"You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it's all about. A deer's gotta be taken with one shot." —The Deer Hunter
Next fall, hunters can use bows and arrows to shoot deer on private property within the Durham city limits. The practice was legalized Monday night after Durham City Council voted unanimously to approve it, citing concerns about Lyme disease, crop damage and car-deer collisions. However, the ordinance raises some practical issues as well as heightening fears—perhaps unnecessasrily—over Lyme disease. The ordinance lays out the bow huntting conditions as follows:
• Bow hunting is allowed on tracts that are at least five acres—or contiguous tracts that total that number. These are known as consent areas. The property must be owned by the hunter, or he or she must have written consent from the landowner.
• The hunter must have a valid North Carolina hunting license; archery must be conducted from a platform of at least 10 feet above the ground.
• A hunter cannot discharge an arrow within 250 feet of any occupied building, street, park or recreational area. Nor can a hunter shoot an arrow within 250 feet of the boundary of the area of consent. According to council memos, the average bow range is 60 to 90 feet.
• A hunter must make a "reasonable effort" to track a wounded deer, kill it and recover the carcass. However, according to the city's legal department, the ordinance does not address the possibility that a wounded deer could wander outside of the consent area. At that point, the hunter would likely have to call 911 or animal control, which would have to finish killing the animal.
• Every two years the city manager will report to city council the number of deer harvested, any impact on the number of deer-car collisions and any safety issues.
City documents list Lyme disease as one reason to cull the herd. Yet in 2012, North Carolina reported just 127 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease in 54 of the state's 100 counties, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
By the end of 2012, Wake, Guilford and Haywood counties had been classified as endemic for Lyme, meaning that at least two cases had been confirmed in each county and the infection was acquired there.
By comparison, in 2012, 5,033 confirmed and probable cases were reported in Pennsylvania. There were 5,138 in Massachusetts and 2,657 in Connecticut, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease is concentrated in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states.
Car-deer collisions are more problematic. North Carolina reported an estimated 43,844 car-deer accidents, costing about $147 million, according to State Farm Insurance and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
And the state's row crop farmers lose more than $30 million annually because of damage caused by deer, according to the Beaufort Observer. That's not counting the value of the hostas devoured in Durham residents' back yards, gardens of delight for deer that have been pushed out of their natural habitat by sprawl.
Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Greenville, Concord and Kannapolis also allow bow hunting for deer within their city limits. In Durham, bow hunting season for deer (exclusively archery) runs from Sept. 7–Nov. 1. However, bow hunting is also allowed, but not exclusively, during muzzleloader and gun season, which runs through Jan. 1.
While bow hunting is legal, Panhandling is still largely illegal within the Durham city limits. However panhandlers may soon may have more leeway in their consent areas—aka where they can solicit for money. The Durham City Council will continue to fine-tune the controversial panhandling ordinance at Thursday's work session. The meeting begins at 1 p.m. at City Hall.
City council passed a more restrictive ordinance in December 2012, and police began enforcing it last February. Advocates for the homeless soon complained to the city's Homeless Services Advisory Committee that the law was hurting people soliciting along the road.
After several discussions this summer, the committee has suggested changes to the ordinance including the following provisions:
• Under the current ordinance, when panhandlers leave their belongings in the right-of-way more than 50 feet from where they are standing, those items are treated as litter. The revised ordinance would strike that language.
• Panhandlers could be accompanied by their pets; the current ordinance restricts them to service animals.
• Although panhandling is still prohibited on medians, it would be allowed on access ramps.
• Panhandlers may approach—with permission—a car from either side. The current ordinance states they may engage only with a passenger on the right side of the car.