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Residents seek hunting ban on Ottawa County lake

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:56 AM

The Park Township Board voted 5-2 to back a resolution Thursday to ask the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment to examine whether duck and geese hunting should be allowed to continue on Lake Macatawa.

"We're not opposed to hunting, just hunting ducks and geese, just inappropriate hunting on this very residential lake," said resident Patrick Nowak, who presented a petition with 150 signatures of people seeking to end hunting on the lake next year.

"Years ago, the lake was much less residential than it is today and hunters could hunt without much of an effect on Park Township residents."

The state allowed waterfowl hunting this year in the lake's south zone from Oct. 6 to Nov. 30. It will resume Dec. 29-31. Early Canada Geese hunting season was Sept. 1-15. The south zone includes Park Township.

But hunters are on the lake before dawn and after dusk during waterfowl season when residents are using the lake for other recreation, homeowner Shirley Cooper told the board Thursday.

"There are young children from the Macatawa Yacht Club taking sailing lessons when hunters with shotguns are shooting at ducks," Cooper said.

Eli Paquette, a hunter who opposes the ban, told the board that hunters follow state rules that call for hunting at least 450 feet from homes.

"We don't shoot indiscriminately at boats or people on the lake," Paquette said. "It's a sport like fishing and we should have the same rights."

The Department of Natural Resources should be involved because Park Township doesn't control hunting rules on Lake Macatawa, Township Supervisor Gerald Hunsburger said.

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