Bernd Blossey, an associate professor at the Cornell University Department of Natural Resources, discussed with members of the Village of Lansing Board of Trustees the state of the local deer population as well as proposed plans for hunters for the upcoming hunting season at a meeting on Aug. 19.
“We’ve shot fewer deer, but they’re still around,” Blossey said of the data he gathered in a report, which he shared with the board. “Particularly on camera in places we found an excess of them.”
Blossey said the current proposal for the upcoming hunting season would be for it to take place between mid-September through the end of March with a two-week grace period at the beginning to condition the deer for the hunting season before hunters are permitted to begin shooting on Oct. 1.
The crux of the conversation centered around whether or not crossbows should be allowed to be used by hunters in the village. Trustee Ronny Hardaway shared his concerns about permitting the use of crossbows.
“First is the fact that the distance of the crossbow is much farther than a standard composition bow,” Hardaway said. “The darts used for a crossbow are much…shorter; therefore, they could be more easily lost. Within an environment where they’re not found, that presents danger to the people coming through that area…They’re very close to the lethality of a rifle, and if a [shot] misses it can go a long distance and hit a target that’s not intended.”
Blossey responded by saying those concerns are nothing to worry about.
“Remember we’re down; we’re from trees shooting down,” he said. “It goes a little further with the crossbow—not that much further. The shots are at the same distance. There is no increased distance for crossbow versus a compound bow that we would use…if you think about the angle when it goes into the ground, there’s no danger of having projectiles that go long distances.”
“Second, the arrows are shorter,” he added. “Most individuals that I know shoot with lighted nocks, so they are being lit at the time that you discharge them from the bow or from the crossbow. The reason for that is you see arrow flight and you find it because they are 20 bucks apiece. So they’re not just getting lost in the woods somewhere. I personally and other people with metal detectors find them because they are expensive.”
Hardaway said he figured since the crossbow arrows are shorter than arrows from a standard bow, they would be much more difficult to find. However, Blossey said that would not be the case.
“If you think the ground here, it’s not like we’re hunting in mucklands,” Blossey said. “Also, if you shoot long distance and you have a flat trajectory, you may see an arrow go into the grass…that would be hard to find, but when shooting at night that light is on as soon as that arrow leaves the crossbow.”
The board was planning on voting to decide whether or not to allow the use of crossbows in the village, though since trustees John O’Neill and Randy Smith were not present at the meeting on Monday, the board chose to wait until it had everyone present to make a decision.