YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In a letter to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Youngstown’s law director warned of potential criminal prosecution and civil action if the controlled killing of deer occurs in Youngstown’s jurisdiction of Mill Creek Park.

Law Director Jeff Limbian previously warned City Council that it’s illegal to hunt and discharge a firearm within city limits.

“It looks as though we’re going to have to seek some declaratory relief from the court so that we can stop this from even starting because the risk of someone being shot or injured is just too great,” Limbian said.

Officials with Mill Creek MetroParks said they will focus their deer hunting efforts on areas that are outside city limits until the legal issues can be resolved

In a letter addressed to ODNR’s Chief of the Division of Wildlife Kendra Wecker on May 8, Limbian announced his opposition to the plan to kill deer in the area to reduce the population.

Limbian called a recent study by ODNR flawed and exaggerated.

“There certainly must have been inaccurate extrapolations of the deer population in the area of Mill Creek Park which exists in Youngstown, Ohio. The citizens of Youngstown are providing
considerable input in the mounting evidence that the projections of the size of the deer population are grossly incorrect,” said Limbian.

Limbian cited three different ordinances, one of which states firearms should not be discharged within the Municipality of Youngstown and that Mill Creek Park runs through the municipality from near Mahoning Avenue to Midlothian Boulevard.

Another ordinance prevents the hunting of any animal or fowl within the corporate limits of the municipality. Limbian states that there is nowhere in the park affording a hunter a clear line of fire to avoid shooting into the city limits of Youngstown and city homes.

Limbian also cited criminal law jurisdiction, which he says addresses shooting and this type of deer hunting in Youngstown as a punishable criminal act, even if there is an attempt to claim
that Mill Creek Park is a separate governmental entity. There can be no waiver of criminal conduct in the area of Mill Creek Park that exists wholly within the territorial limits of the City of Youngstown, he wrote.

He said that the administration is irate at the idea of killing the deer, saying that Youngstown is a victim of violence and that the new weapons law has made it more difficult for law enforcement to keep the streets of Youngstown safe.

Limbian said the following statement:

“This City Administration cannot and will not sit idly while hunters and sharpshooters wander park roads and meadows and trails shooting near and in the direction of Youngstown

Gerry Ricciutti contributed to this report.