Advertisement
  1. Hernando

State restricts hunting around Spring Hill lake

Homeowner Chris Anger points at the dozens of ducks in the canal behind his home on March 31 in Spring Hill. Hunters began hunting the black-bellied whistling ducks in the canals last hunting season, prompting complaints from Anger and other residents. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Published Aug. 5

SPRING HILL — Residents who complained earlier this year that duck hunting on the canals off Hunters Lake had turned their waterside homes into war zones can look forward to a quieter hunting season this winter.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted July 18 to approve a request by the Hernando County Commission to restrict hunting on the canals.

The restricted hunting area designation prohibits hunting on several canals around the lake, but not on the body of the lake itself, which covers about 430 acres, according to Fish and Wildlife documents. It's just the third time in the past 20 years the Conservation Commission has designated a restricted hunting area, spokesperson Tammy Sapp said.

In January, residents spoke before the Hernando County Commission. They described a regular barrage of shotgun blasts that unsettled veterans and service dogs and left parents in fear of letting their children play outside. Some reported stray shots that ripped through pool screens or shattered windows.

In March, the County Commission voted to ask the Conservation Commission to designate 24 canals as a bird sanctuary, which would have prohibited hunters from pursuing duck on the canals. The County Commission itself lacks the authority to regulate hunting, county attorney Garth Coller said at the time.

Sapp said at the time the agency hadn't designated a bird sanctuary in more than 20 years. The agency didn't take that step in this case, either, but it did see reason to stop hunting on the canals.

"The Hernando County Commission believes that waterfowl hunting in the canals and waterways linking (Spring Hill) with Hunters Lake poses a public safety concern," reads a memorandum to the Conservation Commission from hunting and game management director Morgan Richardson. "... staff has assessed the area under consideration and believes the limited area being proposed for closure to hunting will not result in a denial of reasonable and lawful hunting opportunity."

More than 5,000 people live within half a mile of the lake, County Commission chairman Jeff Holcomb wrote in March in a letter to the Conservation Commission. The area also includes Westside Elementary School and the Spring Hill campus of Pasco-Hernando State College, which abuts the lake.

Among those neighbors is Christopher Anger, who spoke out against the hunting in January. Upon learning that the Conservation Commission had barred hunting on the canals, Anger said he was delighted. Despite his skepticism of government at work, he said, it made him feel like civic engagement still works for people without political connections.

"I was able to tell a couple of my neighbors, and they are just really excited about it," he said. "For me, it's giving me hope that the little guy does still have a voice."

Anger looks forward to a hunting season where the only sounds of gunshots come from off in the distance.

Contact Jack Evans at jevans@tampabay.com. Follow @JackHEvans.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Glenn Woods, 62, shapes a decorative bottle made with a blend of porcelain clays at Pottery Boys Clay Studios on Nov. 18  in Palm Harbor. Woods and his partner, Keith Herbrand, 56, have created dozens of pieces, including holiday decorations, vases, coffee cups, bowls and platters for the Tour de Clay, a progressive tour of five pottery studios in the Tampa Bay area featuring the work of 33 artists from near and far. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    The annual effort supports working artists and benefits charity.
  2. Earlier today• Hillsborough
    Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. Courtesy of Lynn Cristina
    After getting totally sucked into the commercialization of Santa and his Elves, I did something about it.
  3. One way to research options is through Medicare's online Plan Finder, available at medicare.gov/find-a-plan. THOMAS TOBIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    For those who haven’t reviewed coverage for 2020, there is still time.
  4. Hernando County Government Center    Times (2018)
    The Hernando County Commission will have final say. Neighbors say they don’t want the traffic and interruption in their community.
  5. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
  6. CAPTION: (09/14/2006, Largo, FL) Photo #3.
Students participating in the Plein Air Painting class at Heritage Village in Largo were asked to bring their own supplies including paint brushes.

(Times Photo by Thomas Whisenand)

STORY SUMMARY:
A Plein Air painting class conducted by local painter Robin Popp at Heritage Village in Largo. Times (2006)
  7. The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for For Each 1 Reach 1. Cutting the ribbon is Lynette Mackey. This was taken in 2013 at her original location. SUBMITTED PHOTO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Lynette Mackey says her students need her program and the faith she has in them.
  8. The intersection at Seminole Boulevard and East and West Bay Drive forbids drivers from turning right, even on a green light. FDOT
    The intersection at Seminole Boulevard and the East/West Bay Drive is the only one in the district where drivers are restricted on green-light turns.
  9. Trixie, Abby, Greta and Butterbeans are available for adoption at Tampa Bay area shelters. Times
    Tampa Bay area shelter pets are looking for permanent homes.
  10. Hernando County Government Center    Times (2018)
    Two months into the fiscal year — with the fruits of a 14 percent tax rate hike —Hernando County is making financial progress.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement