Deer hunting is a big thing is a lot of rural areas around the country. In fact, it is such a big thing that many hunters plan vacation time around deer hunting season. It is estimated that about six million deer are killed by hunters each year.
Usually deer hunters have to actually go out into the woods and fields in search of deer to kill. After all, that is where deer normally live. It is also not usually considered a good idea to shoot bullets or arrows in town or around houses – for obvious reasons. Deer hunting within city limits or near occupied buildings is usually banned completely. Now, because having to drive an off-road vehicle into the forests or meadows outside of town is apparently too difficult, at least one Midwest city has decided to bring the hunt home to the hunters.
Urban deer hunts are now a real thing, so you had better keep your kids indoors for the next four months. After all, it’s not as though there are not already stories every year about over-zealous hunters accidentally shooting pets, livestock, and even people.
Mason City, Iowa is apparently tired of deer coming into town and causing property damage and car crashes. The solution to this wildlife problem? The city has partnered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to turn the city into an urban Deer Management Zone (DMZ). This allows Iowa deer hunters to legally hunt deer within the city limits in addition to hunting out in the country like usual.
The good news is that hunting within city limits will be restricted to bow hunting. There is also a somewhat complicated process that aspiring urban hunters must go through before legally hunting deer in the city. Hunters will need to obtain a state-issued deer hunting license and a Mason City DMZ license that can only be purchased at the local hardware store, must pass a proficiency test at a local archery club, and then must complete an urban hunting application at the city police department. Property owners can also impose their own rules which must be respected by the urban deer hunters.
The bad news, at least for those who have concerns about deer hunting in the city, is that archery can still be a dangerous activity. This is especially true in populated areas like a city. Modern compound bows can send an arrow flying several hundred yards – a very long distance in a city when a hunter misses the deer. Also, hunting will not be restricted to private property. The city plans to allow urban deer hunting in city parks as well. Parents may want to keep their children indoors and out of city parks, and pet owners may want to avoid walking the dog at a city park until the urban hunting season has ended.
Mason City’s 2016 urban deer hunt is planned to run for four months, from September 17 until January 10, 2017. A total of 50 special, urban hunting licenses will be available. The hunting licenses will be for antlerless deer since the program in supposed to reduce breeding animals in the city.