The Village of Lansing Board of Trustees passed a local law that amends Chapter 67-6 (entitled “Exceptions”) of the Village’s code to permit the use of crossbows for the sole use of hunting deer as part of the Deer Management Program in the Village of Lansing Code-Firearms and Bow Safety.
Mayor Donald Hartill said at a meeting on Oct. 7 that there have been some concerns made about this law, such as the fact that a crossbow has a longer range than a compound bow, and therefore there is a greater chance of arrows being shot and lost in the environment. Hartill said he anticipates such concerns will not be an issue.
“The way the hunting process works is that the person using the device is going to stand up and retrieve [the arrow],” Hartill said. “So the [hunter] is shooting down, not sideways.”
Because the hunter would be shooting down, any projectile would not travel a long enough distance to the point where the projectile would be unretrievable. In addition, the arrows shot from a crossbow have lightened tips so it flashes when it leaves the chamber and is easier to find when it lands.
“One of the reasons for considering this change in our local law is…crossbows are quite a bit more accurate than a compound bow,” Hartill said. “That relieves some of the problems associated where a projectile doesn’t kill any deer and then has to suffer for a while. The crossbow is a more effective tool.”
Hartill expressed the importance of the village’s continuous efforts to limit the deer population. In the past, the Deer Management Program measured where the deer population stands by how many were struck by a car and killed. When the program was established 13 years ago, the number was between 30 and 40 deer per year. This past year, that total dipped to just one or two deer struck by a car and killed, according to Hartill.
“In my own backyard, we used to have four or five animals camping out,” he said. “Now, we see one occassionally. The other thing that I’ve noticed is that there are small maple trees beginning to grow. The oaks are also beginning to do the same, and so generally the forest is going to be in much better shape as a result.”
Hartill reiterated his point, saying that while he understands the worries of individuals regarding the Deer Management Program, he believes making a change like this will result in positive outcomes.
“I know a lot of people have concerns about this kind of management program, but it’s one of the things that, as a responsible government, that we have to do,” he said. “I like to watch the deer, but then again I don’t like to watch cars kill them.”