LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB)- Some people in Lancaster are worried about their safety after they saw a man hunting near their backyards. The man wasn’t doing anything illegal but that could change.
The Town Board is considering a law that would restrict where people can hunt. It would make it illegal to discharge a weapon within 500 feet of a structure in four different residential districts.
“I don’t think anyone with small kids or animals, or anyone who likes to use their backyard, would want somebody back there with either a longbow, cross bow, firearm or any type of weapon,” said Heather Johnson, who lives on Trentwood Trail.
The controversy started in November when people living on Trentwood Trail and Seneca Place discovered a man longbow hunting on a narrow strip of woods that separates their backyards.
“At one point there was supposed to be a street put in there and it wasn’t so this gentleman did purchase the land,” said Matthew Walter, who sits on the Town Board. “It’s well within his rights to hunt on it.”
Walter told News 4 the strip of land is about 50 feet wide and more than a thousand feet long.
The DEC requires longbow hunters to stay at least 150 feet away from a structure. Crossbow hunters have to stay 250 feet from a structure while hunters using a shotgun have to be at least 500 feet away.
The distance is measured from the house and not the backyard.
“With a 50 foot wide strip of land, if a deer is hit by an arrow, I would imagine it would travel further than that before it lay down and die,” said Johnson. “Not to mention your own pets, people want to let their dog out and that could be mistaken for a deer.”
She said they aren’t against hunting in general, just in residential areas. They want this draft law to pass for safety reasons.
“I think we can keep everyone safe without changing the law back to 500 feet,” said David Anthony, a hunter and Lancaster resident.
Anthony told News 4 he wouldn’t hunt on a strip of land in a neighborhood but he wants to explain longbow hunting isn’t as dangerous as people think.
“If you miss, the arrow hits the ground a little after the deer,” said Anthony. “It doesn’t continue to travel and become a hazard.”
The draft law currently includes penalties for people who discharge a weapon within 500 feet of a home in the four specified districts. It includes a fine of $2,500 and, or, 15 days in jail.
The town will now weigh both sides and make changes to the draft law before moving forward.