Is Urban Archery Safe for Carrboro?

This is the seventh in our series analyzing Carrboro’s Energy and Climate Protection Task Force’s Recommended Deer Cull.

Assertion 7: “While culling can be seen as a safety issue, there have been no documented archery related accidents in NC for the past 40 years.” [page 42]

It’s interesting that the Task Force repeats the statistic of “no documented archery related accidents in NC for the past 40 years.” The Urban Archery season has only been around since 2007, starting in smaller communities that are far less densely populated than Carrboro. As of 2016, 58 communities out of 739 in the state are participating, all of them far less densely populated than Carrboro. The communities that participate in Urban Archery season have population densities ranging from 195 people per square mile up to 2,745 people per square mile, with an average population density of 822 people per square mile. Carrboro has a population density of 3,133 people per square mile. It makes absolutely no sense for Carrboro to risk the safety of any of its residents or visitors by joining this foolish experiment called Urban Archery.

Last year, the Village Council in Pinehurst, North Carolina, which has a population density less than half of Carrboro’s, voted against using trained professionals to kill deer on the grounds of safety, and instead implemented sensible non-lethal methods to co-exist with their deer neighbors.

And just because no accidents have been reported so far in North Carolina does not mean that they aren’t happening elsewhere. On November 12, 2015, just two days after the Task Force delivered this report, a 54-year-old hunter in a tree stand in Millsboro, Delaware, shot an arrow that struck a 24-year-old man on the ground about 30 yards away. The injured man was airlifted to two different hospitals before undergoing surgery the following day.

The city council of Ellisville, Missouri wisely voted to put a moratorium on deer hunting after a child found an arrow in his yard.

According to the organization Safe Backyards, “While it is true that accidents with bows and arrows are less common than other forms of hunting, they do happen… Most go unreported, as people remove errant arrows from their yards, homes, garages, etc., without notifying the authorities. There are also deliberate killings with bows and arrows. It’s the prosecutions of these crimes that are rare.”

“One remarkable fact gleaned from the list of hunting accidents is the large number of incidents in which parents killed their children or children killed a parent or other relative…these are devastating traumas that ruin the lives of the survivors and destroy families.”

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission set Saturday, September 26, 2015, as its first annual Youth Deer Hunting Day. On this day, youth under the age of 16 could use any legal weapon to hunt deer of either sex and were not required to be accompanied by an adult if they had completed a hunter education course. The Youth Deer Hunting Day provisions apply to both private and public lands.  What could go wrong?

In January 2010, Chapel Hill Police Lt. Kevin Gunter said, “If an arrow strikes a tree and ricochets, it is a projectile that could cause death or serious injury.”

In October 2010, then-Carrboro Police Chief Carolyn Hutchison reported, “Carrboro is very densely populated and there are very few areas where an urban deer hunt could be safely conducted. Even if the Town were to identify an area in which to hunt, ensuring that the hunt could be safely conducted would be a very difficult task. Town staff would be responsible for developing the urban archery program to be used within Town limits. Town staff would also be responsible for ensuring the safety of hunters and anyone else who may purposefully or mistakenly enter the hunt area. Some Carrboro police officers hunt deer but are not interested in hunting within Town limits as they believe that hunting here would be too dangerous.”

If you want to see some images of bow hunting accidents, click here. WARNING: Images are extremely graphic.

 

 

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