FERRYSBURG, Mich. (WZZM) - A plan to control the deer population at an Ottawa County park has raised new safety concerns. Later this year, the county plans to temporarily allow hunting at North Ottawa Dunes, which many local residents have right in their backyard.
Kim Dake says she enjoys the tranquility of North Ottawa Dunes as she walks her dog. However, she says that peaceful feeling has turned to fear after learning the park would be open to hunting later this year.
"I know how high powered those guns are and the bullets can ricochet," says Dake.
The two-day hunting periods, once in November and again in December, is part of Ottawa County's plan to control the deer population.
"There's deer all over the place. The only thing you can plant in your yard are plastic flowers because they just eat everything," says Bob Borowski.
However, Ferrysburg city council member Regina Sjoberg isn't convinced hunting will solve the problem.
"If you kill more deer, then more are born, because they have more food," says Sjoberg.
Sjoberg is also concerned about how the county will keep people out of the park while hunting is going on, because there are several entrances. In fact, many residents have the park right in their back yard.
"You can't have police standing around saying 'don't go in', when you can get to the park from your own backyard," says Sjoberg.
The county released a statement saying,"Hunters will be required to attend a safety meeting in order to be permitted, and hunters must remain 450 feet from any inhabited structure."
Sjoberg says she's been pushing for another public hearing.
"I've yet to receive an answer after 10 or 12 days," says Sjoberg.
A select group of hunters will be allowed in the park on November 17th and 18th, as well as December 8th and 9th. The parks department says Hoffmaster Park has had hunting for the past five years with no safety issues.