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Woodbury to propose hunting map changes

Woodbury is proposing these changes, circled in red, to the city's hunting map. Submitted Graphic/City of Woodbury

The city of Woodbury is proposing changes to where firearm and bow hunting is allowed.

Later this month, the City Council plans to review updates to the city's hunting map. The changes will restrict hunting near La Lake, Brookview and an area south of Military Road that borders Cottage Grove.

Driven by Woodbury's growth, the city updates its hunting map every two to three years. The last change was in 2015.

Hunting areas are most concentrated in the southern and eastern edge of the city.

The majority of hunting areas require a landowner's permission and a city permit. Last year, about 45 to 50 people applied for such permits.

Hunting will still remain open in much of the Woodbury's southeast corner under the proposal. Those areas only require hunters get a landowner's permission and stay 500 yards from houses and buildings.

Woodbury officials have continued to reduce areas where people can hunt over the years.

Eventually, the city will likely ban hunting citywide once the city fully develops and is no longer be safe to hunt, said Woodbury Public Safety information officer Michelle Okada.

With the proposed map changes, the greater discussion of whether the city should continue to allow hunting in Woodbury has been cast to the forefront.

Residents who live in hunting zones cited safety concerns and raised objections to hunting during a recent neighborhood meeting. Others voiced worries regarding un-permitted hunters who pose a risk to residents and rule-abiding hunters.

Ellen Black said she and her neighbors have found arrows lodged in trees and bullet holes in her flowerpots. When she's put up no hunting signs, she's found them riddled with bullet holes and torn down.

"The bottom line for me is I feel very vulnerable," Black said.

Woodbury resident Dan Ritter said he's in favor of hunting in Woodbury, and property owners should be able allowed to decide what to do on their own land.

Those not following rules pose a risk to both residents and those who responsibly hunt, he added.

"There's no reason you should feel unsafe," Ritter said, adding that he'd be willing to aid residents who feel people are not following city and state laws. "We would love to police the guys who aren't following the rules."

The city requires hunters carry city-issued permits and other licenses at all times. They must also abide by federal, state and local laws.

Penalties for hunters who trespass carry stiff fines in the seven-county metro. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fines double the amount than it does in cases outside the metro, for example.

Cottage Grove also allows hunting in certain parts of their cities. Newport allows archery deer hunting in some areas.

The Woodbury City Council will likely review the updated hunting map at its May 10 meeting.