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Reports Of Hunters Near School Stir Concern In Westchester Village

Reports of hunters in the woods near Hillside Elementary has concerned parents and officials.
Reports of hunters in the woods near Hillside Elementary has concerned parents and officials. Photo Credit: Google Maps Street View

Two reports of hunting in area parks near an elementary school have one local mayor sounding the alarm.

According to Hastings-on-Hudson Mayor Peter Swiderski, there have been two incidents recently involving hunters near Hillside Elementary School, prompting the mayor to email a letter to residents.

In the message, Swiderski said the first incident involved the sighting of an individual with a bow and arrow, assumed to be a hunter, entering the woods last week.

The second, the next day, involved a report of loud noises believed to be gunshots coming from the woods.

In both cases, the Hasting-on-Hudson Police Department responded immediately, with the assistance of the Dobbs Ferry Police Department, Swiderski said in the notice.

"In neither instance were any individuals sighted or apprehended," he said. "There has been an understandable swirl of concern and confusion regarding these incidents, including the question of whether hunting is permitted in the woods."

In New York, hunting with firearms is prohibited anywhere in Westchester County. Hunting with bow and arrow, with the proper permits, in season and with certain restrictions on proximity to private homes and schools (at least 150 feet away from either), is permitted. 

The village park regulations currently prohibit hunting in village parks just as any property owner can prohibit hunting on their own property, the mayor said.

Since the village passed the regulations they have put up brightly colored signs in an effort to notify hunters. But because the ruling is only a regulation, police can't arrest a person for doing so. They can only ask them to leave. 

"We had hoped that the clear signage would be adequate to deter this sort of sub rosa hunting," the Mayor said. "The sighting of the hunter this week leads us to believe that this is not so and stronger enforcement mechanisms are required."

The issue will be discussed during an upcoming Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Concerned residents who see hunters entering or present in Village parks should call the Police Department at 914-478-2344.

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