It doesn’t appear the effort to allow limited bow hunting on city-owned property in Jamestown will be moving forward anytime soon.
The Jamestown City Council held a work session Monday night and part of the meeting focused on a proposal that would allow a limited number of skilled archers to come into the city to help with deer management. The archers would have to be licensed and approved for special bow hunting by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
Under the proposal – The bow hunting would only take place on city-owned property – such as public parks – at designated times and the public would be notified well in advance.
Mayor Eddie Sundquist initially brought the proposal forward to the council last month after it was suggested in a letter from a local resident who felt it would help address the growing number of deer within the city.
Proponents say the move would address some local concerns, including the destruction of property – such as shrubbery – as well as the potential for car-deer accidents.
Councilman Tom Nelson (D-Ward 6) on Monday night said that he’s talked with several constituents who support the idea, and he also feels that it would help to control a growing number of deer within the city.
However, several council members also voiced concern over the proposal. Councilman Jeff Russell (at Large), a retired city police officer, said he didn’t think the reasons supporting the proposal outweigh the concern for public safety. He pointed out that there have been very few car-deer accidents in the city over the years and also said the concern over someone’s shrubbery shouldn’t outweigh the concern for someone being possibly harmed by a bow hunter.
“I know personally I can count on one hand the number of car-deer accidents I responded to while I was on the job with the police department,” Russell said.
“While I agree it’s concerning – some days I have 15 to 20 deer on my property alone – I’m not sure why people are so adamant about coming into the city and dispensing a firearm. And a bow and arrow is a firearm,” said councilwoman Kim Ecklund (At Large). “It’s concerning for me from a city liability standpoint more importantly. Should a hunter get hurt or something worse happen, where’s the liability?”
Council president Tony Dolce suggested the city look at what other communities in the state are doing and use that to determine how to proceed in Jamestown.
“I think we all recognize that the deer population has increased in the city limits, and in some areas worse than others,” Dolce said. “I think it’s a matter of what strategies can we do safely and what should the next step be to alleviate or eradicate the growing deer population. I don’t know how many other cities are implementing harvesting within their city limits. This could be part of a task force to see if how many are doing it, how their doing it, and how successful has it been. Are there other options out there? If they are doing a harvest, how successful was it and have there been any problems with that? I think we’re all on the same page that we need to look at some sort of option, I guess the question is what are the options and which should we go with.”
In 2018, former Jamestown City Councilman Andy Liuzzo also proposed the idea of allowing bow hunting in the city. The council even held a public meeting with DEC Wildlife officials to learn more about deer management, but Liuzzo’s proposal never gained enough steam to move forward. At that time, the council had also said it would continue to look into the matter.
More details on deer management can be found at the NYS DEC Website.