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.
Tags: Bowhunting, State DNR, Crossbow, Deer Hunting, Deer accidents