Colts Neck officials eye possible change in hunting regulations

COLTS NECK – Township Committee members may amend the municipal code in a manner that would permit hunting on more public property in Colts Neck.

During a recent meeting, members of the township’s governing body said the Colts Neck Wildlife Committee has recommended amending the municipal code to permit bow hunting 150 feet from an occupied structure at an elevated position and firearms hunting 450 feet from an occupied structure.

According to the wildlife committee, these recommendations would align Colts Neck with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife standards.

At present, individuals who hunt on public land in Colts Neck must be township residents. Individuals from any municipality may hunt on private property with the permission of the property owner.

Municipal officials said they are open to having non-residents hunt in Colts Neck only if there is a shortage of hunters, however, there are no definitive plans in place to implement that policy.

Township Attorney Meghan Bennett-Clark was asked to draft an ordinance which would, if adopted, amend the municipal code to the 150/450 rule.

Deputy Mayor Frank Rizzuto expressed concern about opening up more public property in Colts Neck to hunting.

“I’m all for controlling the deer population, but I don’t think the risk of opening up parks to recreational hunting outweighs the gains of thinning the herd.

“I’m not saying I’m against it, I’m just saying I’m not convinced (about) recreational hunting vs. professional hunting. We could really control access, who is at what space at what time, sufficient notice to vacate areas, and we can control some of that with the recreational hunter,” Rizzuto said.

Officials have indicated there is a problem with white tailed deer in Colts Neck.