City staff will meet with concerned residents before any changes are made to the city's hunting ordinance.
The Brainerd City Council on Monday held a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to regulate hunting within the city but tabled action until the council's Nov. 2 meeting. Council member Anne Nelson Fisher voted against tabling the proposed ordinance.
The council directed Police Chief John Bolduc and Mayor James Wallin to meet with anyone interested to discuss the proposed ordinance at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the Brainerd Police Department.
Hunting is already allowed in the city, but the proposed ordinance would put more regulations in place. The proposed ordinance makes it illegal to discharge a handgun or rifle in the city. Other firearms, such as shotguns and muzzleloaders, would be allowed for hunting with a permit from the city but not within 500 feet of any occupied buildings. Designated hunting maps for shotgun, muzzleloaders and bows will be available through city offices.
A .22-caliber rimfire rifle will be allowed with a nuisance permit to exterminate small nuisance animals. Target practice, except with handguns and rifles, also will be allowed with a permit.
Four north Brainerd landowners spoke during Monday's public hearing and asked the city to reconsider the proposed hunting ordinance.
Todd Wallin, who lives on Dellwood Drive, said he owns 20 acres of land and would like to continue to shoot his guns as he has in the past.
Craig Walters questioned who was driving the proposed ordinance. He said the law was quite clear when it came to hunting.
"I'm not sure why you have to strip me and my neighbors of the right to rifle hunt to clear up something that doesn't need to be cleared up," Walters said. He said he was disappointed residents weren't included when staff worked up the proposed ordinance.
Bolduc said there have been no issues or complaints about hunting in the city. He said the ordinance was proposed because the previous ordinance allowed hunting in rural zones, which no longer exist in the city. He also said there is confusion in the current ordinance concerning permits.
Bolduc said he modeled the proposed ordinance on Baxter's hunting ordinance.
"If you want to point fingers, point them over here. I'm the reason this was brought forward," Bolduc said.
Dal Mar Drive resident Greg Jilenski asked the council to table action so staff could meet with residents.
"I think things can be changed in here if everybody comes together," Jilenski said. "We can work this out."
Council member Bonnie Cumberland asked that people who have had bad experiences with hunters in the city also be heard. She relayed a story in which a resident complained about goose hunters shooting near homes and had their vehicle tires slashed.
Cumberland also said she wants the hunting map to take into consideration trail, sidewalk and park development.
"My concern on public safety is extreme," Cumberland said.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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