A group of Sandy Springs residents has asked the city council to ban bow hunting in the city limits, claiming that hunters are endangering their families and leaving dead deer to rot on their properties.
Several residents told the Sandy Springs City Council during its Nov. 1 meeting that hunters come to Sandy Springs because they know it does not ban bow hunting. The concerned residents said hunters don’t harvest the meat from the deer, they only shoot it for the trophy.
City Attorney Dan Lee said cities and counties are prohibited from limiting hunting, though an exception allows the city to prohibit the discharge of firearms. Sandy Springs has an ordinance that prohibits discharging firearms for any purpose.
Mayor Rusty Paul told the residents they would have Lee check what the city’s options are after they shared their problems with bow hunting.
Amanda Collins, a Powers Ferry Road resident, asked the council to enact an ordinance prohibiting bow hunting.
“I live on two acres and that is still not a safe distance between myself and a bow hunter firing arrows toward my property,” she said.
Collins said a bow hunter who lives on the property behind her came to her door to ask permission to check her property for a deer he had shot. She said she’s not against hunting, just against it in residential neighborhoods.
“I have family in Jasper, Alabama. They are avid bow hunters, but they are hunting on large tracts of land away from their homes,” Collins said.
Collins said her daughter spends a lot of time outside tending to their chickens.
“Do I have to put her in an orange vest during hunting season? Like bullets, arrows do not have boundaries and they do not know property lines,” she said.
Collins noted that Brookhaven banned bow hunting in 2014.
Under its prohibition of discharging a weapon within the city except in defense of a person or property, Brookhaven bans shooting “a slingshot or bow and arrow.”
Cynthia George said she lives next door to the Collins family. She found someone had dumped large amounts of corn in a pile near the tree line of the pasture near her home.
“I strongly suspect that someone was luring deer to my property in order to hunt them with a bow. This means that someone trespassed on my property and was bow hunting on my property without my permission. This is illegal and it infuriates me that someone would do this,” George said.
Patty Berkovitz of Crest Valley Drive said she’s already lost a horse from hunting when a bullet lodged in its knee and had to be euthanized. A bullet also went through her front window and out the back, but fortunately, no one was at home at the time.
She said hunters told her they can just shoot from the street and if they injure the deer they have the right to come onto her property to finish it off.
Kathy Battaglia, another Powers Ferry Road property owner, said her neighbor’s daughter found a male deer that was shot with an arrow laying in her pasture last year. They couldn’t find a way to remove it, as city and county animal removal services will not remove animals from private property. The animal lay there for weeks decomposing, and the smell was horrendous, she said.
“A bow and arrow is just as lethal as a firearm. Please ban the use of this weapon so that we can feel safe in our own backyard,” she said.