ARCHER LODGE — Town officials have declared successful a test run of an extended hunting season with plans already in place for next year.
Councilman Matt Mulhollem proposed participating in the state’s Urban Archery Deer Season after hearing a request from a local citizen. It’s an opportunity the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission created for municipalities in an effort to control the white-tailed deer population and prevent accidents involving deer.
“This was a program that hadn’t been on our radar,” explained Mulhollem, a lifetime sportsman. “I checked into it and asked around if it was something hunters would be interested in. I didn’t get a single negative comment.”
With no cost involved to the town, Mulhollem called it a win-win situation for all involved. Last March council members voted to approve participation within town limits. They stipulated all hunting would have to take place on private land and require written permission from the land owner.
Archery season runs statewide each year from Jan. 12 through Feb. 16. All applicable state hunting license and reporting laws apply and only archery is allowed, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
“This is a great way for towns to manage their deer population,” said Greg Batts, a biologist with the organization who manages Johnston County. “The hope is to attract hunters who haven’t gotten enough from the normal season. The goal is to get at the doe population.”
He noted the program is gaining popularity in towns across the state. Archer Lodge reported two kills during the 2013 season. At total of 83 were logged statewide, up from 70 the year before. The commission has been recording data since the 1950s and has never received an accident report from archery equipment.
Batts said Archer Lodge is the only town in the county currently participating in the program. By reducing the deer population, it lessens the dangers of motor vehicle collisions and homeowners having gardens and plants destroyed.
In a rural town such as Archer Lodge, there’s a fair amount of undeveloped land used for agricultural purposes. Mulhollem said the population control aspect of the hunting season extension also benefits area farmers who have problems with crop damage due to deer.
It has pleased Mulhollem to see cars lined along local hunting grounds during the early morning and late evening hours knowing they were taking advantage of the extended season. Hunting is an important part of his life and something he hopes to pass along to his two young children.
“We’ve got a lot of people that grew up here and enjoy outdoor pursuits,” he said. “Hunting is very healthy for the herd. Those are values that have been passed along to me and I hope there were some parent child teams who had an opportunity to participate.”
Archer Lodge council members voted earlier this month to participate in next year’s urban archery season.