West Bend Moves Forward With Hunting in City Parks

I support this measure, but sheesh… only government could come up with something so convoluted.

West Bend officials have finalized the details of a measure to allow bow hunting in two of the city’s parks beginning in January.

Common Council members voted to approve the recommendations outlined in the Deer Management Plan during Monday’s meeting, creating a path for the process to begin bow hunting at Lac Lawrann Conservancy and Ridge Run Park.

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During their discussions, they eventually agreed to recommend closing the two parks for the duration of the hunt in January. They also wanted to establish several hurdles for applicants to traverse to earn the privilege of killing game on public lands.

One was a proficiency test to assess the accuracy of their shot. Standing on a platform at the archery range, applicants will shoot their bows at a 6-inch target 20 yards away.

To pass the examination, the hunters must place five of the six shots within the circular target.

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Applicants must also obtain a perfect score on a written exam to determine if they understand the rules for hunting once they ae issued a permit from West Bend officials. Potential hunters must submit the results of both of their exams, the application, and pay a fee to be eligible for the lottery that will yield the nine individuals eligible to hunt the grounds.

The zones assigned to the hunter have been determined and applicant will be allotted one based on a random draw.

“We are going to make them jump through all these hoops, go online, fill out an application, go online, fill out the test, show up at the archery range, pay $10 cash, pass that, bring it all here, give the city another $20 after I fill out my application on line,” committee member Michael Jentsch said during the meeting. “I just did that. About 50 us did that for $1,500 total, and only six people get permits? I am just saying that we make sure everyone who is applying understands how many people are going to get involved.

This should be pretty simple… the purpose is to kill some of the deer because there are too many of them. They are a danger to motorists and destructive to crops. So we need to kill them, but do it safely. Right?

Close the parks for a few days and issue a limited number of licences to bow hunters.

Done.

Hopefully we’ll get to that kind of simplicity after trying to overthink it for a few years.


For the record, accidents with bows are extremely rare. In fact, there were no reported incidents in 2017. And I can’t remember the last time I heard of a report of an accidental death by a bow hunter despite tens of thousands of bow hunters in the woods for weeks on end. The reason is simple. Bows are a short range weapon that are exceedingly difficult to accidentally discharge.

The hoops that West Bend are imposing aren’t really about safety. They are about the appearance of safety. It’s like the TSA.

But… it’s a step in the right direction.