Source: Sherman Publications

No changes to weapon ordinance, bow hunting

by Susan Bromley

November 30, 2011

Ortonville- Bow hunting will continue to be permitted within the village.

During the Nov. 28 village council meeting, Council President Wayne Wills read a decree stating that following a poll of council members, it was decided that the weapons ordinance will remain unchanged. The current ordinance forbids the discharge of firearms within the village limits, but allows hunting and target practice utilizing arrows and bows, including long bow, cross bow and compound bow.

“In view of the over 60,000 deer/car accidents occurring annually on a statewide basis, causing millions of dollars in property damage, and in some cases resulting in severe human injury and even death, the Village of Ortonville with thus continue to follow the lead of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources with respect to hunter safety and control of the deer population within the Village of Ortonville,” Wills said.

He added that the village defers to DNR safety protocol which includes a 450-foot safety zone, defined as the necessary safe space between a hunter and a dwelling. A hunter must have permission from a homeowner before occupying such space.

The council was challenged on their ordinance by village resident Kim Davis earlier this fall, after one of her neighbors put up a blind roughly 300 feet behind her home. A DNR officer came out and fined her neighbor for hunting within 450 feet of an occupied dwelling without permission from the owner.

Davis said she was told by the DNR officer that at 800 feet, an arrow could penetrate his vest and kill him. She is concerned for the safety of children that play in the woods, as well as people using paths.

DNR Lt. David Malloch said that typically, hunters sight for 40-50 yards as the maximum range to harvest an animal, but the distance an arrow can travel from a crossbow or compound bow varies based on terrain, angle, and the size of the bow. He believes that a 450-foot safety zone is adequate with other laws in place.

Tim Payne, DNR southeast regional manager for the wildlife division, said in Oakland County, the number of deer exceed the DNR’s population goal, which is less than 20 deer per square mile. The current numbers are closer to 30.

“Deer adapt really well to a protected environment, such as an area like Ortonville,” he said. “If you can hunt safely, we encourage it.”