Voter Referendum Could Block Archery Hunt

A group opposing the inaugural urban bowhunt slated to begin Sept. 15 in Cape Girardeau, Mo. claims to have gathered enough signatures to place the issue before voters on the November 6 General Election ballot and to effectively block opening of the 2012 archery hunt.

The effort to implement an urban bowhunt in Cape Girardeau, Mo. to help control a problematic deer population has been in the process for several years and has been addressed by multiple City Councils and executive administrations.

On a split vote July 16, the Cape Girardeau City Council approved the Urban Deer Hunting Ordinance on its third reading, after amending the original bill to include several safety measures. Bowhunters are required to obtain permission from property owners and only hunt on parcels greater than three acres, although adjoining property owners may combine tracts to reach that requirement. Arrows must be affixed with the hunter’s state-issued identification number and harvested deer must be reported to the Cape Girardeau Police Department within two business days.

Further, bowhunting must be conducted from an elevated stand and bows may not be discharged from across any street, sidewalk, road, highway or playground. Arrows are not to be fired within 150 yards of a church, school or playground or within 50 yards of a house, building, structure or car, according to a copy of the finalized ordinance.

The strict requirements and parameters were not enough for a group calling itself Keep Cape Safe, which is associated with the longtime opponent of the urban bowhunt, Cape Friends of Wildlife.

This week, The Southeast Missourian reported the group claims more than 3,000 petition signatures were on hand and notarized. A total of 2,446 signatures were needed by next week’s deadline to qualify a referendum for the ballot. If the measure officially qualifies to g before voters, the terms of the ordinance-and the scheduled bowhunt-will be suspended until after the election.

Stephen Stigers, frontman for Cape Friends of Wildlife, claims an urban bowhunt would threaten human safety in this Southeastern Missouri city of 38,000.

“A lot of us think (bowhunting’s) inhumane, but even more people than that are concerned about their own safety and their children’s safety and their pet’s safety,” Stigers told the local newspaper.