Bowhunters hope for extended season in future

Surveys show number of deer taken at Huyser Farm Park, interactions with public.
Huyser Farm Park, 4188 64th St.

Participants in the annual Huyser Farm Archery Hunt in 2023 would like the bowhunting season for deer at the park extended. The seven survey respondents also said the overall experience in the Laketown Township park was positive.

Fifteen hunters were chosen from 27 applicants in September. Each participant received about a two-week period to hunt on the property from Oct. 1 through Nov. 14 then Dec. 1-31.

The hunt is coordinated by the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission.

“Thank you for the opportunity,” one hunter wrote in their survey. “Just wish I had more time and better/colder weather.”

Three hunters who responded to the survey got deer. Another hunter reported bagging a deer but did not complete a survey.

Sharing the park

The park property remained open for hiking, fishing and other recreational activities during the hunting times. Signs were placed at the parking area notifying people that hunting was underway.

Some of the hunters interacted with other park users and had few issues, though unleashed dogs were a problem.

“Park dog rules need to be posted bigger, maybe a poop bag dispenser?” one hunter wrote.

“Dogs off leash all the time,” another commented.

All dogs are required to be on a leash no longer than 6 feet long, according to township rules.

One hunter asked that the season be extended through the gun season when the archery hunt is suspended.

“Archery equipment is legal to use in this season under state law and it would increase opportunity for non-gun hunters,” the respondent said.

Other results

The 2023 respondents spent an average of 4.3 days hunting. They reported seeing songbirds, owls, squirrels and chipmunks. One hunter saw a coyote.

Survey respondents for the 2022 hunt spent an average of 4.4 days hunting during their about two-week window. Two hunters got deer in 2022. Many reported seeing deer, coyotes, skunks, squirrels and a variety of birds.

The hunting program began in 2008.

Applications for the 2024 hunt will be available in the fall.

Huyser Farm Park, 4188 64th St., is 102 acres with trails, diverse plants, dune area and organic blueberry fields.

For more information, visit Laketowntwp.org or call (616) 335-3050.