Deer issue, urban archery issue unresolved

Decision on archery program delayed

The Town of Chapel Hill didn’t get any closer to deciding whether to allow archers to shoot local deer — even after 27 people spoke at a 3-hour discussion Monday.

More than 100 people attended to speak or hear concerns, which ranged from safety to Lyme disease.

Despite the concerns of council members, 14 of the 22 residents who spoke at the meeting were in favor of urban archery.

Bill Camp said that his neighborhood near Bolin Creek has at least 12 “resident deer.”

“If you go down that path, put in spearing with a pitchfork, and I’ll bring in one or two,” he said.

The council approved a movement after the discussion to survey the deer population and the loss of native vegetation in addition to looking into a wider range of culling options.

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt questioned the merits of the Governors Club archery hunt, a program to control the deer population in a gated community adjacent to Chapel Hill, which culled only seven of the 65 deer it was permitted to kill.

Judson Edeburn, resource manager of Duke Forest where deer culling already takes place, said urban archery has been a success there, but it is an ongoing process that cannot be completed in just a year.

Edeburn said after surveying 7,000 acres of Duke Forest and finding some areas to have as many as 60 deer per square mile — far exceeding their goal of 20 to 30 — officials instated the program.

Despite the forest’s relatively close proximity to Chapel Hill, council member Penny Rich wasn’t sure that Duke Forest would be a good model for the town to follow because the area surveyed contains only four houses.

Speaking for the opposition, Molly De Marco has created an online petition with more than 80 signatures and a Facebook group against urban archery in Chapel Hill.

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