As city officials review a proposed ban on bow-and-arrow hunting in
the city’s stretch of the Verdugo Mountains, state Department of Fish
and Game officials say concerns about safety are unfounded.
The council last week voted to lift the ban until city staff
reviewed potential environmental effects of the ban, including
overpopulation of deer. Opponents of the ban, who called for the
environmental review, question the council’s reasons for enacting the
ban in the first place. Citing concerns about the safety of hikers
and other such recreational users, the council approved the ban Jan.
But Joe Gonzales, assistant chief of the state’s Department of
Fish and Game, said the council’s concerns about safety are
unfounded. In the 20 years the department has recorded statistics, it
has received no reports of injuries caused by bow-hunting in the
For some city officials, the danger of bow-hunting is not as
important as public perception of that danger. Mayor David Laurell
said the city has promoted the hillside as a recreational area, and
he does not believe hunting is conducive to that.
“Imagine a mother, father and child walking on a trail and getting
passed by someone with a quiver of arrows,” he said, adding that of
the calls he has received opposing the ban, only one of them was from
a Burbank resident.
Laurell said he might support designating a specific area for
hunting that was not used for recreation.
Gonzales also said calls have increased about deer venturing into
public areas, and he believes the problem will become worse without
“If no hunting is allowed, the population at some time will not be
able to sustain itself with the current habitat,” he said.
Officials with the California Bowmen Hunters estimate between 10
and 15 deer are killed each year by bow hunters in the area.
Craig Fritz, a Thousand Oaks resident and second vice president of
the Bowmen Hunters, said he offered to work with the council on a
compromise but has not been contacted.
He also questioned why the council is in such a hurry to implement
a ban since deer-hunting season does not begin until July.
After the environmental impact report by city staff is complete,
it will be submitted for a 20- to 30-day review period by the public
and various state agencies, after which it could go back before the