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Controlling the deer in Bedford

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    On a 5-2 vote, Bedford City Council voted last Tuesday to approve an urban archery program to help with deer management in the city.
    The city has had a deer management program for several years to help in controlling the deer population. Vehicle accidents involving deer continue to be a problem in the city, according to city officials, though at a decreased rate.
    In 2002 the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries established an urban archery season to help reduce those human/deer conflicts in urban areas, by concentrating archer-hunting pressure in those areas. “Archery deer hunting is an effective, quiet method for harvesting deer in urban settings,” Bedford City Manager Charles Kolakowski noted in a report on the program to council.
    According to the ordinance approved, bows or crossbows can only be used in the city according to the rules outlined in it, except for exceptions that are allowed.
    Those ordinance guidelines include:
    • hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State  Code, Virginia Hunting Regulations, and local ordinances; 
    • only antlerless deer may be taken;
    • hunting with bow and arrow is permitted on any parcel which consists of three acres or more, or parcels with concurrent boundaries which in combination equals three acres or more;
    • in addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season, the general firearms deer season, and during the late  archery season (i.e. from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January);
    • it is unlawful to hunt except from a stand elevated a minimum of 12 feet above the ground;
    • it will be unlawful to carry firearms while hunting with bow and arrow during the special archery seasons, except as allowed under state law;
    • the hunter must obtain written permission from the landowner before hunting and shall carry a copy of the written permission at all times while hunting;
    • the property owner must obtain an annual Urban Archery permit from the Bedford Police Department;
    • no person shall discharge a bow from, over or across any street, sidewalk, alley or public place, or towards any building or dwelling in such a manner that the arrow may strike it;
    • a hunter discharging a bow shall use reasonable care to ensure the arrow does not cross any property line and enter any property on which the hunter does not have permission to hunt;
    • discharge of an arrow is permitted only in order to take a deer;
    • the hunter is responsible for the disposition of the deer carcass;
    •  if a deer which has been shot with an arrow leaves the property on which the hunter has permission to hunt, the hunter shall obtain permission from any property owner over which he/she must travel to retrieve the deer; and
    • no person shall hunt deer in the city by use of dog or dogs.