Durham Council approves deer bow hunting in city limits


The new ordinance is aimed at helping control the booming deer population in the area.

By state law the city council needed unanimous support to pass this new ordinance, and they got it despite one dissenting member who, aside from safety, is concerned about the welfare of the deer involved.

"I just wanted to register my personal dissatisfaction with the item, but I will be voting yes because I don't need to block it," Durham City Councilwoman Diane Catotti.

Catotti is referring to bow hunting for deer in the Bull City, which passed unanimously.

Catotti gave the ordinance her approval even though she opposes it on the grounds of safety and inhumane treatment of deer.

"With a bow they can consider that the deer may travel some distance, may travel throughout neighborhoods that folks may see it," said Catotti. "That children may see it."

Safety is also a major concern.

"It's completely safe," said Eric Steinbicker, an urban archery advocate.

Steinbicker, who pushed for the measure for years, says history proves it's safe.

"In 40 years, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission has been doing studies about hunters injuring each other. It never happened, not once -- not a single time," said Steinbicker. "It's Completely safe. [The deer] usually drops where it is."

"We really built in a lot of safety measures," said Durham City Councilman Don Moffitt.

Durham's new ordinance, which is effective immediately, gives licensed hunters free range within city limits as long as they're in a ten foot tall deer stand, hunting on at least five acres, and are at least 250 feet away from homes and businesses.

The aim is cut a 23 percent uptick in deer-related car accidents in Durham, which has seen about 300 collisions in a year.

Supporters cite other towns like Chapel Hill where the accident rate dropped 60 percent in three years since allowing bow hunting.

"As far as I know, there's been very little complaints or issues," said Moffitt.

Built into this law is a so-called sunset clause, which means the council will receive a report two years from now to see if there are any issues with this, to see if it's really working.

Since 2009, there have been nearly 3,500 deer related wrecks on North Carolina roads; 17 of those wrecks were fatal.

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