Deer and car
While checking back on recent articles handled here, I came across a term that intrigued me – Urban Deer Hunts. I envisioned a sportsman coming out of Dick’s Sporting Goods with all the accoutrements of the hunt and bagging an eight-point buck in the parking lot. It would be seen cavorting with a Ford Mustang and a Dodge Ram.
When you don’t understand something and you’re not too good at humor, why not try ridicule? But I soon found that the intent of an urban deer hunt is far too serious to be addressed with anything but legitimate concern. Remember that this is about dealing with the incidence of car/deer collisions, which justifies its appearance here.
The problem is that although it is perceived that deer are invading cities, just the opposite is true. As subdivisions are built on rural land, that then becomes part of an incorporated city or borough where hunting is prohibited, deer experience de facto protection. This leads to increased herd size and encroachment on to urban residential and commercial property.
In Hope, Arkansas, the City Director, who happens to own an auto repair shop, spotted a deer between his service bays and the police station. Conditions like this led the city to issue 21 urban bow permits which resulted in eight deer kills in less than 30 days. It’s too early to gauge the impact on the deer population since the program is new.
Qualifications for the hunt include state licensing, a valid bow permit and permission to hunt from the property owner of the land which the hunter plans to use.
The city of Ames, Iowa, also uses archery to manage the deer population within the city’s limits. Since hunting was prohibited by ordinance prior to the inception of the city’s deer management program, bow hunting was chosen as a way to lessen the damage done by deer to vehicles, landscaping and the relationships between neighbors whose philosophies about deer management may vary.
As someone who, as recently as last week, has seen four deer in a neighbor’s front yard which was less than 25 feet from the road in a very urbanized area, I can attest to the need for deer management. With 2.4 million deer/vehicle collisions occurring every year, it is clear that it is nothing that should be joked about, much less ridiculed.