HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – At a suburban school set in a beautiful wooded area just 19 miles north of Times Square, there’s concern students may be at risk from stray bullets or arrows during hunting season.

Deer have little fear in Hastings-On-Hudson. An estimated 120 live in the village’s two square miles. Many of those deer live in the woods near Hillside Elementary School.

Twice in October, recess there has been cancelled due to fears hunters were potentially putting children at risk.

“It’s concerning, God forbid, kids playing, somebody gets hurt by it,” said parent Elizabeth DeLucia. “I think it’s a real thing, I think people think they’re entitled to hunt wherever when it’s hunting season.”

“It is a dangerous situation – signs are posted,” said Al Otivich.

The woods are clearly marked with “no hunting” signs. But a few days ago someone was spotted bringing a crossbow into them. The next day, there were reports of gunfire from inside the woods.

Mayor Peter Swiderski suspects both instances were related to hunting, although when police checked, they found nothing.

“We have had reports of hunting over the years, for certainly the last ten years,” Swiderski told CBS2’s Tony Aiello. “It was why we posted bright yellow ‘no hunting’ signs because we didn’t want it to continue.”

Concern about possible illegal hunting is high enough that the village board is targeting a new measure to show they’re serious about stopping it, Aiello reported.

Instead of a regulation that is enforced by ordering hunters to leave the village woods, Hastings-On-Hudson may make it a law, with a hefty fine for anyone caught hunting.

“I think it’s important that there should be consequences,” DeLucia said.

Most hunters act legally and responsibly. The village says the few who don’t are on notice.

Hastings-On-Hudson has an ongoing experimental program, trying to reduce the deer population using immunocontraception, which makes does unable to have offspring.


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