Photo by Jay Paul
Chesterfield's Parks and Recreation department is considering seasonal bow hunting in at least one county park. All but two of 30 people at an April public hearing spoke in favor of the proposal.
A final head count of public response, says Stuart Connock Jr., chief of parks planning and construction services with Chesterfield, was a bit less lopsided — 38 for and 22 against.
Among those speaking in favor at the hearing were representatives of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association, based in Richmond.
Buddy Fine of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association did not attend, but he supports the proposal. "The people who hunt enjoy getting back with nature, and they enjoy the venison."
And it's a largely safe sport compared with rifle or shotgun hunting, Fine adds. In part, that's because a compound bow's range is 20 to 30 yards, and most hunting is done from tree stands, meaning the arrows often travel downward. "I don't recall anybody that's ever been shot by an arrow," Fine says.
If approved by the parks commission, the plan still needs the board of supervisors' OK. It would likely be piloted at Dutch Gap, Connock says, probably sometime next year. "If it makes it that far," he adds.