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Hunters can't use rifles, handguns in Linn Township

But board may consider revising ordinance

May 05, 2010 | 08:47 AM
Linn — A controversial situation involving one former town cop's response to a 911 call involving some coyote hunters led locals to an interesting discovery.

There's a town ordinance which prohibits any kind of hunting with a rifle or a handgun.

Years ago, the Linn Town Board adopted the ordinance, but it wasn't brought up until after a Feb. 15 call prompted law enforcement officers to confront a group of coyote hunters with their weapons brandished. Now, the board may discuss changing the ordinance at its May 10 meeting.

On April 12, Jake Lasch proposed amending the ordinance to change what he said he hopes was a "clerical error."

"The discharge of any firearm or bow is prohibited in all areas within the town of Linn zoned residential, except those parcels exceeding five acres," town ordinance Chapter 6.2(B) states. "The discharge of any rifle or handgun for hunting is strictly prohibited throughout the town of Linn."

Lasch asked the board to either remove that last sentence or change to prohibit the discharge of any rifle or handgun in residentially-zoned areas.

He said as the ordinance reads now, even pellet guns could not be fired for hunting purposes.

But the ordinance wasn't upheld during the controversial Feb. 15 incident, which was prompted when Walworth County Dispatch received a 911 call about a potentially dangerous subject carrying a "high-powered rifle" along Highway 120.

Jake Lasch, his brother Adam and Mark and Paul Voltz were the hunters who were confronted by police. The hunters received no citations during the incident, but police officer Lee Redlin lost his part-time gig in Linn because of the alleged way he handled the situation.

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Adam Lasch had filed a complaint against Redlin. However, on April 12, Supervisor Jim Weiss read a Town Board statement. It appeared the board was concerned with the way Redlin allegedly handled Adam Lasch.

"During the conversation between Officer Redlin and Adam Lasch, Officer Redlin made a comment to Adam in essence stating, 'Don't cop an attitude,'" the board stated. "We find that comment from Officer Redlin to have been entirely inappropriate and unprofessional under the circumstances."

In March, Linn Police Chief Dennis Wisniewski said he wasn't at the incident, but the hunters may not have been cited for hunting because it "could be a discretionary issue on the part of the officer, and it could be because of where they were. They weren't close to any subdivisions or anything like that, so that would be my guess."

However, during a March 25 interview, the Lasches and the Voltzes said they want the Town Board to rewrite the ordinance.

Paul Voltz said coyotes are a nuisance.

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"They are the biggest predator of deer around here," Jake Lasch said.

The four hunters said they have been hunting locally all their lives.

Adam Lasch said he feared the incident cast coyote hunters in a bad light.

"We're not gun-toting crazies," he said. "We're out there trying to be safe."

On April 12, Town Attorney David Schiltz suggested the board discuss the ordinance May 10.

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Town Board supervisors seemed interested in discussing an amendment.

However, Supervisor Greg Holden said he believes there should be some kind of buffer zone if the board changes the ordinance.

"Let's try to get a little safety zone around our schools," he said.

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Walworth County