Thursday, February 08, 2007

New opportunities for bowhunters.

With the rapid growth of the deer population and the suburban housing development conflicts between deer and traffic have risen. Motorists are involved in more than one million traffic accidents in a year involving deer. Resident complaints of deer damaging crop and gardens also have drastically increased over the years. This has prompted several states, towns and cities to look for solutions to address collisions involving deer and conflicts between deer and human dwellings. There are number of solutions considered in the affected communities. To permit bowhunting within the city limits, lifting the Sunday hunting ban and legislate the crossbow as a legal hunting weapon for all hunters by either including crossbows into the general archery season or creating a special crossbow hunting season.

Whatever method the communities chose to solve the deer population explosion and lower the problems the deer cause it is good news for us hunters. It means more deer tags are issued, more hunting opportunities and longer deer hunting seasons. Among communities adding limited hunts to their strategy:

Fort Smith and Barling, Ark., lifted a hunting ban in a 7,200-acre area that lies in both towns. One hundred permits were sold for bow hunting this season, which ends Feb. 28. The hunt was set up because of concerns there might not be enough food for deer and the risk of the animals roaming into the area as it fills with new homes and businesses, says Sandy Sanders, director of a local redevelopment authority.

Kansas City, Mo., had bow hunts for the first time in two public parks. From late November to Dec. 10, 41 deer were killed, says Debra Burns, urban wildlife biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. The City Council authorized the hunts after learning that at least 400 deer a year were hit by vehicles within the city, Burns says.

Warsaw, Ind., in November authorized archers to hunt deer for three weeks this winter. "It was a baby step," Councilman Jeff Grose says of the hunt, which led to the killing of 20 deer. "We felt the residents in that area had a legitimate argument to declare the deer population as a nuisance."

Alamosa, Colo., is allowing hunting by bows and shotguns on a city-owned golf course until Feb. 28. The hunt comes after incidents in which deer killed backyard pets, caused property damage and were hit by vehicles. "This won't decrease the population," City Manager Nathan Cherpeski says. "At best, it's going to slow the growth."
Suburbs of Des Moines, St. Louis, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, have staged bow hunts or are considering them.

North Carolina's Wildlife Resources Commission will vote March 7 on whether to permit a five-week bow-hunting season, the first time hunting would be allowed within city or town limits. If approved, each community would decide whether to allow the hunts.

Other states, such as; Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee have, or consider at the present, legalized crossbow for all hunters. This new and welcome hunting opportunity will create more hunting land available to the hunters within the community. This also means a higher awareness of safety and adopting new hunting tactics. Hunting Suburban deer on relatively small parcels of land or even in people’s backyard is a very different affair than hunting deer on farmland or on public land tracts.

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Steve said...

The 7,200 -acre in Fort Smith and Barling (Chaffee Crossing) is where I am shed hunting at this time. A large interstate Hwy. is being built right through the middle of this property. It is great that they finally decided to open it up for Archery but the bad thing is that they are charging $200 to hunt this area. This is a lot of money for the average hunter in this area.

Jeff said...

I am watching the NC vote very closely and hope that it is received better than the Sunday hunting proposal. When deer and humans begin to rub elbows in close quarters the only hunting option is bow hunting. Right now bow huntings biggest opponents are the hired guns that many towns and cities have PAID to thin the herd.

You are right about suburban deer being a different affair. In many cases the hunt is much tougher due to the smaller tracts of land.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Steve- I thought that Fort Smith and Barling (Chaffee Crossing) somehow sounds familiar to me. Now that you mentioned it I remember to have read about it on you excellent Shed Antler Blog.
I find it absolutely disgusting - and I am trying to be polite here – that communities start to charge hunters fees to step on the land and hunt. Talk about a money grab. I even wonder if it is legal to charge a trespass fee on public accessible land, and if so why don’t get hikers and other usurers charged a fee too for entering these lands? I fear that hunting is being commercialized more and more.
I am a bit on a roll here because I just read some bad news that in Cook County, IL the council want to put a 2 cent tax on every single firearm cartridge purchased in that county to stuff the hole in their mismanaged budget.

Jeff- I hope with you that more suburban areas are opened up North Carolina. Maybe it’s a good idea to mobilize the hunters of that state to get involved in the decision making and not leave it all up to the inner city people.

I hear you my hunting brother. Here in my home town we have a beaver overpopulation problem. You would think that the council would permit fur trappers to solve the problem. But no, to appease the animal rights nuts, they hired professional trappers to tackle the problem the cost for it so far is over a quarter million dollars. There is something about government bureaucrats that does not appeal to me. Especially, if the bright ideas they’re coming up are financed with MY tax dollars.

As much as I respect religious church gores, I am of the opinion that all Sunday hunt bans should be lifted. It’s a leftover relic from the 1800’s that funny enough does not apply to anybody but hunters in some states.

-Othmar Vohringer-

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