Huntington’s Town Board is considering legislation to create guidelines aimed at promoting hunter safety, a proposal that brought support and opposition on Tuesday.
Officials said the legislation, sponsored by Councilwoman Tracey Edwards, was written in response to safety concerns raised by residents. The guidelines are consistent with existing state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations, she said.
The board in 2015 voted unanimously to allow bowhunting for deer in the town. Residents of Asharoken and Eatons Neck have said overpopulation has made the animals aggressive and a nuisance.
Edwards said the guidelines could keep hunting safe for everyone.
“I think it can make a really big difference because homeowners are looking for some type of guidance from us, and we were glad to provide it,” Edwards said. “I was glad to work with the community on both sides of this issue.”
Hunting opponents applauded the town’s effort but expressed persisting safety concerns.
“I have become very concerned because of the possibility that I will be shot, or my cat will be shot, because of the long bowers,” Eatons Neck resident Charlotte Koonz said. “I would ask that during hunting season . . . that there be strict regulations. I’m afraid and I don’t like living in fear.”
Hunters were largely supportive of the regulations at a public hearing Tuesday and offered to assure residents they wouldn’t be shot.
Joseph Wine, a hunter from Eatons Neck, said, “When you shoot a bow, you’re only about 15-20 yards [away] and you see . . . what you’re shooting.”
The proposed town guidelines would discourage discharging a long bow “in such a way as will result in the arrow . . . passing over a public highway,” according to the draft language.
It also would prohibit a long bow from being discharged within 150 feet of a dwelling — house, farm building, school, playground or other public structure — unless the hunter is using it in proximity to his or her own property.
If the law is adopted, hunters would be encouraged to provide written notification to the town Department of Public Safety and to local police departments before any hunting activity.