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Bowhunting gets high marks in nearby villages
Bowhunting gets high marks in nearby villages
By SUE REID
Whether the City of Solon will incorporate bowhunting as part of its comprehensive deer management program remains to be seen.
City Council has a plan before it for consideration which includes bowhunting with a crossbow.
"It's there to be considered," said Public Works Commissioner James S. Stanek, who put the plan together. "It's a tool in the toolbox."
Surrounding communities that use the lethal form of deer management cite its benefits in reducing deer-vehicle accidents, as well as its cost effectiveness and safeness.
Bentleyville Police Chief Timothy Pitts, whose village has had bowhunting for the past decade, said, "We haven't had one incident in 10 years.
"It's been successful, and we see a difference," he said. "It costs us nothing to do this."
Last year, Mr. Pitts, who also serves as the village's service director, issued 20 permits on 18 parcels, and 33 deer were culled.
"It doesn't sound like a lot, but we're small," Mr. Pitts said. Bentleyville measures 3.6 square miles.
When the program began in 2001, seven permits were issued on six parcels, and 23 deer were culled.
"It's more controlled, because it's strictly bowhunting," Mr. Pitts said. "And it's limited to certain areas. Those areas have to be approved by me, and if I don't like an area, even if it fits the profile policy, I can refuse it."
Quality hunters are also a must, and they complete a proficiency test, he said.
Residents' complaints as a result of the program are minimal, Mr. Pitts added.
Bentleyville allows longbows and crossbows on 5 acres with no more than three residents or dwellings existing on those 5 acres.
Space, whether for gun or archery hunting, is a necessity, said Scott Peters, wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
"Every community is different," he said. "In some communities, it is not that big of a deal if they put a 5-acre minimum. I advise communities to look at land-ownership patterns. It's not one size fits all."
Solon has indicated that, if it permits bowhunting, it would be on select city-owned parcels, such as Grantwood. Other city-owned blocks of land are being evaluated, Mr. Stanek said.
The Village of Hunting Valley sees sparse population as a plus with its bowhunting program,, which has been in place since the early 1990s.
The village, which has a 5-acre-lot minimum, requires 10 acres for an area to be hunted, Police Chief David Maine said. "We're not faced with crowding issues" like some neighboring communities, including Pepper Pike and Solon, he said. "They don't have the same kind of parameters."
Mr. Maine said Hunting Valley has in place a stringent permit process "that helps us make sure we get a quality type of hunter in the program.
"We're fortunate because our program has been in place for such a long time that we have a high percentage of return hunters."
Those hunters have a respect for the program and the properties they are on," Mr. Maine said.
"Our issues are few and far between," he said.
Typically 70 to 90 deer are taken each year by about 100 hunters, Mr. Maine said, and "we have very little cost involved."
The village began bowhunting in response to damage being done to residents' foliage, as well as the number of deer-car accidents on the roads, he said. "Both of those issues have been mediated to a large degree because of the program, particularly in regards to deer-car accidents. They've dropped dramatically. We only average less than five a year now."
Mr. Peters said he sees a lot of communities going to bowhunting because "economically it will be your cheapest lethal deer management program out there.
"In rough economic times, and even in good economic times, it's expensive in general to sharp shoot," Mr. Peters said. "Bills can be staggering to rely solely on sharpshooting."
In general, Mr. Peters said, foresight is needed when communities get into any kind of deer management program.
"It's not a one year or every couple years program," he said. "It needs to be an annual thing. I advise communities to look at this as long-term.
"It's best to look at the most feasible way to meet the goals of a deer management program," Mr. Peters said.
With a program that includes bowhunting, Mr. Peters said, his office sets the overall guidelines for the program and communities can elect to put further restrictions on it, Mr. Peters said.
Nothing needs to go through his office for archery hunting, he said. "A lot of cities, villages and park districts elect to be more restrictive. They want to know who's hunting and have them pass proficiency tests."
In the area of safety, Mr. Peters said, each year his office puts out an archery incident report.
"Typically, we see one, maybe two incidents with archery, and typically it's a self-inflicted injury."
As far as an archery accident where an arrow strikes an individual, "it rarely if ever happens."
Councilman Edward H. Kraus, a member of the safety committee who opposes bowhunting, said he felt comfortable from a safety perspective with sharpshooting as an appropriate way to cull deer, because Solon is a densely built community.
"I did feel comfortable and still do with sharpshooting because it's a direct hit and it's a sure thing," Mr. Kraus said.
"Bowhunting is appropriate in more rural areas, like townships that don't have dense populations," Mr. Kraus said. "Many of the communities around us who do bowhunting don't have 24,000 people who work in the city every day. We're a very different type of community."
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