December 18, 2013 - Ordinance language to ban waterfowl hunting for safety reasons on nine lakes located in the densely-populated southwestern portion of Oxford Township is coming.
Last week, township officials voted 7-0 to have an ordinance amendment drafted that would prohibit the hunting of waterfowl, such as ducks and geese, on the following lakes – Tan, Cedar, Clear, Long, Squaw, Mickelson, Davis, Park and Powell.
The first six of the aforementioned lakes make up a group commonly known as Stringy Lakes.
Before the proposed ordinance can be enacted, there must be a public hearing along with a first and second reading of the language by the township board.
Supervisor Bill Dunn received some complaints from residents about hunting on these lakes and he agrees that it's not safe given the close proximity of the homes in these areas to both the water and each other.
"The people that talked to me said it didn't happen that much . . . but it was very unsettling," he said.
In 2011, township officials amended the municipality's hunting/firearms discharge ordinance to mirror state law.
State law prohibits a person from hunting or discharging a firearm within 150 yards (450 feet) of an occupied building, dwelling, house, residence, cabin or any barn or building used in connection with a farming operation.
The only way a person can hunt or shoot within that 150-yard safety zone is if they obtain written permission from the owner, renter or occupant of the property.
"There's not many places on the Stringy Lakes where you can . . . fire a gun and have that type of distance (150 yards) between you and the house," Dunn said.
Prior to the 2011 ordinance change, waterfowl hunting in the Stringy Lakes area was prohibited by the township.
The municipality's previous ordinance, parts of which were adopted in 1968 and 1974, basically outlined specific areas within the township where hunting and the discharge of firearms were not permitted.
"There used to be a sign at the boat launch that stated no waterfowl hunting, period," noted resident Larry Dudley, a 1970 Oxford graduate who lives at the very end of Maloney St., which is in the Stringy Lakes area.
Dudley told the board he knows of houses on Harwood Court, which is in the heart of the Stringy Lakes area, that had shotgun pellets "bouncing off of their decks when those guns were going off."
"I'm a hunter and I'll tell you what, if you shoot a gun in the air . . . (and) the wind's blowing (in) the right direction, you'll get another 50 yards out of that thing," he said. "The neighbors I'm talking about up there, they've got young kids that play outside."
His wife, Yvonne Dudley, also a 1970 Oxford graduate, agreed. "It's not really safe and that's my concern – the safety of the kids," she said.
Trustee Jack Curtis believes some people are using the previous ordinance change as an excuse to challenge the law.
He believes they're basically saying, "Ha, ha, ha. You can't measure 450 feet off this water. By the time you get your boat, I'll have my birds and be gone."
Given the closeness of the homes and the number of them, Curtis believes this area deserves "special attention."
In addition to the Stringy Lakes, Dunn suggested the board add Davis, Park and Powell lakes to the waterfowl hunting ban.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.