Bowhunting isn’t dangerous if done right!

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 14, 2003

Richmond’s city councilman Joe Brooks isn’t doing his homework. The councilman has come to the conclusion that bowhunting within the city limits is dangerous and he wants to stop it.

Had the good councilman done his homework he would have discovered that:

1. Bowhunting has been conducted in Richmond for years with an excellent safety record.

Email newsletter signup

2. More and more cities across the entire United States have legalized bowhunting within the city limits in an effort to reduce the size of the herds of deer. Lynchburg, Virginia, for example, has been quire successful using bowhunting as a method of reducing the number of deer in the city.

Green Bay, Wis., among others, has recently adopted the appropriate rules to enable controlled bow hunting within the city.

3. Wild deer within the city limits pose much greater dangers to citizens than do the bowhunters. Deer are involved in numerous collisions with automobiles and they are responsible for considerable damage to crops, ornamental plants and shrubs and to property.

I do agree that bowhunters should qualify with the bow and arrow in order to hunt in cities. In fact. I would like to do anything possible to be sure that the hunters are proficient with any weapons they use. The worse thing that can happen to bowhunting is to have wounded deer with arrows sticking in them running around the neighborhoods. Hunters have historically sought a clean, humane kill of the animals they hunt and we should continue to adhere to that standard. And speaking of standards, shouldn’t lawmakers at all levels be held to some standard to be sure the do their homework before they introduce legislation?

Coming To Roost

The chickens are coming home to roost at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and in the General Assembly. Back when the saltwater fishing license was enacted the state’s sports fishermen were assured that their license fees would be used to support recreational fishing as opposed to commercial fishing and that the General Fund monies appropriated to VMRC to support commercial fishing would not be reduced. Right now the sports fishermen are saying, &uot;Liar, liar, your pants are on fire!&uot;

The first sign that the General Assembly was sloughing off its obligations on the sportsmen came during the Allen Administration when Governor Allen amputated the Saltwater Fishing Tournament funds from the Department of Tourism budget, proposing that it be done away with. In order to save this program, which really benefits tourism more than anything else, the Sportfishing Advisory Council to VMRC supported funding it with funds obtained from the sale of saltwater fishing licenses.

Now, we come to Governor Warner, who apparently believes he doesn’t have to abide by deals made before he was elected. He proposed that the recreational saltwater fishing license be increased to compensate for a reduction in General Fund appropriations to VMRC. The proposed increase would raise the individual saltwater fishing license from $7.50 to $12.50 and the

Recreational Boat License from $30 to $50. It is estimated that this increase would bring in $1,100,000. Compared to this, it is proposed to increase commercial fishing fees by only 16 percent, bringing in only $80,000.

While the recreational anglers are incensed over the lack of good faith their position is further aggravated by the shoddy manner in which sport fishing interests have been treated over the years. The average saltwater sportfisherman does not see VMRC as an even handed resource protection agency. They see it more as an organization that exists to protect commercial interests.

This increase is being transported through the legislature in the form of Senate Bill 917 which has already been passed by the Senate and currently resides in the House Committee on Appropriations.

The commercial fishery catches more than 80 percent of the fish taken in Virginia, but the license fees obtained from this industry is only 25 percent of the total. When it comes to dollars brought into the state recreational fishing accounts for close to a billion dollars. Any recreational angler discouraged by exorbitant license fees will spend less or go elsewhere, in any case at a cost of Virginia’s economy.

I have no idea where this bill will be in the General Assembly when you read this, but saltwater sportfishermen are urging all of their group to share their displeasure with the appropriate members of the General Assembly and the Governor.

Field Notes

Although terrible weather is predicted for today, we may be able to fish this weekend. Lots of ice has vanished from the lakes and rivers and I suspect the fishing will be good if the weather cooperates…In Oregon substantial reductions in the operation of the fish and game department were predicted as a result of budget cuts, but the states’ sportsmen actually petitioned their legislators to INCREASE their license fees so they could keep the services that were threatened. One petition held 45,000 signatures reports The Statesmen Journal of Salem, Oregon. This is the state where 27 state troopers were transferred to vacant game warden positions….Puppy drum are being caught on the South Beach at Buxton, but about half are being snagged, reports the Frisco Rod & Gun. Cold water causes some fish to become sluggish, making them vulnerable to snagging…Some puppies are being caught at Hatteras Inlet and at Cape Point. Grubs garnished with shrimp are hot…According to the Detroit News a physics teacher brought a BB gun to school for a class on velocity and momentum. The teacher, a 20-year veteran, is on administrative leave after the school campus was placed on an hour’s lockdown. A woman saw the teacher carrying the gun into the school and called the cops….Here’s one for Richmond’s Councilman Brooks – In Omaha, Nebraska two deer ran through the offices of the Nebraska City News-Press. The deer, two bucks, reduced the office to shambles before exiting…..A crow shooting contest was held in Cayuga County, New York. There were 151 crows bagged and four protesters arrested. According to the Syracuse Post Standard… The Daily Herald of Everett, Washington reports that a man was arrested at the Canadian border with 166 pounds of marijuana that was hidden inside a trailer carrying two trained black bears… Drug sniffing dogs found the pot….Five American vessels were found illegally crabbing in Russian waters by the U.S. Coast Guard. In violation of the Lacey Act the boats were carrying $250,000 pounds of snow crabs worth an estimated $350,000…. The U.S, Fish and Wildlife Service has given permanent approval to HEVI- SHOT as a non-toxic shot for hunting waterfowl. HEVI-SHOT is a mixture of tungsten, iron, nickel and tin. Sure wish they would come out with a less expensive non-toxic shock…. Innocent! That was the verdict of a study in California to determine if wild turkeys were guilty of eating grapes in vineyards. California growers are looking for a culprit, but a joint study by the California Department of Fish and Game and the National Wild Turkey Federation determined that wild turkeys ate fewer grapes than any other critters found raiding vineyards, reports the Ukiah, California Daily Journal….In Villa Park, Illinois nearly 60 vehicles belonging to a local seafood company were vandalized, The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for cutting brake lines and refrigeration lines on the vehicles. This bunch objects to the killing of sea creatures.

Jack Randolph is a resident of Virginia and a regular columnist for the News-Herald.