Durham council will debate deer hunting inside city limits

jwise@newsobserver.comNovember 4, 2013 

The Durham City Council will consider lifting the ban on bowhunting of deer within the city limits.

MARK SCHULTZ — mschultz@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

  • What’s next

    The Durham City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers at City Hall, Mangum Street at City Hall Plaza in downtown Durham. The meeting is open to the public and carried live on cable channel 8 in Durham. If you would like to speak on particular agenda items, call the City Clerk’s office, 919-560-4166.

Deer season in Durham is on track for approval Monday night.

Rules to permit bow-and-arrow and crossbow hunting inside the city limits are on the City Council’s consent agenda ( bit.ly/1ch6L5n).

Consent agenda items are voted on as a group, usually with little or no discussion, though items may be pulled for individual consideration at the request of a council member or the public.

Advocates have lobbied for urban bowhunting over the past year as a measure to control the deer population, and as a source of meat for community kitchens and homeless shelters as well as hunters’ own dinner tables.

Hunters have also suggested starting a mentoring program to introduce inner-city youngsters to responsible hunting and outdoor life in general.

If approved, deer hunting would be allowed during the state’s regular season, which is already underway and continues through December. The rules do not provide for an additional five-week Urban Archery season in January and February, which state law allows and 39 cities held this year, including Chapel Hill and Pittsboro.

City Manager Tom Bonfield said the rules headed to the council ( bit.ly/1aR55gq) include several revisions since a council discussion in August and city attorneys’ consultations with other cities that allow bowhunting. As now proposed, the regulations:

•  Allow hunting only from stands at least 10 feet off the ground.

•  Allow hunting only on “areas of consent” – tracts of 5 contiguous acres or more; up from 2 acres.

•  Allow hunting only on land owned by the hunter or on which the hunter has the owner’s written permission.

•  Forbid shooting arrows within 250 feet of the hunting area’s boundary or within 250 feet of a residence, school, church, business, government property, occupied building, street or recreational area.

•  Require hunters to “make every reasonable effort to track wounded deer for the purpose of completing the harvest and recovering the carcass.”

•  Require the city manager’s office to report every other year on the number of deer killed, any effects on nuisance by deer and any safety issues that have arisen.

Otherwise, deer hunting in town would be governed by state regulations and the state Wildlife Resources Commission would be responsible for enforcing the rules.

Council members agreed to increase the required buffer from 150 feet to 250 feet at their Oct. 24 work session. Councilwoman Diane Catotti asked for the increase, saying “150 feet, that’s not very far.”

Catotti had also asked for the 5-acre minimum since the August meeting and said she was pleased with the change.

The acreage rule allows several tracts with different owners to be combined as an “area of consent” to reach the 5-acre minimum, a provision requested by several hunters who appeared at the August council meeting.

Wise: 919-641-5895

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