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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reminder - Chesterfield To Look At Bow-hunting Rules Tonight

Earlier this month I posted that the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing tonight about a proposal to prohibit the use of bows and arrows within 600 feet of a home in the county.

The ordinance change is proposed in reaction to concerns expressed by residents in Midlothian's Salisbury community that people are hunting too close to homes.

Currently, Chesterfield property owners and permitted guests are allowed to use bows anywhere on their property, as long as the arrow does not cross the property line. Because of growth in the county's deer population, the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries allows additional bow hunting with site-specific "kill permits" on property adjacent to or within residential neighborhoods.

County staff suggested the 600-foot limit because it is the same distance from which use of a firearm is prohibited. In addition to homes, use of a bow would be prohibited at the same distance from businesses, public buildings and gatherings.

The 600 foot limit sounds like overkill given the difference between a bow and firearm and some hunters agree. The Richmond Times Dispatch quoted one in this morning's paper:

"If you got a problem in the subdivision, deal with it in the subdivision. Don't mess with the other part of the county that's rural," said Larry Bicking, a Chesterfield bow hunter.

"You take a piece of property that's 15 acres and you may not be able to get 600 feet from an existing dwelling," he said. "In those big subdivisions, the houses are so close together you can't hardly get a car between them, so I don't know how you hunt them anyway."

Bicking made what seems like a reasonable suggestion that the county could limit the distance from homes in Salisbury only and maybe require the user to be at an elevation 10 feet above ground level so the arrows would not soar into unintended areas.

Midlothian Supervisor Daniel A. Gecker has suggested decreasing the distance from 600 feet to 150 feet as a compromise.

Bow hunters are urged to let their voice be heard at the public hearing which will take place during the 6:30 PM portion of today's board meeting.

What: Public Hearing on Bow Hunting in Chesterfield County
When: November 18, 2009 - Meeting begins at 6:30 PM
Where: Lane B. Ramsey Administration Building
9901 Lori Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832-0040

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