Insurance, code muzzle request for mentored hunts on Millsboro land

MILLSBORO — An insurance stipulation and prohibition spelled out in town code have teamed as a double-barreled roadblock in the request for mentored hunts on town of Millsboro land through a National Wild Turkey Federation/Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife partnership.

The NWTF and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control had sought council’s approval to conduct mentored hunts on town-owned farmland known locally as the White Farm near US 113 and SR 20.

The aim of the hunts was to stimulate interest in hunting and increase the number of hunters, according to Mark Ostroski, Delaware Hunter Education Coordinator for DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. Mr. Ostroski and Charles Spray of the NWTF addressed council in January.

With a ruling from the town’s insurance company, Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson essentially shot down the proposal.

“The insurance company indicated that the underwriter was not willing to insure any hunting activity performed by a town employee. So, that is the long and short of it,” said Mr. Hudson at the Feb. 5 meeting.

In addition, Mr. Hudson noted town code – Section 105-1 – states that it is unlawful to discharge firearms in the town of Millsboro, with the exception of a police officer for archery activities under direction of chief of police. The code also outlines violations and penalties.

The hope of the NWTF and DNREC was to begin with several turkey hunts this spring, and possibly expand to mentored deer and other hunts at some point down the road.

While not exclusive, the mentored hunting program targeted youth in hopes of increasing interest in hunting.

As presented to council, mentored hunts would typically be two mentors for one mentee, and all participants – mentors and mentees – would be required to sign a waiver release, removing the town from any liability. Those under the age of 18 would also need parental signature to participate.

Now, hunting activity will not be allowed.

“I think the thinking was that if town employees can’t, that by extension” the public should not be allowed to hunt there either, Mr. Hudson said.

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