Sarasota Co. approves hunting on conservation land

Carlton Reserve in Venice could one day become a new hunting ground for Phil Aubin.


"As long as they have rules to go with it that makes it right," said Aubin.


Aubin is a lifelong hunter and hasn't had much of an opportunity to practice the sport in Sarasota County.


"We hunt, but we have to go far away to do it. This is right in our back yard," he told FOX 13.


A new ordinance drafted by county commissioners could soon change his predicament. Commissioners didn't realize hunting wasn't allowed on county property until a veteran's group asked to borrow land for a hunting retreat.


"This is just the first step. The light switch hasn't been turned on for hunting on public land in Sarasota," said County Commissioner Christine Robinson.


County commissioners said it will take at least a year for them to come up with a plan and designate certain areas for hunting.


"It is all going to be if it's appropriate. We need to look at safety issues. There is really going to be a lot to work out," explained County Commissioner Paul Caragiulo.


Commissioners will look at buying or leasing property for hunters. Every piece of land will be considered on a case by case basis.


"I can't imagine of any or if it would occur in a park. It's not appropriate I don't see it happening. I don't believe anyone would see it as a reasonable option," added Commissioner Caragiulo.


Martin Popkov lives near Carlton Reserve and he wants no part of the idea.


"You need to enjoy the wildlife and going on trails and not hunting," added Popkov.


He worries about the potential for non-hunters being hurt, as well as the noise.


"It doesn't seem like a good idea especially because it's a preserve," he said.


For now it is just a possibility.


Commissioners aren't even sure which areas would be designated for hunters, but they say many of the areas they are looking at were once hunted.