WEST NEWBURY — A new committee tasked with creating a hunting policy for town land is considering possibly allowing bow hunting of West Newbury’s deer population.
The Hunting Policy Committee met for the first time earlier this month to organize and begin discussions.
The Dunn property on Pipestave Hill and the Craven property off Brake Hill Terrace are being seen as the two most likely spots for bow hunting in town, although at least one committee member believes any property more than 5 acres in size should be reviewed.
While not a hunter himself, Selectman Glenn Kemper proposed the formation of the committee late last year. He won the support of Chairman Bert Knowles, but Selectman Dick Cushing voted against it.
“This is going to be a big change in town,” Kemper told the new panel. “(Some) people are going to think you’re the devil.”
Kemper provided the committee with a memo outlining messages the selectmen’s office has received since the group was formed. Most of the messages were from people against or unsure of the plan.
The selectman urged committee members to “have tunnel vision” during the process. He said while it’s important to encourage input, the panel must remember that its task is not to debate the merits of hunting.
Ultimately, it will be up to selectmen to decide whether to adopt any policy the committee brings forward, Kemper said.
Committee Chairman Jamus Driscoll said his aim was to find an appropriate use for town land “that balances multiple concerns.”
An avid outdoorsman, Driscoll has been following how other towns have developed hunting policies in recent years. He approached selectmen to gauge if there was interest in creating a similar type of policy for West Newbury. He added it isn’t necessary to “reinvent the wheel,” and would like to model West Newbury’s policy after Dover and Medfield.