Gun restrictions tighten on Stroebe Island

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FOX CROSSING, Wis. (WBAY) -- The Village of Fox Crossing takes up a contentious issue Monday night: firearm restrictions on Stroebe Island.

For years, hunting was banned altogether from the island. But after receiving word from the DNR that restrictions were too tight in accordance with state law, the Village of Fox Crossing passed an ordinance allowing hunting near the island.

Since the ordinance passed, the village has received pushback from Stroebe Island residents, who say nearby hunting isn’t safe.

At a board meeting Monday night, the village worked to correct that.

“We don't want to take away the rights of the hunters, per se, but we need to make things safe for the residents first and foremost,” says Fox Crossing Village President Dale Youngquist.

Nearly a dozen Stroebe Island residents came forward at the meeting, voicing concern for the recent ordinance.

“No one wants to take away hunters' rights. However, no one has the right to discharge a firearm in a residential neighborhood,” says Michelle Elliott, a Stroebe Island resident.

The island just south of Appleton feeds into Little Lake Buttes de Morts and the Fox River.

Since the first ordinance passed, police have received reports of gun shots disturbing the peace, waking up families, and even hitting driveways, vehicles and homes.

“Things did not work out real well,” Youngquist tells Action 2 News. “We had many people reporting birdshots raining down on their house, in the yards, in their driveways, on their cars.”

Stroebe Island resident Douglas Peterson says he wakes up nearly every morning to shots hitting his bedroom window.

“I am in deep sleep, and then I'm hearing the shot, and I'm hearing the pellets on the window. So I'm waking up in a fight/flight situation,” he says. “It feels like I'm getting shot at, which frankly I am.”

Sentiments like Peterson’s are why the Village of Fox Crossing worked to intensify hunting restrictions on the island even further.

The village worked with the DNR to approve a new ordinance with even more “safety zones” that are off-limits for hunters.

“[The new ordinance] will not only expand the safety zones, but it will restrict the discharge of a weapon into those safety zones or toward Stroebe Island,” Youngquist says.

If gunshots continue to hit homes or disturb islanders, village board members say they will work toward eliminating hunting on the island altogether.

The most recently passed ordinance will go into effect this Friday, October 26.

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