DUBOIS – Posted properties on the DuBois City watershed were a concern for area hunters at Monday night’s council meeting.
In response to their concerns, it was explained that as part of a partnership, city officials and Tom Hibbert posted 180 acres (out of 6,000) as private.
Hibbert has plans for a television show to highlight DuBois City and area hunting. Council noted the city will not be compensated as part of the partnership.
Hibbert said his television show, “Friends in Wild Places,” has been broadcast through Tombob Outdoors for the past eight years
He said that it airs on ABC 23 and ATT Sports in the Pittsburgh region and MYTV in the State College and Altoona regions.
Hibbert said he proposed posting the 180 acres of land as private for his television show to the Watershed Commission, which granted him permission.
Hibbert and Councilman Ed Walsh said originally plans were for Hibbert to post the land on the reservoir, so he could film hunting privately and also for safety reasons.
Otherwise, they said, it would’ve been open to the public for rifle season. Though the film process is expected to take three years, access will only be limited for two.
However, Walsh and Hibbert said plans were postponed until more recently, so that it didn’t abruptly interfere with the fall and winter hunting seasons.
On Monday night, Hibbert said due to social media comments over the issue, he intended to keep the property posted throughout the two-year film process.
He said that he didn’t feel safe because he’d received multiple threats, and until the film process is complete, there will not be any public hunting in rifle season.
Hibbert read several of the social media comments aloud during the discussion at Monday’s council meeting.
Afterwards, some audience members stressed that hunters were good citizens who would be happy for Hibbert to have a successful television show.
They said they believed area hunters were just in shock to discover they would be barred from their hunting ground.
“When you hear [threats] like that, it really makes you want to step back,” said DuBois City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio.
Solicitor Toni Cherry explained that the land on the watershed is owned by DuBois City, which has permitted public access to the land for activities, such as hunting.
“That doesn’t mean it’s not private land owned by the city. We have to come to terms with [the fact] that it’s privately-owned land,” Cherry said. “It’s owned by the City of DuBois.”
In other business, Suplizio reported that the city and Sandy Township were looking to construct a shooting range for their police departments.
However, Suplizio said plans were in a “preliminary stage” at this point. When asked about public access, he said if it would be open to the public, it would be limited to specific days.
He added there had been some discussion on possibly having area police offer demonstrations on topics such as proper handgun use.