(8/8) Recent public concerns over proposed plans by the
town to exterminate the beaver population at Rainbow Lake and reports of shots
fired from town property into private land could spur legislation to
establishing wildlife management areas.
Although town administrators said the town did not
intend to continue killing beavers, the board of commissioners took measures to
ensure that any similar proposal in the future would first be brought before
However, some feel that something more might need to be
done about hunting on town lands.
Hunters may have fired into private land
Emmitsburg permits licensed hunters, fishers and
trappers to hunt on town lands as long as they do so within state guidelines.
However, town resident Catherine Forrence, who has
horses on her mother's, Betsey Forrence, land outside of town, told the board
of commissioners July 17 that hunters shooting on town land have fired into her
Forrence said, "Last year we had problems with hunters
on the Scott Road property," noting that the horses are kept on land owned by
Betsey Forrence next to Toms Creek.
Betsey Forrence said the problem goes back "a couple of
years" beginning with an incident where hunters coming from town property were
pursuing a deer across Toms Creek.
Forrence was in the process of creating a walking
garden in that area of her land. She said the hunters fired right into where
the proposed garden was underway. "It's very scary to me," she said. "We now
have horses on the property."
Catherine Forrence said she had asked the town to
produce a map with safety zones designated, but "that has never happened."
Commissioner to consider wildlife management
Commissioner William B. O'Neil Jr. told The Dispatch
that he was possibly interested in pursuing legislation to establish a wildlife
management area to protect wildlife and humans.
Beyond simply preserving as much indigenous wildlife as
necessary to maintain a balanced ecology. O'Neil said, "I, too, am alarmed to
hear about hunting near rural residences. Shooting over a creek to target a
deer in someone's garden clearly should not be tolerated. I like the idea of
establishing a best management practices guidelines, to include safety zones
O'Neil suggested that not all town lands would fall
within any proposed wildlife management rules, because that "would include such
things as the water / sewer treatment plants, power substations, recreational
He said that a resolution calling for a moratorium on
hunting and trapping activities on town lands could be introduced at the next
session of the board of commissioners.
The moratorium would be temporary, conditioned on the
development of an approved wildlife management plan that would include
acceptable hunting safety zones and assurances that indigenous species would
not be exterminated.
An ordinance would likely follow at some point after
the moratorium is in place declaring certain portions of town lands as wildlife
management areas to be governed by best management practices guidelines.
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