Bemidji City Council takes first step in reviewing hunting ordinance changes

Because the 2020 annexation from Northern Township brought more rural residents into the city of Bemidji, the city council is considering an ordinance amendment to allow hunting in certain areas for property owners. The first reading of the amendment took place during the council's meeting on Monday, June 7.

Bemidji City Hall 2020 web art.jpg
Bemidji City Hall.

BEMIDJI -- An ordinance amendment to allow newly annexed residents to hunt on their property received its first reading from the Bemidji City Council Monday.

The first reading is a follow-up to action taken by the council last year. In 2020, the council passed a resolution temporarily suspending enforcement of the city's firearms, bows and hunting regulations ordinance to allow property owners newly annexed to hunt as they were previously able to as a township.

If approved as is in the coming weeks, the proposed amendment to the ordinance would have eligible residents who desire to hunt or trap on their property register annually in writing with the city. Residents in the annexation area were brought in as part of an agreement between the city and Northern Township .

The area suggested in the amendment extends from Anne Street Northwest to Lakewood Drive and is bordered by Irvine Avenue and U.S. Highway 71. Additional areas listed in the amendment include land west of Highway 71 bordered by Balsam Road and Fern Street, as well as property east of Irvine Avenue, bordered by Lakewood Drive, White Elm Street and Lake Bemidji.

Based on city rules, should such an amendment be approved, allowed firearms would be limited to shotguns and muzzleloaders. The city allows revisions to amendments of ordinances up until the third and final reading.


The second reading will be held during the council's meeting on Monday, June 21.

Ward 5 Councilmember Nancy Erickson, who sits on the Deer Management Committee, said she has asked the group to convene before the June 21 meeting to review the proposed ordinance. Erickson said one proposal to consider in the amendment is having a minimum property size to be able to hunt.

Another matter to consider with the amendment before it's up for approval is if the hunting should be limited to the 2020 annexation area.

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