Proposal would allow but limit activity in response to state law
Port Washington bow hunters may soon be able to take to their tree stands in the city.
That’s because the state legislature last year took away a municipality’s ability to ban hunting with a bow and arrow or crossbow, effectively ending the city’s prohibition on shooting these weapons.
The legislature did, however, give the community limited powers to regulate bow and arrow hunting, and the Common Council is poised to approve an ordinance on Tuesday that does just that.
The proposed ordinance requires hunters to shoot in a downward direction and prohibits hunting on public property or within 100 yards of a building without permission from the property owner.
“If we want to regulate bow hunting in the city, this is essentially what we can do,” City Administrator Mark Grams told aldermen when they had their initial review of the ordinance on March 4.
City Attorney Eric Eberhardt said the state law is an effort to curb the deer population in urban areas.
“We’ll see how that works,” he said.
The effect, however, is to greatly limit what a community can do to regulate hunting, he said.
Does it mean people can hunt in the city? Yes, he said.
“Clearly if you had a tree stand and were shooting at an animal below you, it would be shooting toward the ground,” Eberhardt said, adding that people with tree stands or standing on a roof or ladder could do the same thing.
“There are a lot of bells and whistles, but theoretically you could do it,” Grams said.
However, he said, since few houses are farther apart than 100 yards, people who want to hunt will have to get permission from all the surrounding property owners in order to hunt in the city.
And because that is likely to be difficult, the ordinance may essentially prohibit hunting in residential areas, he said.
One exception could be the former VK Homes property, which the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust is trying to purchase. The parcel on the city’s southeast side is large and undeveloped, so if the property owner allows it, bow hunting could occur there, officials said.