BATAVIA — Now that the city has a deer management plan to reduce the number of deer, the police will approach landowners in the proposed management areas to see if they would allow hunters on their properties.
The first three areas are privately owned and the last two largely city property, wear only city employees would be allowed to hunt. Area 1 is located north of Clinton Street, Area 2 is in the vicinity of Naramore Drive and north of it. The third area is west of State Street, near BOCES, and heading north from Lambert Park. The plan was approved at Monday night’s meeting.
Areas 4 and 5 are near the Waste Water Treatment Plant and Yard Waste Station.
Noah Majewski, who has property on Alexander Road which borders Area 4, was one of the speakers Monday night. He said his concerns include liability if people were to trespass onto his property and step in conibear traps he has on the property, for example.
“It’s a big area of concern for me. I have a fiance. She hunts with me. She hunts on the ground. I’m also worried about her being on the ground and people not shooting safely around her,” Majewski said.
Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said once the Council approved the plan, the city would be able to approach landowners and whoever else would like to be part of it to volunteer his or her land for the management plan.
“Until we have a plan, we have nothing to tell them and let them know what our plans are because we have none. That’s why I strongly urge that the plan is to put the police in charge of safety ... put the police in charge of background and vetting ...”
Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said a conservative estimate of the cost for police overseeing the program would be approximately $4,000 to $5,000 per year, depending on the level of commitment that police have to make to have an officer monitoring this.
“We currently do not know what that would be. The next step for us, once the plan was adopted, would be for me to reach out to the Irondequoit Police Department to determine how they operate their program. We would select an officer through our process within the department to run the program,” Heubusch said. “That officer would be tasked with going out to the landowners of these selected areas to see if they are going to participate or not, get the agreement signed and then go through the hunter selection process, the screening process, the safety/background process and then the operation period.
“There’s a lot of work that we’re going to have to take up from this point moving forward that is going to be a little time consuming. Unfortunately, yes, we do have to navigate some overtime hours to make that happen,” Heubusch said. “Although we are fully staffed, we are not at the point where we can just take somebody off the road and dedicate them.
In a memo last week to the City Council, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski noted that the Batavia City School District students are on remote learning at home from two to five days a week during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The plan revolves on hunting when school is closed, including when school is not in session, holidays, weekends and when schools are on lockdown. Due to the temporary pause in the full reopening of schools and because the top priority of all culling activities is the safety of the community, I recommend that the Batavia Police Department continue to monitor the school situation as it progresses and make an operational decision between in-school vs. at-home learning, to determine if the plan can be executed safely this fall,” she said.
Jankowski said the city is not sure how much time there would be to hunt under the management program before the bow season ends.
“This is just preliminary, depending on the school system,” he said. “We have a plan in place. they can start feeling the waters on what they can do there because there’s a strong possibility we’re not even going to be able to meet the timeline. By the time the schools decide if they go back into full (in-classroom learning) or not, the hunting season part will be over. They’ll be in to gun season and we’re not doing this during gun season.”