By Peter Elacqua
COLTS NECK – When the Township Committee convenes on Sept. 14, residents may comment on a proposed change in Colts Neck’s firearms code as it relates to deer hunting in the township.
On Aug. 10, the committee introduced an ordinance to modify the municipal code and allow individuals to hunt white-tailed deer on properties 3 acres or greater in size.
Two members of the Colts Neck Wildlife Committee presented the panel’s recommendations regarding possible changes to the existing ordinance that allows residents to hunt white-tailed deer on a limited number of properties in order to control the deer population.
In 2014, officials adopted an ordinance that permits residents to hunt deer on properties of 5 acres or greater in size with the written permission of the property owner.
The existing ordinance states that no person can possess a loaded firearm within 450 feet of any occupied building or possess a nocked arrow within 150 feet of an occupied building. No firearms or nocked arrows may be possessed closer than 450 feet to any school playground.
In May, Wildlife Committee members Michael Viola and Robert Mahoney came before the governing body and recommended amending the ordinance to permit hunting on properties of 3 acres or more or on aggregated lots of 3 acres or more with consent from the property owner.
The Wildlife Committee is recommending changing the ordinance to only allow bow hunting on properties of between 3 and 5 acres. The amendment will not prohibit hunters from using firearms on properties of 5 acres or more, as long as they have the consent of the property owner.
The representatives of the Wildlife Committee said the idea behind the recommendation is to permit hunting on more properties as a way of controlling the deer population.
The proposed ordinance states, “For purposes of this provision, a parcel of 3 acres or larger shall include a parcel that is the aggregated contiguous acreage of more than one landowner. The discharge permitted by this section shall be limited to the hunting of white-tailed deer.”
The ordinance states that any hunter is permitted to have written and dated permission from the property owner, or owners, and have the permission on their person while hunting.
The ordinance will also allow hunters to hunt on leased farmland.
The ordinance also states, “The terms of this provision shall apply to all persons including, without limitation, any person who is farming the land of another pursuant to a written or oral agreement; in such instance the person farming the land of another may hunt on that land provided he or she has a written and dated permission of the property owner or owners which shall be in the hunter’s possession while hunting.”
In other business on Aug. 10, the Township Committee awarded a bid for two years of private snow plowing services with an option for a third year to Pine Tree Landscaping Systems, Colts Neck. The service includes the use of six primary plowing vehicles, four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks and one supervisor with a four-wheel-drive plow with radio.
The hourly rate for each primary plow truck is $300 an hour for the first year and $325 for the second year. If the township renews the agreement for the third year, the primary plow trucks would have an hourly rate of $345 per hour.
The four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks and the supervisor have a rate of $200 per hour for each of the three years.