Starting next year, Clayton residents can hunt deer with bow and arrow in the town limits.
During the state’s urban archery season in January and February, residents who buy a town hunting permit can kill deer on private property at least 5 acres in size. The properties eligible for hunting can be one parcel or a group of neighboring parcels, according to an ordinance approved this month by the Clayton Town Council.
Hunters must shoot at least nine feet above ground level and toward the interior of the property they are hunting on. They can’t shoot within 150 feet of a house or road right-of-way, unless it’s their own house.
Hunters also can’t shoot within 300 feet of any daycare, school, church or Town of Clayton park.
To get a hunting permit, residents must show a valid North Carolina hunting license, present a photo ID, provide information about the property they are hunting on and get written permission from the property owner if they don’t own the land.
The town has not set a price for the hunting permit, which will be included in next year’s fee schedule. Town Manager Steve Biggs said the charge will be a “nominal amount,” probably about $30.
After killing a deer, hunters must make “every reasonable effort” to track and find the deer, according to the ordinance. If the hunter can’t find the deer or if the deer leaves the permitted hunting area, the hunter must contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. If a Wildlife Resources Commission officer isn’t available, the hunter should contact Clayton police, the ordinance says.
Jay Hall of Clayton originally requested that the town allow bow hunting during the special urban archery season. The Town of Archer Lodge and more than 40 other towns already allow bow hunting in their town limits.
Archer Lodge leaders say people call town hall every year, asking for lists and maps showing which landowners allow hunting on their properties. Archer Lodge Town Clerk Jean Overton said she tells callers the town does not have a list.
“Tell them all our deer have died,” Archer Lodge Councilman Matt Mulhollem joked at a recent council meeting. Mulhollem, a farmer, is a member of the Quality Deer Management Association.
Biggs said Clayton will not show prospective hunters where they can hunt.
Wildlife officials say urban bow hunting is safe and needed to reduce urban deer populations that some blame for car crashes and garden mischief.
Clayton leaders approved the ordinance unanimously.