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Grosse Pointe Park Implements Ban on Duck Hunting Near Shoreline

Complaints about shooting too close to homes and parks convinced the Director of Public Safety to make the change.

Duck hunters will be not be allowed to hunt near the shoreline of following a decision by Public Safety Director David Hiller, who announced a  ban on hunters in the waters off of city parks Monday to city council.

The decision comes in response to complaints filed by residents and park users who were disturbed and frightened by the sound of gunshots so close to home.

The problem was especially bad in the cove near Grand Marais and along the boardwalk at at the foot of 3 Mile Road.

The complaints had come in "more than ever than in past years," Hiller told the council referring to duck hunting off of Patterson and Windmill Pointe parks.

Residents along parts of Lakeshore in other Pointes have had similar concerns over the years.

After the Park received complaints last year, Hiller checked it out for himself and said hunters were shooting within five to seven feet of the boardwalk.

"It's scary with people walking in the park, kids…" he said.

The state says hunters cannot fire their weapons within 450 feet of a residence, Hiller said, but there was nothing about parks. He said the hunters he met were licensed and understanding about the concerns but felt they were within their rights to use the lake as they wish.

As it turns out the city is permitted to limit activities within a half-mile of the shore. In addition, a city ordinance forbids firing a firearm, he said.

"Last year was the worst I've ever seen with the number of guys hunting and the number of people complaining," he said.

Signs and notices about the ban will go out within a week, he said.

CORRECTION: This story was corrected Sunday Oct. 30, 2011, at 12:50 a.m. to reflect the accurate decision-maker behind the duck hunting ban in Grosse Pointe Park, who is the Public Safety Director David Hiller.

Rick October 25, 2011 at 10:51 AM
Hunters are the best gun safety people you could meet. I would worry more about the guns walking around Alter road than those being used by responsible citizens
Tim Berkery October 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM
I question Grosse Pointe Park's right to ban duck & goose hunting within a half mile of the shore. Lake St Lair is an international, navigable waterway. They may have riparian rights but I didn't think they could make their own rules on that body of water. 800 yards puts you out beyond the shipping channel and in Canadian waters in a good portion of that area. Hunters have rights and this is yet another instance of hunter harassment in my opinion. Lake St Clair is an historical waterfowl hunting area and if you live on the water you should be prepared for some shotgunning during the waterfowl seasons. The Grosse Pointe Park police and council might consider spending a little time educating those that are complaining and leave the legal waterfowler hunters alone. Regards, Tim Berkery - Grosse Pointe.
Andy Hartz October 25, 2011 at 02:06 PM
This "ban" will not survive two weeks. Only the Michigan DNR can regulate this type of activity on Great lakes waters, of which lake St. Clair is included. GPP needs to petition the DNR with a request for local control, the DNR then holds a public hearing. The DNR then makes a decision based on the control that was being requested. This will not keep me from hunting these waters, in the next 4 weeks actually. Now setting up right at the base of the boardwalk at Three Mile may be legal, but it isn't smart. The action by GPP Council is no doubt a direct result of guys hunting legal, but to close....
Kim North Shine October 25, 2011 at 02:30 PM
The question about the DNR's control of the water did come up and Chief Hiller said that under MCL (Michigan Compiled Law) 780.51 the city is permitted to enact controls such as this. I have not researched the DNR rules for this situation or the MCL. Thanks for reading Patch.
Andy Hartz October 25, 2011 at 02:35 PM
I just spoke with the DNR in Southfield. The ban on hunting is not legal, however, the local ordinance controlling discharge of a firearm in the City limits IS legal. So...no one can discharge a firearm within 1/2 mile of the GPP shoreline. The DNR will not issue tickets on this, but the GPP Police can. A few aggressive hunters have now changed things for all of us down that way. Appreciate the Patch covering this issue....
Kim North Shine October 25, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Thanks for your reporting, Andy. Good info to have!
RC Paschke October 25, 2011 at 04:11 PM
"Section 780.52 - Construction of act. This act shall not be construed as granting any authority... Or, to grant a power to alter any federal or state law, rule or regulation pertaining to navigation, hunting or fishing."
jim gallagher October 25, 2011 at 04:13 PM
So, what is it? 450 feet or 1/2 mile?
dan October 25, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Sailboat races are started with shotgun reports up and down the Grosse Pointe shoreline all summer. 450 feet is outside a shotguns deadly range. This is an ignorant piece of legislation by the GP city council. So if discharging a firearm in GP waters is to be made illegal I expect to see that enforced for the start of every sailboat race next summer.
Tim Berkery October 25, 2011 at 08:14 PM
I understand an ordinance that bans the discharge of a firearm within the city limits. Can anyone define where the city limits of GPP end as far as Lake St Clair is concerned? 1/2 mile beyond the shoreline must certainly fall outside of the Park's jurisdiction. This reminds me of the zoning battles that occur when someone builds a house next to a livestock operation that's been going for generations. The new residents don't like the smell and they all end up in front of the zoning board. The waterfowling tradition needs to be able to continue off the shores of GPP. A 450 ft limit from a residence is a tried and true distance for safety. These are shot shells with small pellets - not rifle slugs. The effective range to kill a duck or goose now days is about 50 yards - max. Beyond that range at 450 ft (150 yards) - pellets fall harmlessly and are no danger. And, from my experience, when a hunter sets up his decoys on the shoreline, the shots taken are out into the lake - not back towards the shoreline, residential neighborhoods or parks. Tim Berkery
dan October 25, 2011 at 10:44 PM
Another point to look at is will the GPP Police purchase a boat to enforce this ordinance? I have serious doubts that the DNR, Homeland Security or the Wayne County Sheriff will lend their resources for GPP to enforce this silly ordinance.
Lynda October 26, 2011 at 11:30 AM
Dan, sail boat races commence with the firing of a starter pistol, which used blanks, not live rounds. One pistol, one shot, not eight hunters firing multiple times.
dan October 26, 2011 at 12:03 PM
Lynda, starting guns are still firearms, this ordinance bans the discharge of firearms, not hunting or shooting blanks to start sailboat races.
Richard Thomas October 26, 2011 at 12:43 PM
While I am ecstatic that hunters will not be allowed to shoot so close to shore and the the parks I understand that hunting licenses do a lot to protect wild habitat. Surely there are wilderness areas available for those who live to kill. I loved, for many years, watching the migrating wild fowl coming through our area. While I am sure there has been a tradition of waterfowl hunting from the shore, I know from observation and my notes that it was not occurring with the intensity of the last two fall seasons. I think that council, or State, would be well advised to compromise and allow a certain number of hunters for a restricted number of days but not the whole season. Perhaps in that way whether you hunt with camera or gun barrel, both camps can have some opportunity? I am sure that will not happen but in the meantime it is a joy to know that I can see the waterfowl, alive and close for the season. I appreciate Council's attempts to keep the area safe, I am totally in agreement with not allowing firearms withing City limits for obvious safety reasons. I would love to see a maximum alcohol blood level requirement for hunting as well. If nothing else I have said gets me in hot water, that last statement certainly should do the trick!
dan October 26, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Richard, While I appreciate much of your diplomatic tone to your post I find parts of it condescending. Thank you for pointing out that hunting licenses, in particular the Federal Waterfowl stamp raise revenues for protecting wildlife. Also I’d add originations like Ducks Unlimited also do much in the same regard, more so in fact than other non conservation based wildlife organizations. But saying that hunters simply engage in the activity to kill not a fair statement. Hunters operate within state and federal guidelines to only hunt to a limit, and then they take the animals for meat and other products. To be blunt if you buy meat from your grocery store and find the practice of hunting that off putting you’re a hypocrite. Simply because farm raised animals harvested for mass consumption by the public have had a far less humane existence than any animal that’s legally harvested. Sharing our wildlife for shooting both with a camera and gun is a very valid point, I know a few hunters who do both. Their reasons range from hunting their limit and switching to a camera to passing on shooting a particular animal with a gun and choosing a camera. Yes, hunters pass on deer and ducks all the time for various reasons. Like you said there are plenty of wilderness areas for the hunting, the same can be said for viewing and documenting. Why should one group have to make the drive to those wilderness areas over the other? cont...
dan October 26, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Local governments aren’t allowed to regulate hunting, that’s why they passed an ordinance simply banning the discharge of firearms to circumvent the State’s authority. There’s not much else to say about that point. I find it funny that people feel danger from duck hunters using shotguns with game loads from 450 feet or farther. Particularly when in the Grosse Pointe Park area you are in greater danger from stray bullets from Detroit in New Years or the 4th of July. Your last statement about alcohol consumption is what I find the most off putting, it has no basis in reality or fact. Everyone I’ve ever shot with has observed the unofficial alcohol limit, ZERO. If you want to find someone who probably abuses alcohol and firearms see statement above regarding stray Detroit bullets.
Richard Thomas October 26, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Excellent response Dan, thanks, Richard
David October 27, 2011 at 05:44 AM
Ok now everybody don't beat me up for this but I am the hunter who was hunting 3mile park but I went through great lenghts to make shure what I was doing was allowed. I contacted Terry Solomon at parks and rec and also talked to police and dnr to find out if it was ok. I was given permission to hunt the spot and transport my firearm through the park. Every time I hunted their me and anybody I hunted with presented our hunting license to the guard and let him know what we were doing and as soon as we finished we let him know we were done. We were always friendly to people in the park as they were always friendly to us. If anybody had expressed concern to me I would gladly have moved further out on to the lake. I don't have the means to hunt elsewhere all the time. I am not made of money and I am not able to go to these game areas and hunt like others I have to take advantage of the situation I'm offered. A reasonable compromise should be met to where hunters must be 450 feet from the parks as well so that way everybody is happy.
GP For Life October 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM
David, while a reasonable compromise would have been a good place to start the actions of the Grosse Pointe Park City Council now preclude a reasonable discussion. Good for you for ultilizing our wonderful water front. Haters goin to hate.
joe October 27, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Again, where is it stated and acknowledged (and by whom) that the city limits of GPP extends 1/2 mile from its shoreline? As Richard points out, that would extend far into Canadian waters from Windmill Point Park. GPP cannot reasonably claim jurisdiction of part of foreign country and an international waterway?

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