The Wayland City Council will have a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, on a proposed ordinance amendment that would create a safety buffer zone between hunters and city residences and public properties such as schools.
The amendment was suggested by Councilman Rick Mathis and citizen Nathan Cardosa, who both reported that a neighboring landowner has actively hunted animals within 20 to 30 yards of a residence on the edge of the city limits.
Cardosa told the council, “My biggest concern is that though he (the neighbor) has quite a bit of land, he chooses to hunt near our property and we have small children.” His wife, Nicki, is a teacher and coach at Wayland High School.
Mathis shared Cardosa’s concerns, adding, “He did shoot a doe that ran on to school property,” and state law permits hunters to track down their prey if they have been shot nearby and run onto public property.
Mathis proposes that a buffer zone of 450 feet between residences and schools and legal hunting property be established to avoid any potential dangers. He said that even though this instance involved bow hunting, a stray arrow can travel up to 100 feet.
Interim City Manager Larry Nielsen said some municipalities prohibit hunting altother, but Wayland has some properties that are wooded and rural.
Mathis pointed out that state law insists hunters get permission from landowners to chase down animals on their property, but that restriction does not apply to public land, including schools.
Mathis said he is a hunter himself, but is interested in crafting a local law to establish a safety zone on behalf of residents and school children, particularly those at Steeby and Baker elementaries.