Should Carrboro Abdicate Control to the State?

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

Assertion 9: “The Task Force therefore recommends that Carrboro reopen the consideration of implementing its own deer herd management program to reduce negative impacts on forest regeneration and ecosystem health and biodiversity and protect our forests from an expanding deer population that is too large now and may grow. Specifically, the Task Force recommends that the Town consider submitting a letter of intent to participate in the Urban Archery Season program of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.” [page 42-43]

On April 20, 2010, Ashley Stanford, a resident of 1800 N. Greensboro St., addressed a meeting of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and asked that Town of Carrboro get on board with resolving the deer problem. He suggested that the town consider allowing dogs to run loose at night.

Mayor Chilton asked if there was anything that could be done about people feeding deer.

The Board directed the town staff to report on what Chapel Hill and Duke Forest are doing to control the deer population, along with pertinent information from the N.C. Wildlife Commission regarding deer.

At the October 12, 2010 Board of Aldermen worksession, the Board received the staff report on options to deal with deer overpopulation, to include management methods (deer resistant plants, deer repellants, and fencing) and population control methods. The Board directed Town staff to keep them informed of any new developments in urban deer management strategies; to provide educational information about deer management methods to community members, including those involved in community gardening; and to prepare a draft ordinance prohibiting the
intentional feeding of deer.

On November 1, 2011, the ordinance prohibiting the intentional feeding of deer was presented and passed. Three non-resident deer killers, one resident deer killer, and the aforementioned deer foe Mr. Stanford, spoke to the board, urging them to institute a deer killing program. At least one brought in his bow for show-and-tell.

So when the Energy and Climate Protection Task force recommended that “Carrboro reopen the consideration of…Urban Archery…,” it’s important to note that the Carrboro Board of Aldermen has never officially considered implementing urban archery.

At the November 10, 2015 meeting during which this recommendation was presented, Alderwoman Michelle Johnson referred to the several previous meetings, including “one where someone brought a bow and an arrow,” and recalled that the police chief had at that time said that bow hunting could not be conducted safely in Carrboro. Jeff Herrick, a member of the task force and Alderwoman Johnson’s husband, replied that “We have a different police chief now and a different mayor….Last time, it was about people’s landscaping and people’s lawns, and now what we’re really concerned about is the long-term health of the forest.”

Alderwoman Johnson asked the town manager to “find out from our current police chief if that [safety concerns about shooting arrows in town limits] is still the case so that we can have an informed discussion about it.”

The recommendation “that the Town consider submitting a letter of intent to participate in the Urban Archery Season program of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission” is particularly troublesome, as this “letter of intent” ruse was exactly how the neighboring town of Chapel Hill was duped into implementing a deer killing program without the express consent of the Council, and before the public had a chance to address the issue.

On January 11, 2010, the Council passed a resolution that, among other things: “The Town seek permission from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to organize an Urban Archer Program to safely cull the deer population within Chapel Hill. The [Chapel Hill Sustainability] Committee wants this early authorization so that in the event that the Town decides to go forward with such a program, there will not be undue delay in implementing it.”

The letter of intent was submitted by the April 1, 2010 deadline for the 2011 season. The public hearing on deer killing occurred on April 19, 2010. As the Independent Weekly reported:

“Although town officials didn’t know if they wanted a bowhunting program, they still applied by the April 1 deadline to conduct a 2011 urban hunt. They figured that would give them leeway in case they did want to go forward. However, they didn’t know until the forum Monday that their application meant they would be included in a journal as a town that’s friendly to bow hunters.

“Whoops.”

We hope that the members of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen learn from the mistakes of the Chapel Hill Town Council so that there won’t be any “Whoops” in Carrboro. We know that the North Carolina General Assembly has, in recent years, taken many options away from municipalities for making their own choices. We hope that the members of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen retain control of their ability to prohibit the discharge of weapons within town borders and not abdicate that control to the state.

 

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