Officials discuss city park ordinance after man allegedly tried to hunt deer in wetland habitat

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MONROE, LA (KTVE/KARD)– The West Monroe Police Department and the city’s Parks and Recreation Director want to remind citizens about the rules and regulations at city parks. This comes after an incident at Restoration Park where a man allegedly tried to hunt deer.

“You do see wildlife, they are here. We just ask that you enjoy them, respect them, and just observe them,” said Stuart Hodnett, West Monroe Parks and Recreation Director.

For 39-year-old Heath Page, it was more than just watching the wildlife. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says Page was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm after he was allegedly caught trying to hunt a deer in Restoration Park… a place where families walk on trails and where businesses are nearby.

“We see a lot of people coming out to the parks with their pets and their families, we want to continue to offer safe parks,” says Hodnett.

According to the arrest report, authorities received a complaint about a person who appeared to be dressed in camo with a bow, night-vision goggles, and a flashlight mounted to a .22 caliber rifle. Heath allegedly told authorities he planned to stay in Restoration Park until he killed a deer.

“As far as enforcement goes, they can receive up to a $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail for that or they can be put on trespassing notice for those violations and then that falls under state stature. Then, you could have up to 6 months and up to a $500 fine,” said Sergeant CJ Beck, West Monroe Public Information Officer.

In addition to no firearms at city parks, the ordinance clearly states “It shall be unlawful to hunt, kill, track, take possession of or remove any animal, bird, reptile, insect, or amphibian from city parks”

“It also goes for smoking in the park, driving in the park, how they walk in the park, all those things are really important for the public to know before they utilize those services because it is about safety and about honoring those rules,” said Sergeant CJ Beck.

While laying the law is important, safety comes first. Restoration Park is installing a new safety measure for walkers and joggers.

“The City of West Monroe has a 9-1-1 location service here at Restoration Park. It’s every .15 tenths of a mile. If you do get hurt on the trail, you can call 9-1-1 and they can locate you on that trial,” said Hodnett.

Kiroli Park holds an exception to the city park’s ordinance when it comes to fishing. Officials say locals can fish at the park’s lake for one dollar. Those who are 16 and older must have a license to do so. Just 2 days ago, the lake was re-stocked with 400 pounds of rainbow trout.

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