Jake's Outdoors » Blog Archive » Suburban Hunting

Suburban Hunting

December 24th, 2008

As more and more people move out into the ‘burbs, more and more deer hunting habitat is lost.  I think that is one of the reasons that hunting continues to decline.  There is less land available for hunting, and many people have no desire to go into crowded public land (those in the west may not realize just how crowed some public hunting regions are in the east!).  With the suburbs growing, the question of where hunting should be allowed, as well as what type of hunting should be allowed is spreading across the country.

I found an article this morning about this very issue in Pataskala, Ohio.  Evidently, there were a couple of accidents in which homes were struck with slugs during the general fire arm season.  There is no excuse for that happening, but it certainly explains why people would be concerned, and begin the process of stopping hunting any where near homes.  I’m pretty sure I would be upset if my home were struck with a bullet!

I hate to see any hunters lose hunting land.  I’ve been through that.  There are places that we have hunted in years past that now have housing developments on them.  The question is:  Is it safe to hunt near houses?  The answer can be yes and no.  For those who are very conscientious, and pay close attention, hunting near houses can be very safe.  Obviously, not everyone is as safe as they should be.  That is what makes it very difficult.  Those granting permission on land close to other homes should be careful to allow only those hunters who can be safe, and have proven that they can be safe.  Those hunting on such land should be extremely careful.  As I said before, there is no excuse for a bullet ever striking a home!

When it comes to “city limits” hunting, it seems logical to me to restrict hunting to archery.  I know that there are some “cities” that are more courntry than city, and they should make decisions that are best for their setting.  I know that here in WV there are several cities that have bow only seasons.  They require a safety course, as well as a shooting test to make sure that you are competent enough to take an animal cleanly.  I am sure that there are still those who make bad shots, but officials are trying to make these seasons as “non-hunter friendly” as possible.

All that being said, I do believe that at least archery hunting should continue in many cities.  I know that the hunts here in WV that are permitted help to keep deer numbers in check, which cuts down on deer destroying lawns and shrubs, and cuts down on the number of deer hit by cars (which causes millions of dollars of damage to homeowners, car owners and insurance companies).  Not only that, but there are some really nice bucks taken in these hunts as the deer are typically secluded, and unhunted.  It provides an opportunity for a trophy hunt under less pressure.  I am sure these hunts can be very enjoyable.

This is a tough issue because it brings hunters and anti-hunters together in close proximity.  I know that is true in many other settings, but when it comes to these suburban hunts, it is particularly close.  That means that hunters who participate in these types of hunts have to be diligent to be model hunters.  They represent the rest of us who aren’t out there in the public sight quite so much.  So, if you are a suburban hunter, make sure to hunt safely and ethically.  That shoudl be true all the time, but be particularly conscious of these things when hunting in close quarters.

2 Responses to “Suburban Hunting”

  1. Good post.

    We went through the whole bullet hitting a house thing in my Northern Virginia county several years ago. It led to some major changes in local laws, including the outlawing of hunting with rifles in much of the county. I can’t say this was a bad idea, as this part of the county is extremely suburbanized, and even hunting with a shotgun or muzzleloader could be quite dangerous.

    One positive that came from the law changes is that we are now allowed to hunt within 50 yards of a public road. The old rule was 100 yards, but they changed it with the idea in mind that hunters were being forced toward the middle of small properties and shooting out toward the roads.

    My main hunting property is just outside of town, and we have kept the deer hunting there “archery only.” Even though we could legally hunt there with firearms (including rifles) the concern is that gunshots would upset the neighbors, who look upon our bowhunting pretty favorably.

    As much as I hope to someday have a real hunting camp somewhere in the wilderness, I feel really lucky to be able to hunt so close to my home. I just try to focus on the small patch of woods and the abundant wildlife it holds and not on the nearby houses and roads!

  2. […] few days ago, I wrote a post that had to do with suburban hunting.  I wrote about how such close hunting often brings non-hunters, and hunters into close quarters […]

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