop a plan.
Board member David Canright
suggested that McFadden be given time to work with park staff on “massaging”
details into the policy and present it to the board in the next month or so,
in time to get hunting started in the fall.
“I can’t see
getting it done this year unless we turn it over to our staff and have them
bring it back in June or July,” Canright said.
Parks Superintendent Walter
Lenckos said he hopes his department can revise the policy in the next two
Kenworthy reiterated his
wish that background checks be required for all those participating in the
programs, given the fact that weapons are being used.
McFadden argued that
requiring background checks could stifle the number of registrants by adding
extra red tape. “What’s the point of having a program if no one comes?”
But Kenworthy said that all
a check needs is a name, birthday and address and a small fee. Places like
schools, steel mills and other workplaces require background checks.
“It’s the way of
the world. It’s $5. It’s not that burdensome,” he said. “It’s a lock. It
keeps an honest person honest.”
McFadden said he’s not
opposed to the policy requiring background checks but that is already taken
care of when a person receives their hunting license from the Department of
Board attorney David
Hollenback said it would need to be decided in the policy what criteria
would exclude someone from participating if it is found they in fact have
committed a felony in the past.
With time needed to address
the matters, the board voted 4-0 to table the policy. Absent from the
meeting were members Annetta Jones and Tom Schnabel.
From the floor,
environmentalist Charlotte Read asked for clarification if the deer hunting
and archery programs would be regarded as a program of the County Parks or
Lenckos said the parks
department has featured archery at its youth summer camps which has been
He considers archery to be
part of parks programming but the deer hunting would be a separate program
by Quality Deer Management.
McFadden said it’s his
intention to “provide bow hunters with an avenue to use their skills” and
hunting won’t be pushed on those only wanting to learn archery.
The board signed off on two
other policies with votes of 4-0. One would give the parks more flexibility
on having a food vendor. Lenckos said last year a request for qualifications
was sent to find a vendor for events at Sunset Hill Farm such as
cross-country meets but no one submitted, there was too small of a market.
The new policy would welcome food trucks or allow the parks department to
sell food itself.
The other is a “naming”
policy that sets regulations on using park assets to honor the memory of
someone or recognize supporters.
Board member Drew Armstrong
said the policy should reflect that the parks department is not looking to
take money just for name recognition on an asset.
philanthropist would not buy something just to buy something just to have
their name all over it,” he said.