LAYTON -- Is hunting on the way out in this city?

Mayor Jerry Stevenson said he has received numerous complaints from residents west of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad tracks about too-close-for-comfort hunters during the current pheasant season. He wonders if it isn't time, based on a housing boom there, to ban hunting in the only area of the city where it's legal.In a recent City Council work meeting, Stevenson said there are likely a few hunters who will feel their rights are being taken away, if a total citywide ban is eventually approved. However, he said the city is not the same now; it has evolved.

Stevenson has directed Police Chief Doyle Talbot to study how much actual open land is left in west Layton where hunting is still legal. He'll make a report to the council in a future meeting. The city attorney will also start drafting a possible new ordinance.

About five years ago, the city banned hunting everywhere except west of the D&RG Railroad Tracks. It is illegal to shoot within 600 feet of homes or roads.

However, some hunters have been spotted this fall trampling through fields for pheasants less than 50 feet away from West Hill Field Road.

Stevenson suspects that if the 600-foot law were strictly enforced, there would be very little acreage left to shoot at birds -- if you find them.

"I go to Richfield," he said of his own pheasant-hunting habits. "There are no good places (left) here."

Councilman Brent Allen also suspects the total open acreage is very small.

Stevenson said other area cities -- Farmington, Kaysville and Clearfield -- have already banned hunting entirely within their city limits because of residential growth.

"We're one of the few ones left," he said.

Stevenson also said there is some minor damage being done by hunters or target practice shooters who fire too close to homes.

"It's an emotional issue," Councilman Renny Knowlton said.

Stevenson said a decision isn't really pressing right now, but he'd like it resolved by at least next summer so that next fall's hunters can plan accordingly.