Local News

Duck Hunter Opposes Rocky Mount Ordinance

Posted February 25, 2008 6:14 p.m. EST
Updated February 25, 2008 6:46 p.m. EST

— An opponent to Rocky Mount's new ordinance regulating where hunters can hunt ducks says it puts the city in the duck-hunting business.

But city leaders cite safety concerns and increased population growth for the ordinance, the first of its kind for the city in the 40 years it has owned a 1.5-mile stretch of land surrounding the Tar River.

"(It's) an opportunity and a chance to regulate something that has now grown to the point it needs regulation," said Capt. Wayne Sears with the Rocky Mount Police Department.

Under the ordinance, approved last fall, dunk-hunting blinds must be at least 500 yards from roads, residential areas and other blinds. It also limits the number hunters can have to one.

The city also plans to build two blinds of its own, which it will then rent to the public, to help control what happens on the property.

Once constructed, those duck blinds will be available to hunters through a lottery system two days a week.

"It's a city-funded hunt club and basically, puts Rocky Mount in the duck-hunting business" said John Bryant, a vocal opponent to the ordinance.

Four of his five blinds have to come down.

Bryant says the city is taking away hunters' rights to hunt where they want. He has started a petition to urge the city to change its new regulations.

"Yes, there are some people who may not be allowed to hunt exactly where they want to, but again, that's done with a safety consideration, and also, it's done with giving others a fair chance to enjoy the sport," Sears said.

Sears says the city is protecting its land and believes signs advertising a number for lease on Bryant's duck blinds point to something else.

"He's on our land, yet he's leasing them – or at least there are signs on them stating that he's leasing them, which gives you the belief that he's making money off the city of Rocky Mount."

Bryant denies that claim.

"I've never made one dime on renting a blind," he said.