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Hunting Preserve Near Hartland Elementary School Draws Concern from Residents

Hartland official says the township is working to draft regulations to control how close to the school hunters can shoot.

During Tuesday night’s Hartland Township meeting, resident Barb Krueger addressed the board of trustees requesting an update to a concern regarding a local game preserve that shares a border with one of Hartland’s elementary schools. 

Variety Farms Game Preserve, located at 11585 Dunham Road, is open to the public and provides an area of fields and forests for bird hunters. It is also located in close proximity to Round Elementary and according to Township Manager James Wickman, the preserve has been in existence since before special use permits were required. 

Wickman also said the owners were working with the planning department on a general site plan and cooperating with “efforts to try to keep a proper distance away from the school property” and explained they were working to confirm those distances on area maps. 

“They’re already well in excess of any state laws regarding that type of activity near school property," Wickman said. "And I think when it’s all said and done, we’ll have a much better handle of how that’s being controlled."

In November, B.J. McDevitt, the son of a woman who found a bullet in her home, commented on a Hartland Patch story regarding the close proximity of the game preserve to the school.

“If the shot came from where I suspect it did, then Round Elementary School was in the path as well,” McDevitt wrote. “I have found hunting blinds in trees on school property less than 20 feet from the playground. Two weeks ago, there was an ATV "hidden" on school land just behind the playground, covered with a camouflage tarp. There is a hunting preserve directly next to the playground, and gunfire is all too common there.”

Scott Tobel February 06, 2013 at 12:43 PM
I have hunted at Variety Farms with my son and friends and as it states in your story that Variety Farms is a Bird hunting preserve. The McDevitt family found a bullet that hit there home, well this is an unfortunate incident by all means but I have been upland bird hunting for well over 30 years and there is no hunter out there that loads there weapon with a round that carries a bullet. Bird hunting weapons consisting of a shotgun with BB's in the shell with a maximum range of 100 yds or less. A weapon that shoots a Bullet can be fired from anywhere from a few yards to several Miles away. Thank you, Scott Tobel
Kristine S February 06, 2013 at 01:59 PM
I never knew this was there and so close to the school & playground. I went the the Round school & now my daughter goes. Why can't they simply not allow hunting while school is in session? I think the safety of our kids is more important than an activity done for fun. I understand that most hunters probably respect the boundaries and are careful, but we all know all it fakes is one perso who doesn't care to follow the rules. How unfortunate and tragic would it be if it took a child being injured or killed to make the change occurr?! Everyone needs to be reasonable and make compromises to ensure the kids are safe.
Barry Tackett February 06, 2013 at 08:33 PM
the state law is you can't discharge a firearm within 400 feet of an occupied structure (this may not be the exact wording on the law), as stated by Mr. Tobel, this is a facility for bird hunting, and this activity is done primarily with a firearm with a maximum range of around 300 feet (approx). at 400 feet i don't think any appropriate loading for any bird hunting would have enough power to bruise a peach. and to further add to the argument, Variety farms mandates steel shot only, steel shot is lighter than lead shot and loses energy much faster. as long as Variety farms stays within the state law, and continues to use steel shot i don't see where there is a problem. before people start blaming firearms, they need to get more information on the real problem, where was the "bullet" found? what caliber is it? etc.. if the bullet was found in the north side of a house that is on the north side of the road (Round school is on the south side, Variety shares a common border to the schools south) then the "bullet" could not have come from the farm, just to the west, on the north side of the road, just a few summers ago, someone was conducting CPL classes, including live fire training, from their home. could the bullet have come from there? to many unanswered questions to do anything but inflame the uninformed.
D. Owen February 06, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Yep, we have just changed engineering principals. You can now draw a straight line with only one point. The "bullet" obviously came from variety farms. If the Patch was looking to make the McDevitts look foolish then you were successful. If I owned an ATV I surely would not leave it in the woods. Might be stolen?
Barry Tackett February 06, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Okay, just read the article about the bullet thru the wall.... again no real info, the pictures show what looks to me to be a handgun bullet. ("most" rifle bullets are either pointed or longer than the bullet shown). highly unlikely this round was fired by someone that was legally hunting.
eddy February 07, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Hunting close to a school?What is the problem with the Township to allow this.

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