Wake Forest approves bow hunting within town

sbarr@newsobserver.comFebruary 20, 2013 

— Bow-and-arrow deer hunting could begin in Wake Forest as soon as September under an ordinance approved by the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

The “urban archery” ordinance is intended to reduce the town’s deer population, which the measure’s supporters describe as pests who invade gardens and cause traffic accidents. It allows manual bow hunting during the regular archery season as well as the urban archery season that follows it.

Commissioners approved it 4-1, with Greg Harrington casting the lone vote against it. Harrington said he is concerned hunting could be unsafe and does not think it is an effective way to deal with a “perceived problem.”

“I know the deer are out there,” he said Wednesday. “I just don’t see it as as much of a problem as other people do, and I don’t think hunting is going to do much to stop it.”

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission established the urban archery season in 2007 as a way to reduce the number of deer in developed areas, said Greg Batts, a wildlife biologist with the commission. The season runs from mid-January to mid-February, after the regular deer season has closed.

Only two towns participated in the state’s first urban archery season in 2008. This year, 38 towns participated, resulting in 82 deer killed, said Batts.

In Durham, the city administration is mulling the idea of urban archery. Chapel Hill is now in its third urban archery season, and Pittsboro is in its fourth. Each town sets its own rules for the urban archery seasons and must renew its program with the state each year.

The Wake Forest ordinance allows hunting on private tracts of land of at least five contiguous acres and on designated public lands, though no public land is currently designated for hunting.

Batts said it is difficult to quantify how effective the urban archery seasons are at reducing the deer population. He said municipalities could look at data such as deer-related traffic accidents to gauge how well the programs are working.

He also noted that the commission has never recorded an archery accident.

Wake Forest must submit a request to the Wildlife Resources Commission by April 1 to participate in the next urban archery season.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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