EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written in response to a reader-submitted question through Open Source, a platform where readers can ask Richland Source’s newsroom to investigate a question.
MANSFIELD -- A Richland Source reader was a bit clairvoyant when he asked last month about changes in the hunting ordinances around the Clearfork Reservoir.
There were no official changes at that point.
But those changes may be enacted Tuesday when Mansfield City Council is expected to vote on legislation city officials hope will clarify the rules and make hunting safer for everyone around the lake.
Here is how the proposed new pertinent "M" section of Section 971.02 will read:
Hunting. No person shall hunt on the south shore of the Reservoir Lake in the area bound by Gass Road on the east, by Bowers Road on the west and by State Route 97 on the south.
(1) Hunting, except as set forth in paragraph (m) herein, shall be in accordance with the Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations issued annually by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife as such pertain to White-tail Deer hunting, Small Game and Furbearer hunting, Furbearing trapping, Youth Waterfowl hunting, Military Waterfowl hunting and North Zone Waterfowl hunting. No other type of hunting shall be permitted.
(2) Hunting shall be limited to the use of longbows, crossbows, shotguns and muzzle loaders.
(3) Waterfowl hunting, as set forth herein, shall be limited to the period of time from sunrise through 12:00 p.m. (noon) during the appropriate season.
"We believed this legislation was needed to help clarify some issues and concerns that had come up," said Dave Remy, the city's public works director.
He said one of the concerns was the ordinance language had been changed in 2014, removing the fact shotguns and longbows were permitted.
"That was taken out of the ordinance, yet hunting was still allowed," Remy said.
He said there was also some confusion regarding which areas around the reservoir could be used for hunting, which the proposed legislation should clarify.
The popular outdoors location is also used by people walking, running, etc. and Remy said they wanted to make sure all activities can continue to be done safely.
He said city officials discussed the issues with ODNR.
"We need to put up better signage and make it more clear where hunting areas are and put some controls on the types of hunting that are allowed and are not allowed," he said.
One marked change from ODNR waterfowl hunting regulations is the hunting times. The state allows waterfowl to be hunted from sunrise to sunset. The city's ordinance only allows hunting until noon.
"Do we want to have hunters in the afternoon when people may still be out on the water in a boat?" Remy asked in explaining the earlier end to the hunting day.