Aug. 18, the Horseshoe Bend City Council met to discuss having an urban deer hunt along with other issues.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officers Rick Gordon and Ted Zawislak presented the issue of urban deer hunting to the city. Zawislak said, "The deer population is expanding (into urban areas)." Zawislak gave a PowerPoint presentation describing the process of getting Horseshoe Bend on an Arkansas Urban Deer Hunting Program.
Zawislak explained that after the city recognizes a deer population problem and contacts the AGFC, the city develops a wildlife committee. Then, the mayor, wildlife committee, AGFC officials and Arkansas Bowhunters Association try to determine what is the best kind of hunt to have in the area. After it is determined what type of hunt to have, the city passes an ordinance allowing archery hunting within city limits.
Zawislak explained that a survey is needed to determine what the deer population is like. "We conduct a spotlight survey to determine pre-hunt deer density. The survey goes on for two nights, and we have city police and wildlife officers help out with it," Zawislak said.
The city has three hunting options: allow archery hunting in an urban area, check sheets and bonus deer tags, and urban archery deer permit hunts.
Zawislak said the city has the power to set season dates and rules. However, all hunters must pass and complete the International Bowhunter Education course. They must also pass a proficiency test. "We want hunters to get a good clean kill," said Zawislak.
Zawislak also encouraged hunters to donate deer meat to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. "Most of the time deer harvests go to local food banks," he said. "We try to get as much local involvement as possible. There's several ways local people can help in trying to manage the deer population."
Zawislak said urban deer hunting not only reduces deer numbers, but it also reduces deer accidents on roads, deer damage and chances of disease.
Aug. 22 the city held a special city council meeting to adopt the ordinance #2008-10, which called for the question of a special deer hunt to be placed on the November ballot. The council unanimously adopted the ordinance, which will allow a regular deer hunt (bow only) within city limits to be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.
After the presentation and questions, the council unanimously approved zoning code changes at the Aug. 18 meeting.
The council also confirmed existing sewer rates and approved the issuance of sewer revenue bonds.
The council approved a short-term loan of $20,000 to the Airport Commission and the public works manager using $5,000 to purchase a truck.
Mayor Bob Barnes suggested appointing Rich Emmens to the Building Permit Committee. The city council unanimously approved the appointment.