Cayuga Heights legalizes bow hunting

Via Flickr/Ron Abfalter
January 30, 2014

The Cayuga Heights Board of Trustees have voted to allow limited bow hunting as a way to rein in the village’s deer population. The controversial new law doesn’t quite mean open season on the deer of Cayuga Heights.

Liz Karns, the village’s Deputy Mayor, says the deer population stands at 250.

“We had about seven or eight deer who were residents in the bottom part of our yard. And they would just hang out.”

Despite the problems, Karns was one of two trustees who voted against the law. She says the village already has its own permit from the DEC to remove the deer.

“I just feel that there is a lack of oversight that we start incurring when we have private citizens doing what I think the government ought to be doing, which is enforcing our own program.”

Before residents can take down their furry enemies, they need a regular hunting permit and a special Deer Damage Permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation to kill nuisance animals.

Cayuga Heights Police Chief James Steinmetz didn’t want to be recorded for this story but he said it’s a secure law. Shooters have to take a bow hunter safety course, and the hunting has to be done from a tree stand so the arrows hit the ground quickly.

But all the controversy over the law may be a moot point because, before killing a deer, the homeowner would need the permission of all property owners within 500 feet.

And even the village, under it’s own culling permit from the DEC, hasn’t been able to find an area of 500 feet where everyone gives them permission to kill a deer. In fact, Cayuga Heights has not killed a single deer up to this point.

“And that’s sort of my biggest thing. We have a program, if we have people interested, let them step forward and we’ll implement the cull.”

Karns says the DEC has also started its own sterilization program as another way to reduce the deer population.