Bowhunting Ban Proposed by Georgia City/County

   02.25.21

Bowhunting Ban Proposed by Georgia City/County

Georgia Outdoor News (GON) recently published a call to action for hunters in Columbus, Georgia and Muscogee County due to a potential bowhunting ban for deer on any tract of land smaller than 10 acres. This city and county operate under a unified government which holds sway over 217 square miles of land, so any ordinance passed would affect the hunting rights of thousands of rural residents as well as those in urban areas. As to what triggered the possible bowhunting ban, GON reports this:

This entire line of discussion comes because a homeowner invited some archery hunters to her property, and they shot a deer. The wounded deer escaped somewhere to an adjoining property. The hunter went to the homeowner’s door to ask permission to look for the deer, which is exactly what he should have done to avoid any trespassing issues. However, that resident — the one resident — was not happy that deer archery hunting was taking place near [his or her] home. That one resident voiced… concern and displeasure on social media and suggested that the city should take action to reduce archery deer hunting in Columbus. [Subsequently} Councilman Davis… brought forth the motion below.

The motion starts out sounding fairly reasonable, banning the use of airguns and bows of any kinds on streets and sidewalks, requiring owner permission for them to be used on private property, and banning the firing of airgun projectiles or arrows across the property lines of the lot on which permission was granted, but then the bowhunting ban sneaks in at the end:

…(b) In addition to the requirements of subsection (a) it shall be unlawful to hunt with any longbow, crossbow, compound bow, or any other type of bow designed to discharge arrows on any property less than ten (10) acres in size.

GON notes that in Georgia, local governments do not actually have the power to enact a ban on bowhunting:

WRD’s Georgia’s Deer Management Plan 2015-2024 states that contrary to popular belief, county and municipal governments are not authorized to regulate hunting. Georgia law (OCGA §27-3-1) is specific regarding the authority to regulate hunting with authority given solely to the DNR Board. Local ordinances that regulate hunting (e.g., include language so broad as to prohibit the lawful discharge of firearms, that deliberately prohibit hunting, or extend beyond firearms to include archery equipment) are contrary to the authority provided for in OCGA §27-3-1. While provisions exist in OCGA §27-3-1 allowing political subdivisions to reasonably limit the discharge of firearms for the explicit purpose of “public safety,” this allowance is limited unequivocally to the discharge of firearms. It does not include allowances for prohibitions on discharging archery equipment.

Hunters in the Columbus / Muscogee County area are urged to contact Councilman Glenn Davis, who proposed the bowhunting ban, at [email protected] – keeping all emails respectful of course, in hopes that reason will prevail and Georgia’s game managers will not have to step in.

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