Approve Urban Archery for Gastonia
  • Petitioning Gastonia City Council and Recreation Advisory Commission

This petition will be delivered to:

Gastonia City Council and Recreation Advisory Commission

Approve Urban Archery for Gastonia

    1. Urban Archery
    2. Petition by

      Urban Archery

      Gastonia, NC

Across the nation and particularly in urban areas, the number of deer is increasing at an alarming rate. This increase is due to the lack of effective predation and is causing starvation and disease among deer populations, a dramatic increase in homeowner and city property damage, as well as a growing number of car accidents and fatalities over the last decade. In Gastonia alone since 2009, the number of accidents has more than doubled to 33 incidents by 2013. Just recently on November, 30 2013, a Gaston County man was killed in a two car accident caused by a deer. To date there has not been a single urban archery-caused accident ever reported in North Carolina (including any involving pets). Meanwhile deer hunting provides a significant opportunity for people to feed themselves and others through existing, legally sanctioned deer donation programs to individuals and food banks. Ultimately, urban archery provides the only free and viable deer population management technique working today. Let's help Gastonia join so many other progressive municipalities across North Carolina (Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Durham, Huntersville, Concord, Kannapolis, etc.) and the country (Atlanta, San Jose, CA/Silicon Valley, Dallas, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Kansas City, etc.) that have already adopted a safe and effective urban hunting program to positively impact public safety and health, reduce city and landowner property damage, feed the hungry (one deer on average provides 160 meals) and ultimately help the overall herd itself to thrive.

If you would like to join with us, please electronically sign this petition on the right. If you are able, please also print the letter below- adding your own personal experiences if possible- and then sign and mail to our Gastonia officials as follows:

Attention: Gastonia City Council and Recreation Advisory Commission
181 South St
Gastonia, NC 28052

The exploding number of deer in Gastonia is a real problem, and urban archery is a free and viable approach for our community. Please review these supporting facts and statistics to better understand our situation and this approach to herd management:

§  Across US, NC and Gastonia deer populations are exploding:

      o    "...the population of white-tailed deer in the U.S. is larger today than it was when Columbus sailed the ocean blue." -Kurt VerCauteren, Scientist, National Wildlife Research Center.

      o    In the early 1900s the deer population was counted in the low hundreds of thousands, and deer were even extinct or endangered in many states. The collective effort since then to restore the deer population in the US has been one of the most successful wildlife management actions ever taken, succeeding beyond anyone's wildest imaginings. Today reasonable estimates put the US white-tailed deer population at 32+ million and growing fast.

      o    NC’s current deer population is around 1.1 million+ already and continuing to grow rapidly.

      o    Wildlife biologists estimate that a single acre can carry on average a maximum capacity of 20 to 30 deer per square mile (dpsm).

      o    In key urban areas across North Carolina, as early as 2005 major counties were far surpassing that carrying capacity. By 2010 many counties such as Wake were seeing astronomical figures such as 70 dpsm.

      o    Our neighbor, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, was already seeing as much as 44 dpsm by 2005. By 2010 they were off the chart with a “red” rating similar to Wake, Caswell and many other counties near urban areas.

      o    Gaston County was already passing the maximum carrying capacity way back in 2005, seeing as much as 29 dpsm by then.

      o    By 2010, our figure had already grown to as much as 44 dpsm, following in the footsteps of Charlotte-Mecklenburg as their deer population explodes and spills over.

      o    Based on the most recent 5 years of deer-related accident data in Gastonia, we see a clear trend in the same direction. It would be perfectly reasonable for us to expect Gaston County to join those NC counties that are firmly in the red zone- off the NC Wildlife dpsa charts so to speak.

§  This is causing undue suffering, disease and starvation in the deer herds:

      o    Regardless of one’s view of hunting, we can all agree that a deer dying slowly and painfully from a car wreck, starvation and/or by disease is simply cruel versus ethically culling the herd through hunting. This is not even considering that more and more baby deer are being eaten alive by coyotes as a result.

      o    As a case in point about starvation, reports came back from initial urban bow hunts in Durham’s Duke Forest (hunts used to manage the completely out-of-control deer population) that revealed deer so emaciated that there was no actual meat on them to eat.

§  This is also causing massive and increasing damage to people, and growing public safety and health issues:

      o    In 2004 alone, there were 15,000 deer-related car accidents in NC, with 9 fatalities.

      o    In the four-year period 2009-2012 there were 20 deer-related car fatalities and 3,500 injuries in NC.

      o    In 2012 alone there were 20,181 deer-related car accidents in NC, or 35% growth from 2004.

      o    There is a strong correlation between growth in deer populations and growth in certain dangerous disease such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Fever. Overpopulated deer herds contribute to an increased tick population. Deer act as hosts for ticks which carry these diseases common in NC.

      o    There is a CDC-confirmed 69% Lyme disease growth rate in NC between the years 2008-12.

      o    In 2012 alone, the CDC reported 598 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in NC, including the first death (a child) in NC since 2009.

      o    Fast-growing deer herds simply equate to more hosts for ticks which in turn increases the likelihood that people within Gastonia and other city limits- where deer populations are exploding- have a greater likelihood of contracting these serious diseases.

      o    As a real-life example of this, one of the things that prompted Durham, NC to action was an outbreak of Lyme disease due in part to the soaring deer populations, where they saw as much as 50-70 dpsa per acre.

      o    Just recently, on November 30th 2013, we have the most tangible and heart-breaking evidence of the consequences of doing nothing. A Gaston man died as the result of a two-car accident caused by a collision with a deer- right on Dallas Cherryville Highway.

§  This is also causing massive and increasing cost to cities and taxpayers:

      o    Insurance companies estimate that each deer-related accident causes damages that start at $3,000 and commonly go to $6,000 dollars and often much more.

      o    In the three-year period 2009-2012, NCDOT estimates damages related to deer-car collisions of $144 million in NC.

      o    During 2004-2006, property damage estimates related to deer were about $107 million in NC.

      o    Estimates are that deer also cause $30 million in damages each year to farmer's crops in NC.

      o    In 2013 alone, the Gastonia Police Department reported that officers were called to deer-car collision sites (all within city limits) 33 times. The rate of growth from 2009 to 2013 more than doubled from 16 to 33 (106% growth). We also had an even worse spike in 2012: 45 accidents or 187% growth from 2009.

§  Are there other methods to accomplish the same goal of effectively managing the deer herd?

      o    Outside of urban archery, there are a variety of techniques that people have tried. All of them have significant and ongoing costs associated with them, and many are highly experimental in nature. They include:

            Anti-fertility vaccinations, via rifle; Approx. cost: $1,000+ per deer (temporary)

            Capturing and relocating deer; Approx. cost: $150 to $500 per deer

            Hire a sharpshooting company; Approx. cost: $200 to $600 per deer (guns in city limits)

            *  Fencing off hundreds of areas; Approx. cost: $365 to $882 per fence (deer can jump 8 to twelve feet or more as needed in flight situations)

            *   Deer repellant; Approx. cost $25 to $45 per application (plus labor and its temporary)

      o    People often wonder about the possibility of the growth in natural predators or even the introduction of further natural predators. In our area of the country, this generally means coyotes, a highly undesirable addition to our local cities and towns, especially in the numbers we are already seeing them.

      o    Even with natural predators such as coyotes (whose numbers are on the rise due to the lack of hunting pressure on them as well), as an overall herd deer still out-produce them at an alarming rate. This dynamic actually increases the coyote population due to so much food (deer and other animal babies etc.) being available.

      o    Compare all of these options with urban archery: Once adopted, the taxpayer cost of offering urban archery is zero ($0). This effectively drives down numbers of deer and improves the health of the herd, while simultaneously driving local commerce (through the many hunting-related activities/purchases) and enabling people to feed theirs and others’ families.

§  Isn’t this just taking the life of an innocent deer?

      o    Without getting into a debate about hunting itself, we know for a fact that many of the deer that would be harvested will die one way or the other. If it is not by hunters then much more slowly and painfully by our cars, and more often and more cruelly by disease and/or starvation.

      o    Even worse, the current situation causes an increase in unwanted pest predators like coyotes that simply eat the young of their prey (e.g. they eat baby deer, they eat turkey eggs and so forth).

§  Is this a proven technique, and what other places have already implemented it?

      o    Urban archery is the only completely free option that at the same time safely and definitely drives deer numbers down within city limits. This is a program that by definition positively impacts the very real public safety and public health issues at hand, but in a fiscally and ethically responsible way.

      o    As one example, Atlanta’s urban archery program has already accomplished the holding of deer-car collisions steady, compared to the rapid increase of accidents that cities and states including NC are experiencing by doing nothing.

      o    For the same reasons, dozens of major US cities have adopted urban archery seasons. Some examples are:

                  -Atlanta, Dallas, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Des Moines, San Jose (Guns for boar!)

      o    44 NC cities are already doing this successfully, some examples are:

                  -Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Durham, Huntersville, Concord, Kannapolis, Weddington and 37 others

§  Is urban archery safe?

      o    Right up and through 2014, the NC Wildlife Commission reports zero (0) accidents ever caused by urban archery to innocent bystanders (or pets).

      o    Since Atlanta implemented urban archery, not one person has been harmed by it, and no pets have been mistaken for deer.

      o    As a whole, bow hunters take their craft very seriously. For example, one study recognizes that bow hunters spend twice as much time preparing to bow hunt as they do actually bow hunting.

      o    All hunters in NC must have required training and certification through the NC Wildlife Resources Commission before even being able to obtain a hunting license.

      o    Additionally, bow hunters are hunting downward from elevated stands and a bow and arrow has a tiny fraction of the velocity of a bullet, and only has an effective range of about 35 yards.

 §  Are there other benefits?

      o    Hunting is empowering women. There is a massive influx of women in hunting in general and bow hunting in particular. As a demographic, women are the fastest growing segment of hunting, in many cases by a very significant factor. What is the next largest growth demographic in hunting? It is the younger generations who are recognizing the value of knowing where their food comes from, and that it is healthy and locally sourced.

      o    One deer can provide as many as 200 locally sourced, naturally organic, healthy meals to feed one’s own family as well as Gastonia’s hungry. The average is 160 meals per deer.

      o    There are clear regulations in NC enabling hunters to document and donate their deer to individual families in need, as well as directly to local processors in partnership with programs such as Hunters for the Hungry and Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. This meat is then donated directly to food banks and ministries helping to care for Gastonia’s families in need.

      o    Adopting urban archery enables individuals who may be in need, and who are able to bow hunt, to provide food for their own families to offset their food expenses in a healthy way while reducing the strain on city services.

      o    Hunting drives local commerce in unique ways through the purchase of licenses and equipment as well as food, lodging, gas and more related to outings.

      o    As a whole, deer hunters are the world’s largest group of conservationists and contribute more to wildlife and land preservation than any other organization. Through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act there is an 11% excise tax on equipment, and 100% of the revenue from licenses and game tags go towards the individual state advancing wildlife preservation and restoration. This makes literally billions of dollars available for use at the state and federal levels.

      o    All publicly owned land is funded by hunters through the Pittman-Roberson Act. Without hunters, there would not even be a fraction of the amount of protected land for non-hunters to bird watch, hike, and play.

      o    Hunters as a whole are a reverent group that respect the animals they harvest and as mentioned previously, they use the meat they obtain to either help feed their own families or for donating it to people in need through well-established, legally sanctioned programs.

The reality is that ordinances such as those in Gastonia that currently prohibit even archery hunting within city limits have in effect created giant sanctuaries that attract deer, and where deer populations are exploding unchecked and unregulated. Meanwhile hundreds of landowners within Gastonia city limits have 2 acres or more that cannot be hunted due to these local ordinances which do not permit the discharge of any weapon, including a bow and arrow.

This petition is not a simple request to hunt as a pastime, but rather it comes out of necessity due to the fact that at least as far back as 2005 deer were already becoming significantly overpopulated within Gastonia city limits. With this overpopulation comes a set of real public safety hazards including disease (Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other tick-borne illnesses); more car wrecks, deaths, and injuries; and significant damage to citizen property and to farmer’s crops.

Leveraging humans and urban archery within city limits is simply the most practical, quiet, safe and cost-effective way of managing the deer population. It is uniquely effective at impacting public safety, public health and taxpayer dollars as proven across North Carolina and the United States. When you combine this with the reality that through urban archery the deer are not wasted- that we are empowering families to feed themselves and others, many of whom are experiencing hunger even today- it becomes clear that despite any possible objection to hunting itself, this is the most responsible course of action for any city experiencing radical deer overpopulation.

When we add to it all that as a city, through this program, we will be able to serve our area by opening the way for the donation of literally thousands of healthy, naturally organic and locally sourced meals to the hungry via food banks and other local organizations, we can know that we support a truly worthy endeavor.

Recent signatures


    1. Update on Urban Archery for Gastonia

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer

      With hunting season upon us tomorrow, we wanted to give you an update:
      As you would expect, things went quiet after the last city council meeting when the Mayor broke the tie in favor of doing nothing for now. I understand there are some internal studies being done about what other cities are doing, and we provided the city complete details on that as well.

      In the mean-time, another local citizen has gathered many more signatures which ought to put us well over 300, maybe as high as 350, so momentum continues. In January we can renew the effort for 2015. If you have bandwidth to help or even lead the charge for 2015, please contact

      Special thanks to the following area organizations for their support:
      NCBA - (don't forget to join and get their great magazine, huge chunk of insurance and hunting opportunities).
      PAWS -
      Carolina Hunter -
      Sportsman Inc -

      Lastly- a related side note is that Steven Walters of the very nearby Mecklenburg Wildlife Club is exploring archery only family memberships with the leadership. This would include indoor range, two outdoor 3D courses as well as their 100 yard outdoor range. Incredible resource for bow hunters.

      If you are interested (even as a possibility), please contact Steven directly today via email at


      Gastonia Urban Archery

    2. Gastonia slowing process, more research being done

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer
      Gastonia in no rush to allow bow hunting of deer within city limits

      Proponents of a program that would allow bow hunting for deer within Gastonia's city limits may not get their wish any time soon. North Carolina's next designated Urban Archery season will take place in early 2015. To participate in it, Gastonia City Council members were faced with having to vote to allow the practice before an official deadline passed Tuesday.

    3. Deer-car crash cost to Gaston Cities/Taxpayers in 2010-12? Nears $1 million

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer

      This is according to a recent NC DOT study on animal-car collisions (of which deer are 90%!). With about 1/4 of those crashes in Gastonia City limits based on Police deer-car collision data, one can calculate that the cost to the City of Gastonia & taxpayers in that time period to be roughly about $250k.

      It would be interesting to have an official cost estimate at some point as the deer population went from max of 30 per square mile in 2005 to max of 44 per square mile in 2010.

      Time to take some action?

    4. 13 y/o NC boy killed- deer rockets through windshield in deer-car collision

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer

      This boy was killed just a handful of miles over the border in VA, but is from NC. Our hearts go out to his family.

      13-year-old killed after deer goes through windshield

      A 13-year-old was killed after a deer went through the windshield of a pickup truck Friday, troopers said. Mason Wayne Carter of Mayodan was hit around 5:15 p.m. on U.S. Route 311 near County Route 874 southwest of Danville. Carter died at Danville Regional Medical Center shortly after the crash.

    5. Gastonia Urban Archery still tracking, but delayed

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer

      Here is the update- Basically someone opposed sent higher wounding rate info to one of the council members they pumped the brakes a little. This means Gastonia will likely not get the critical extended Jan/Feb season since 4/1 deadline is around the corner. That said, it seems like the ordinance change is still tracking for the regular season, see this article with all details:

      Gastonia holds off on allowing bow hunting within city limits

      Gastonia leaders plan to give it more thought before allowing arrows to fly within the city limits as part of an extended deer hunting season. The city may ultimately elect to join the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Urban Archery Program. But there was still too much hesitation Tuesday night because of concerns about safety and other issues.

    6. Reached 250 signatures
    7. Article in Gaston Gazette on Urban Archery / City Council meeting

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer
      Gastonia could open up deer season in city

      Gastonia may soon adopt an urban archery program that would permit bow hunting of deer within the city limits on specified dates. That doesn't mean arrows will be flying in search of venison targets in Franklin Square or other heavily developed areas.

    8. Reached 200 signatures
    9. Urban Archery in Belmont

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer
      Belmont neighborhood opens up hunting for deer

      Starting Saturday, bow hunting will be allowed in one Belmont community. To deal with the ever growing deer population, residents of Reflection Pointe went to the city to ask for bow hunting in their neighborhood. The North Carolina Wildlife Commission, which ultimately approved the request from Belmont, calls it urban archery.

    10. Wild hogs sighted in Gastonia

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer

      Over in West Gastonia... get ready for the invasion.

    11. Gastonia hospital shuts down walking trail due to many coyote sightings

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer

      No news coverage on this yet, but this is a direct result of the exploding deer populations. The only way to limit the explosion of coyotes is to limit their food supply of deer and fawns.

    12. Time Magazine Front Cover on US Exploding Wildlife (Durham, NC featured)

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer
      Deer-Related Traffic Accidents On Rise In N.C. ::

      Now that it's fall, it's also the time of year that drivers are more likely to run into deer -- literally. And with more people moving to the state, reports of deer-related car accidents are on the rise. Traffic accidents involving deer have nearly doubled over the past 10 years, a new study by researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill revealed.

    13. Deer-Related Traffic Accidents On Rise In N.C.

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer
      Deer-Related Traffic Accidents On Rise In N.C. ::

      Now that it's fall, it's also the time of year that drivers are more likely to run into deer -- literally. And with more people moving to the state, reports of deer-related car accidents are on the rise. Traffic accidents involving deer have nearly doubled over the past 10 years, a new study by researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill revealed.

    14. Urban Archery in Atlanta, GA

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer
      Atlanta Magazine - January 2011 - Urban Hunter

      Slinging arrows in the suburbsBy Kenneth R. Wilson / Photo by Jason Maris Willie Johnson's dirty Toyota pickup rolls to a stop in a Walmart parking lot near I-285. Overhead, a jumbo jet howls. Johnson has to shout to be heard above the roar. "It's not far," he yells.

    15. Reached 100 signatures
    16. No Urban Archery accidents ever reported in NC (Updated 2/3/2014)

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer

      A letter stating this from NC Wildlife - and updated through 2/2014 - is available from North Carolina Bowhunters Association or NC Wildlife.

    17. Gaston Co. man dies in two-vehicle wreck involving deer

      Urban Archery
      Petition Organizer
      Our hearts go out to this man's family, but it was hardly a freak accident as they say at bottom of the article. There were over 48 collisions with deer in 2012 within Gastonia city limits!

      Gaston Co. man dies in two-vehicle wreck involving deer

      A Gaston County man died early Saturday when a deer crashed through the windshield of a vehicle he was driving, causing it to run off the road and explode into flames, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol. The victim was identified as Charles Barry Ervin, 69, of Bessemer City.

    18. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • dylan howell GASTONIA, NC
      • 5 months ago

      because the deer are over populated

    • matthew mcintyre GASTONIA, NC
      • 5 months ago

      because deer are way over populated here in gastonia

    • Donald Moore STEM, NC
      • 5 months ago

      Is right way to manage deer.

    • Larry L Capps GASTONIA, NC
      • 7 months ago

      too many deer in city causing problems

    • Rebecca Kirlin GASTONIA, NC
      • 7 months ago

      As a conservationist, I believe that the hunting of deer as a means of controlling the exploding population is a reasonable way to help keep the herd healthy and maintain a reasonable size for a deer population within urban regions. I foresee that as human populations continue to expand into more and more rural areas, there will be less safe spaces for wildlife. I advocate for additional protected areas in addition to hunting, but firmly believe hunting is a meaningful way to control populations.


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