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Coon Creek permit approved but hours, bird limits tightened

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 8, 2008
— The Coon Creek Sportsmans Club will operate another year on a conditional use permit.

The Beloit Town Board on Monday approved the permit for the hunting preserve west of Beloit at 4605 St. Lawrence Ave. The new permit, however, tightens conditions for “tower hunts.”


In a tower hunt, organizers release game birds from a tower so hunters can shoot at them in flight.


Coon Creek’s tower hunts now will be limited to four hunts, four times per year. Each hunt must take place in four consecutive hours. Only one hunt may take place per month, and no more than 400 pheasants may be released in each hunt.


Coon Creek owner Mike Toubl also is now required to notify the town at least 24 hours before a tower hunt so supervisors can observe the hunt and the neighborhood around the preserve in an attempt to find common ground between Toubl and the neighbors.


Previously, conditions of the permit did not limit the number of birds and did not require the four hours to be consecutive.


Supervisors Dave Townsend and Dick LaMonte voted against the permit. Supervisors Phil Taber, Shannon Ladwig and Greg Groves voted in favor.


The debate has raged for a year between neighbors, who think the shooting is a “nuisance,” and Toubl, who thinks his business is being unfairly regulated.


At a recent board workshop, neighbors complained about a March 15 tower hunt in which 600 birds were released. Town board Chairman Groves said he has gotten complaints about the rapid fire during tower hunts. Neighbors say it sounds like a “war zone,” Groves said.


Toubl said the restrictions on top of a winter of poor hunting conditions forced him to do what he could to make his business succeed.


“When you limit the time, you increase the rate of shooting,” Toubl said. “That’s a lot of shooting. Of course it is, because of the time limit and the number of birds.”


Still no report on cause of fire in hunting club

The Wisconsin fire marshal’s office has not released an official report on a September fire at Coon Creek Sportsmans Club, 4605 St. Lawrence Ave., Beloit.


A fire destroyed an office and hunt club on the property. Damage to the 40-by-100-foot concrete block structure was estimated at more than $100,000. That figure did not include a tractor and several collectible cars stored in the building, police said.


The state Fire Marshal’s Office has been involved in the investigation since September.


Town of Beloit police can't investigate until the state determines whether the cause was arson, Det. Chris Luzinski has said.



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