Council regulates hunting on city land

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, August 26, 2009

FRANKLIN—Two weeks after voting to allow bow hunting on city property, the City Council voted Monday night to place several regulations on its practice.

City Attorney Taylor Williams was given the task of drafting conditions after the last City Council meeting. He presented council members with a list of nine conditions bow hunters would be required to agree to in order to hunt on city-owned property once the urban archery season begins on Sept. 5.

The conditions include a prohibition of discharging a bow “in such a manner that an arrow may strike (a) dwelling, building, sidewalk, street or alley” and a requirement that hunters hunt from stands that are elevated at least 10 feet.

Councilman Benny Burgess suggested that the hunters should also be required to hunt in pairs in case something goes wrong.

“It’s kind of like swimming: You always swim with a buddy,” he said.

Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson, who opposed allowing bow hunting on city-owned property, supported Burgess’ idea.

“Anything that would make it more safe, I’m not going to oppose,” she said.

However, Mayor Jim Councill didn’t agree. He said that he knows some hunters who prefer to hunt alone, and it shouldn’t be prohibited.

“I think it takes away the individual hunter’s right,” he said. “My sense is that hunters that hunt like that hunt with safety in mind.”

Williams said that he understood the safety concerns but that requiring hunters to hunt in pairs would likely discourage hunting.

“I think that if you impose that condition, you will limit an awful lot of the hunting and you will not obtain the goal of trying to control the deer,” he said.

The council unanimously accepted the conditions drafted by Williams, without the condition suggested by Burgess.

The conditions apply to the three tracts of land owned by the city that Williams identified as large enough to hunt — the Rawls Farm property, at the intersection of Fairview and Crescent drives, Pretlow Industrial Park, located along Pretlow Street and Route 58, and the area known as “Pin Point,” located behind the city’s wastewater treatment plant along the Blackwater River.

At the Rawls and Pretlow sites, the farmers who rent the land will be allowed to give permission to bow hunters. Permission to hunt at “Pin Point” will be given by the city manager or her designee.

The conditions do not apply to bow hunting on private property in the city.