BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – For over an hour, the public spoke during a Boardman Township meeting about the issue of deer hunting within the Mill Creek MetroParks. They shared their concerns and asked what township officials could do.
“It’s screwing with my mental, my physical — everything, that this is going to happen,” said Boardman resident Beth Shutrump.
Before Monday night’s meeting, the Boardman Township trustees reached out to the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office. They wanted to know, legally, what they could do about the issue of hunting in the township. Due to the Ohio Revised Code, Boardman cannot regulate hunting.
“Because before we went forward, we wanted to know legally what our rights were as a township and as trustees,” said trustee Tom Costello.
Parts of the Mill Creek MetroParks go through Boardman. The public is urging for the trustees’ support against the hunt.
One resident says she has been confronted about her stances against the hunt.
“I’ve already had people get in my face and threaten to put bait out so that deer would be lured into an area close to where I live so they could kill them,” said Boardman resident Celeste Sinistro.
Some residents brought up concerns about people hunting illegally. One resident says she’s concerned about the wildlife and that the potential risk has affected her health.
“The safety, death, injury, property damage. I still don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel at all relaxed, not even relaxed, I don’t feel any confidence at all,” Shutrump said.
One Youngstown woman says she wrote to Judge Robert Rusu who heads the probate court in Mahoning County, which oversees the park board.
“From everything that I hear about folks talking, this is like a runaway train, the whole park board,” said Youngstown resident Chris Flack.
Boardman Police Chief Todd Werth had some time to research how to prepare if hunting is to happen. He says he has been talking with the MetroParks, other police chiefs, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the public.
“With that said, I know that none of those individually or as a whole makes anybody more comfortable and I understand that,” Werth said.
Boardman Fire Chief Mark Pitzer is a hunter. He explained to the crowd how these lottery huntings work. He says it would take place during the typical hunting season.
“It’s very, very controlled and regulated by ODNR. They will allow a certain number of hunters within a geographic area and they go on a specific day,” Pitzer said.