Antis Miss the Mark on Archers

Whenever citizens ask for solutions to their urban deer problems, bowhunting is almost always presented as a solution. This is normally followed by statements from members of animal-rights groups who say that bowhunters cannot shoot accurately and that wounded animals will be seen running around the neighborhood looking like arrow-filled pin cushions.

Truth is, this does not happen, and a recent study shows why. In the summer 2002 issue of the Wildlife Society Bulletin, Howard Kilpatrick and cohorts published a paper evaluating a shotgun/archery hunt in a Connecticut community. Hunters were selected from a mailing to local hunter-safety instructors and local sportsmen's groups. Bowhunters who responded to the mailing had to take a shooting proficiency test from a treestand at 20 yards. They also answered questions during an interview. From all of this, 25 bowhunters were selected to participate in the hunt.

These bowhunters shot 5 arrows each, and of their 125 arrows, 119 (95 percent) were in the kill zone. Even the 56 non-selected bowhunters shot well (89 percent of their arrows were in the vital zone). Mean group size for the kill-zone arrows was 5 inches. These bowhunters could shoot. In fact, selected shotgun hunters did not shoot as accurately as the bowhunters during their 40-yard proficiency test. And archery accuracy during the proficiency test translated into good shots on deer. The "longest distance traveled by a deer killed with a bow was 35 meters. Residents reported no observations of wounded or dead deer." The defense rests.

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