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Urban deer hunts a 'touchy subject' but a reality in parts of Arkansas

July 13, 2009 |  1:34 pm

Whitetail Here's something that might never be embraced in California, or at least Southern California: urban deer hunts, using archery equipment.

Outposts, which is always on the lookout for hunting and fishing news beyond the Golden State, has discovered that such hunts will be offered later this summer in parts of Arkansas, where whitetail deer are so plentiful they're posing severe traffic hazards and creating a general nuisance.

"The main thing is we've been getting in a lot of car accidents with them. I've hit three over the last few years," Horseshoe Bend Mayor Bob Barnes told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. "This was a very touchy subject. We put it to ballot, and having urban hunts passed with about 67% for it."

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission took reports on 1,215 people crashing into deer in 2007, and similar numbers during previous years. The number is likely far greater because people striking deer don't always report the accidents. A State Farm Insurance report listed 18,498 deer-automobile collisions from 2007 through 2008.

Hunts are scheduled for September and January in Horseshoe Bend, Cherokee Village, Bull Shoals and Hot Springs Village. Hunters will need to apply and must donate his or her first kill to a group called Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

Applicants must have completed a bow-hunter education program and pass a shooting proficiency test to be included in the hunts. Regardless, this seems like a dangerous proposition, and citizens in these areas would be wise to dress in bright clothing during the hunts to avoid becoming an accidental target.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: whitetail deer. Credit: John Stehn / USFWS

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