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Council reviews city hunting ban

Ben Godar

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.

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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

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ban in the first place. Citing concerns about the safety of hikers

and other such recreational users, the council approved the ban Jan.

21.

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

Burbank area.

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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.

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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

hunting.

“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

council.


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