By Shannon Beamon, Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 — After hearing several citizens speak both for and against archery hunting within the city limits, the Albemarle City Council approved opening an Urban Archery Season from Jan. 11- Feb. 15.
The UAS ran 4 in favor, 2 against. Councilors Troy Alexander and Martha Sue Hall were opposed. Councilor Chris Whitley was not present for the vote.
Those who voted against the motion, though, were not opposed to having a UAS. Rather they were opposed to the length of the season.
Both Alexander and Hall wished to see the season extended through regular deer hunting season, form Sept. 9 to Jan. 1, as well.
Councilor Troy Alexander said his primary reason for supporting a longer season was the number of deer-related accidents within the city limits.
Mike Macomson, who originally asked the council to consider adopting a UAS, said statistics he received from the Albemarle Police Department indicated that there were 63 deer related accidents in the city during 2013.
“This has gotten to be a real problem in the city,” Alexander said.
Hall said she would like to see a longer season also because North Carolina’s rapidly growing deer population is becoming a problem across the state as well.
“I have a son who’s a wildlife officer,” she said.
“I know what kind of numbers we’re looking at here and I know for a fact it’s a huge issue for them.”
Ken Knight of the N.C. Wildlife Commission agreed. He told the council that population explosion was due to a lack of natural predators in the state.
“The top two things that kill deer are hunters and cars,” he said.
“If they’re not shot by hunters, than cars get them.”
However, other citizens still felt the UAS did not have a place in the city.
Colleen Conroy said one of the reasons she lives in the city is so she doesn’t have to be around hunting.
“There are other places to hunt,” she said.
In the city, she felt it was the place of citizens to learn to live with, and care for, animals.
“We’re constantly taking over their homes. We destroy their food supply and then we get upset when they nibble on our bushes,” Conroy said.
“We don’t need to kill them and we don’t need more weapons in the city.”
Donnie Furr said even without the UAS, he’s found hunting arrows planted in his yard before.
“Not far from where walk,” he said.
“I’m not for or against [the UAS]. But if you do this you’re going to have to be very, very careful.”
While Councilman Dexter Townsend said his initial reaction was much the same, after reading through a UAS ordinance put together by staff, he felt considerably better, particularly about the safety of the UAS.
The city’s UAS ordinance stipulates that deer can only be hunted on properties greater than 5 acres. Hunters must shoot from a stationary, elevated position of at least 10 ft. so that missed shots will stick into the ground.
Hunters must also be 500 ft. away from any occupied or business structure, 250 ft. from any property line, they must acquire written permission from property owners before hunting on their property and make to every effort to retrieve deer that they’ve shot.
“This is actually much tighter than I thought it would be,” Hall said.
Several other towns, she said, didn’t have such lengthy setbacks from structures and property lines.
“I think it shows we’ve taken into consideration residents’ safety. Most of the residential areas will be excluded by [those stipulations]. I couldn’t shoot at my house if I wanted to,” she said.
Even so, the majority of the councilors felt the UAS warranted extra caution.
“I’d like to do just the five week period first, as a kind of trial, before we extend anything,” Townsend said
The city plans to submit it’s UAS application by April 1. If it’s approved, Albemarle’s first UAS will be open in 2015.
To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.