On the agenda for the April 13 Rice County Board of Commissioners meeting is a CUP Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a “Private Hunting Club/Dale Petelinsek for Les Ferris.”
Petelinsek, owner of Buck Creek Deer Camp, has proposed a hunting preserve/club/farm in Forest Township, about 2 miles north of Circle Lake and a mile west of Union Lake. From their website:
Buck Creek Deer Camp (BCDC) is dedicated to breeding world-class, typical, trophy whitetails for delivery to breeders and game preserves throughout America. Founded in 2007, our genetics come from the best lines; Flees, Waldvogel, Thiex, and Borntrager. We are located in the big woods of Rice County, Minnesota. Our goal is to winter 100 animals and sell 12 Boone and Crocket 200+ class bucks to the market each year. New in 2010 will be a game preserve to harvest trophy animals for a once in a lifetime hunting opportunity.
Personally, I’d rather see hunters going after white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virgineanus, AKA ‘forest rats’) in the wild to make the world safer for motorcyclists like me. But as an occasional carnivore, I don’t have any objection to the existence of hunting camps. (I see them somewhat similar to dating services, a handy way to increase your odds. My wife objects to that analogy.) Whether this is the place for one is the main question.
Attorneys David Hvistendahl and Kim Decker, of Hvistendahl, Moersch & Dorsey, representing the neighbors opposed to the preserve, discussed the proposal on their Law Review radio show on KYMN this week, Proposed "Hunting Farm" in Rice County.
I got this email from Larry White, detailing the opposition:
Margaret Huber suggested I contact you about the proposed deer camp. We have a unified neighborhood group of landowners and residents who oppose this proposal due to safety concerns from errant shotgun slugs for over 100 days a year compared to the current DNR deer season of 9 days.
By the way, due to a major gap in public safety laws the DNR rules no longer apply to this proposed operation because the State has granted full authority over deer and elk shooting camps to the Board of Animal Health WHO HAS NO SHOOTING RULES WHATSOEVER! They consider these animals as livestock and the camp operator can do whatever they want inside the fence. Shooters do not even need a DNR hunting license, gun safety training, can have suspended hunting privileges for previous violations, etc.
There is also a major concern by the neighbors that State Statute 87A relating to Shooting Ranges will apply to this operation by a reference in the Statute. If this Statute is applicable it includes a rule preventing any new buildings from being constructed within 750 feet of the deer camp property line. This also means that if my house or my closest neighbor’s house (Huber’s) was severely damaged by fire we could not even secure a building permit to reconstruct them.
The deer camp site is approximately 140 acres but when you draw a rectangle around it 750 feet "outside" the deer camp property perimeter it amounts to roughly a 250 acre area on which nothing can be constructed. Using the asking price of the deer camp property owned by Les Ferris at $15,000 an acre the value of this land which has in effect been seized or taken from all of us amounts to approximately $3,750,000!
The irony here is that the applicant, Petelinsek, is merely a tenant. He will not even own the property but yet the County may allow him to encumber and render valueless 250 acres and he doesn’t own one foot of any of it!
The Planning Commission recommended this for approval on April 1 and it goes to the County Board on April 13 for final approval. We are asking for concerned citizens to contact the Board prior to April 13 to express their concerns and outrage.
In the same April 1 Planning Commission meeting the County recommended approval of an archery range with a 5,000 foot safety zone for arrows behind the targets. The deer camp was recommended for approval with only a 500 foot protection from shotgun slugs traveling faster than the speed of sound!
Feel free to contact me if you have questions on this matter.