Durham Town Council and Planning Department:
Human-deer interactions are increasing each year as deer continue to lose habitat to residential, commercial and industrial development.
According to the UNC Highway Safety Research Center there were more than 15,000 collisions with deer in 2004 and of those nine people died. Between 2009-11 there have been 17 fatalities and 3,000 injuries in NC due to deer-vehicular collisions. The average cost to repair a car damaged from a deer accident is $3,000. There were over 60,000 deer-car collisions in NC between 2009-11. Between 2004-06 deer caused over $107 million in property damage. Deer cause about $30 million dollars in damage to farmer's crops each year in NC. Ordinances such as those in Durham that prohibit hunting within city limits have created giant sanctuaries where deer thrive unregulated.
Some critics state there are deer in Durham, but not many deer-vehicular collisions in the City. Look at the facts: Durham police have been dispatched to deer-car collisions over 80 times between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15, according to the Durham Police Department. These officers' time could be spent pursuing other issues other than those related to deer thereby reducing loss of taxpayer money spent on deer.
Archery deer hunting is the quietest and most effective way to reduce deer numbers in areas like Durham. Many landowners have acres or more within the city limits that cannot be hunted due to local ordinances which do not permit the discharge of any weapon including bow and arrow.
Urban archery programs such as those already implemented in Midwestern states and West Virginia have reduced vehicle collisions and property damage. Atlanta has an urban archery program which has held deer-car collisions steady as opposed to North Carolina, where collisions have increased at a yearly rate of 8 percent, according to State Farm Insurance. Most large and small cities in Ohio allow urban archery bow hunting.
Critics might suggest innocent deer will be killed. However, these deer will be killed one way or the other, either by hunters, your car, or possibly starvation. As a whole, deer hunters are the world’s largest group of conservationists and contribute more to wildlife and land preservation than any other organization. Contributing billions of dollars, all publicly owned land is funded by hunters through the Pittman-Roberson Act, an 11 percent excise tax on license fees and game tags. Without hunters, there would not be nearly the amount of land for non-hunters to bird watch, hike, and play. Hunters as a whole are a respectful group that love the animals they harvest and use the meat they obtain either through personal consumption or donating it to programs like Hunters for the Hungry.
Is it safe? Yes.
In Atlanta, since urban archery has been implemented there, not one person has been harmed from bow and arrow, and no pets have been mistaken for a deer. Hunting from elevated stands with equipment such as bow and arrow that have a range of only 35 yards. All hunters in NC must have required field training through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission before even being able to obtain a hunting license. The Wildlife Resource Commission has been recording hunting accident data for the past 40 years, and during that time up until now there has not been one single (zero!) bow hunting accidents where another person has been injured.
Between 2009 and 2011 in North Carolina, there were 17 FATALITIES and 3,000 injuries resulting from deer-car collisions. Compare this with the number of deaths resulting from bow and arrow hunting throughout the state during the regular season and urban archery hunting: ZERO FATALITIES.
The rate of growth of deer in Durham is non-stop and at more than 70 deer per square mile, deer are starving themselves to death. There are reports that initial hunts in Duke Forest in Durham, harvested deer were so emaciated that there was not meat on them to eat.
-- 0 hunting accidents by bow and arrow to innocent by-standards have been recorded for the past 40 years by the NC Wildlife Commission
-- 17 deaths were reported between 2009 and 2011 and 3,000 injuries from deer-car collisions in North Carolina alone
-- Deer in Durham City Limits are estimated to have a population of 50-70 deer per square mile (acceptable levels are 20-30 dpsm without causing flora damage and decreased biodiversity)
-- According to the Durham Police Department, on 81 different occassions, officers have been called to deer-car collision sites between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15, 2012 (just over a month), all WITHIN CITY LIMITS (increased accidents=increased loss in taxpayer money and increased chance of injury)
-- Over populated deer herds contribute to an increased tick population (deer act as hosts for ticks) and Lyme disease, which is common in NC; ticks feed on mice where they pick up Lyme disease and many of these ticks move on to deer as hosts. More deer=more hosts for ticks which increases the likelihood that people within city limits where deer populations are too many, might have a greater likelihood of contracting Lyme disease, a very serious disease, from ticks.
This petition is not a request to hunt within City Limits for enjoyment, but rather out of necessity due to the FACT that deer are overpopulated (estimated at over 50-70 deer per square mile compared to normal which is 20-30 dpsm) within Durham City Limits and the FACT that with this over population comes disease (Lyme disese, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and other tick-borne illnesses; more car wrecks, deaths, and injuries; ornamental plant and crop damage; and an increase of predators (coyotes).
Humans are the most practical and cheapest way of controlling the deer population within city limits. Even with natural predators such as coyotes whose numbers are on the rise, due to no hunting pressure, deer are still out-producing coyotes at a rate that actually increases coyote populations due to so much food being provided for coyotes (deer fawns).
I implore City Council members and the Planning Department of Durham to consider allowing Urban Archery in Durham, NC within city limits. If the City of Durham is serious about helping to control the overpopulation of deer, I propose the Town Council consider what Chapel Hill has done: Allow deer hunting with bow and arrow in city limits during the regular hunting season from September 8th to January 1st as well as register for the special Urban Archery Program (Jan. 15-Feb. 19, 2014) through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, which must be done prior to April 1, 2013. Allowing hunting during the regular season (Sept. 8-Jan. 1) is necessary to help reduce deer numbers prior to the breeding season so that does can be harvested prior to them being bred and carrying young.
Currently, 34 other municipalities in North Carolina have done so, including Chapel Hill, Pittsboro, Concord, and likely this year, Wake Forest. With one female deer easily producing two fawns per year and a state population around 1 million, deer numbers will continue to grow exponentially even in urban environments. They will continue to cause increasing damage to cars and waste taxpayer money, causing millions in damage to properties and cars. Deer will continue to cause serious injuries and fatalities. If the deer population were regulated and under control then we would not be supporting this cause. However, deer are OVERPOPULATED and therefore we are protecting them by hunting them. Otherwise, they will die from starvation, disease and car collisions, injuring both deer and humans.
No one loves deer more than hunters and hunters as a whole protect the species they hunt. The issue of an out of control number of deer in and around the city limits of Durham needs to be addressed to help protect Durham's citizens from Lyme disease and deer-vehicular collisions.
Please review petitioner's responses on our petition website: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/urban-archery-deer-program/
to view responses about urban archery deer hunting from the public. Pertinent links to information about urban deer hunting and related topics can also be viewed on the website.
Thank you for your time and thank you for your public service.