Durham City Council approves urban deer hunting proposal
Posted November 4, 2013
Durham, N.C. — Durham city leaders voted 6-0 Monday night in favor of an ordinance that will allow deer hunting within city limits.
In August, the City Council hosted a public hearing on the proposal, which will allow people to use a bow and arrow during certain months in certain parts of the city, such as in woods near residential neighborhoods.
Eric Steinbicker, a Mebane dentist and frequent shopper at Durham's The Streets at Southpoint mall, took the matter before the City Council last year, he said, after noticing dead deer on the side of the road.
The idea, he said, will help control the deer population and cut down on the number of deer-car collisions.
"It just made sense, seeing all the deer," he said. "I guess a light switch went off."
The idea of urban hunting isn't new. Several local cities and towns, including Raleigh, Wake Forest and Chapel Hill already allow it.
City Council member Don Moffitt said the idea seems promising.
"In Chapel Hill, they implemented this three years ago, and their deer-car collisions have dropped 16 percent," Moffitt said. "In Durham, in the same time, our deer-car collisions are up 23 percent."
But the ordinance has not gone without opposition.
"Several concerns have been raised," Moffitt said. "One is animal welfare. Another is safety."
The ordinance includes several restrictions that will keep hunters out of busy areas of the city. People must hunt from 10-foot deer stands on at least 5 acres of land with a 250-foot boundary.
"We have done quite a bit to make sure the safety bit is covered," Moffitt said.
Durham leaders also checked with other municipalities that allow urban archery hunting and found that none have reported any injuries.
Now that the ordinance is approved, Durham's city manager will monitor it and report back to city leaders in two years.