Local News

Man wants Durham to allow bow hunting for deer

Posted November 20, 2012

— It's that time of year when more and more deer seem to keep showing up, wandering into neighborhoods and across busy roadways.

Eric Steinbicker, a Mebane dentist, thinks he has a solution. He’s asked Durham City Council to consider allowing urban archery for deer.

“The reality is the deer are going to be killed one way or the other, either by a car or a bow and arrow,” he said. “At least with a bow and arrow, people are allowed to use the meat."

Steinbicker says he has friends who live in Durham and want to hunt. He wants the city to allow bow hunting in certain places –– not busy places like downtown but wooded areas that adjoin neighborhoods.

Some residents aren't sold.

“I really wouldn’t want it,” Durham resident Leora Williams said. “Even though we know the deer are out here and they all come out in the neighborhood, and they don’t bother anybody.”

Williams is concerned something could go wrong, like a hunter mistaking a family pet for a deer.

“Dogs go back there,” Williams said, referring to the woods near her home. “We had a lost dog back there, and that’s why we went back in the woods.”

But Steinbicker said it’s unlikely that a hunter would mistake a dog for a deer.

“Look at the facts. Look at the statistics,” he said. “The chances of that happening are slim to none.”

Durham City Attorney Patrick Baker said he is aware of Steinbicker’s request, but he has not been given any direction by council members to draft an ordinance related to the issue.

Steinbicker believes it's an idea that makes sense. He’s working on an online petition to get the ordinance before council.

Chapel Hill currently allows landowners to bow hunt for deer on their own property with a license. And the town of Wake Forest will consider a bow-hunting ordinance in January.

“It does work and it’s probably the most practical and successful way of controlling the over-abundant deer population in Durham,” Steinbicker said.


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  • ElmoandDorothy Nov 23, 2012

    For more information please sign the petition in support of the Durham Urban Archery Program at: http://www.change.org/petitions/urban-archery-deer-program

    -- 0 hunting accidents related to bow hunting to innocent by standards for the past 40 years that the NC Wildlife Commission has kept records
    -- 17 deaths in NC related to deer-car collisions between 2009 and 2011, and 61,000+ deer-vehicular collisions
    -- 81 deer-car collisions within city limits have been reported from Durham Police Dept. this year since so far from Oct. to Nov.
    -- Average cost to repair car hit by deer=$3,000
    -- There exists a deer density in Durham City limits of 50-70 deer per square mile (normal is 20-30 dpsm)=overpopulation of deer within city limits
    --Overpopulation of deer=spread of Lyme disease through ticks (more deer=more ticks), increase deer-car collisions (=increase tax payer cost, personal costs, and injuries/fatalities, and loss of biodiversity of flora in State Parks and surrounding areas.

  • ElmoandDorothy Nov 21, 2012

    Nuff z Nuff: Thanks for your comments. I understand you were probably joking, but hunting would not be done from the tops of houses. The interview was a little misleading stating "hunting in woods coming right up to these houses." Hunting would be done on larger parcels in the city and a minimum required distance away from houses (200 yards for instance, as an example although the city could develop their own rules). Hunters should and I would think would be required to hunt elevated so an arrow would have an appropriate back stop (the ground) upon discharge of a arrow from a bow.


  • ElmoandDorothy Nov 21, 2012

    The snowmobile incident was likely with a firearm. A responsible hunter, which are 99% of hunters, would not mistake a human or a pet for a deer. Has it happened? Yes. Does it happen often? No. Do deer-car collisions happen often? Yes. Do deer-car collisions kill many people? Yes. 17 fatalities in NC from 2009 to 2011.

    I'd challenge anyone to find fact-based data to show hunting accidents in urban archery areas within city limits causing harm to non-hunters/innocent bystandards (99% of accidents, based on research, are from hunters not wearing or forgetting wear their treestand safety harness) at even a rate of 1% compared to the number of persons killed in deer-vehicular collisions. Those numbers are not there to support that hunting is a threat to the safety of non-hunters/innocent bystandards or pets. Atlanta, GA has had urban archery hunting for three years with 0 persons or pets mistaken for deer.

    Thanks for your time.

  • ElmoandDorothy Nov 21, 2012


    Thanks for your comments. I agree with you, dead deer on roads inside city limits of Durham does not equal overpopulation. However, trail camera surveys I have personally done show deer at 70 deer per square mile (more than triple what wildlife biologists consider "normal", anything over that is considered "overpopulation"). I completely agree to stick to facts based on research, and that research has been done already (Duke Forest in Durham had 80 deer per square mile prior to private bow hunting allowed 5 years ago which is still going on now).

    Here's a research based link: http://heraldsun.com/bookmark/20154199-Duke-Forest-closes-for-deer-season stating that diagrams point to a deer density of over 40 deer per square mile in Durham.

    Again, wholeheartedly agree this should be a fact-based decision, but the facts are that deer ARE overpopulated according to NC Wildlife biologists and we all know what results when they are overpopulated

    Thanks for your time.

  • independent_thinker Nov 21, 2012

    As a Durham resident, I welcome a thoughtful discussion of the idea. I've heard there are fewer hunters which contributes to an unsustainable deer population - if so, this is another way to attract a new generation.

    I avidly fish the three rivers that run through Durham and enjoy finding new ways that friends and families can enjoy outdoor sporting activities.

    Who knows, I may become one of the new bowhunters...

  • fishon Nov 21, 2012

    Good theory but it doesn't fit the facts. Deer hunters are killed every year. In MN there was a hunter dressed in orange, driving a snowmobile - a hunter thought that he was a deer and killed him.

    With an arrow?

  • fishon Nov 21, 2012

    beaulahjackson4 - you ever try to hit a deer running in a woods / field legally (8 eight above ground) from dusk to dawn and kill it? good luck, very few can do this and the risk to others isn't worth it. A rifle with a good site is a better deal for deer human.

    Most bowhunters will only shoot when they have a clear standing shot at the vitals. And discharging a weapon 8 feet off the ground is only for centerfire rifle, at least in Wake County. You can hunt with a bow, pistol, or shotgun off the ground.

  • denleala Nov 21, 2012

    Why is it that dead deer on the highway = overpopulation? If you take away natural habitat, and they get forced into a smaller area to live - it's over population? I have no problem with hunting or hunters, but do you really think deer decide to be livin' large in Durham? No, they don't have the room as they once did.

  • ElmoandDorothy Nov 21, 2012


    I understand where you're coming from however a recent article in the News and Observer: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/11/18/2493702/motivated-deer-are-on-the-move.html) shows that over 80 calls were made to the Durham Police Dept. to respond to deer-car wrecks WITHIN the city limits. The article also points to the fact that DOT picks up these deer before morning commutes and then again after afternoon commutes. The article states when they do their morning deer pickup, there are already a dozen more deer in the same locations. I've done trail camera surveys within the city limits and on three occasions have come up with a population estimate in certain parts of the city at 70 deer per square mile.

  • what_in_the____ Nov 21, 2012

    Bow hunting is much safer than hunting with a gun. In order to kill a deer with an arrow, the distance between the hunter and the deer is much closer so there is no excuse for mistaking any other animal for a deer.