July 14, 2010
Bill would allow bowhunting too
close to homes for comfort
Star-Ledger Editorial Board, 07/14/2010 5:41 AM
Know what that is? It's the sound of a razor-sharp, made-to-kill arrow as it zips across your lawn, maybe past your kid's head as he plays with the dog, and sticks into your back door.
Something to think about if you live next to legal hunting grounds in New Jersey, because the Legislature has approved a bill that shrinks the buffer between bowhunters and homes from 450 feet to 150 feet.
Even if William Tell and Robin Hood are the hunters, it's a needless gamble with public safety. A good bowhunter can kill from 50 yards, so an errant shot could go past the buffer.
"The idea that somebody could be 150 feet from a house, shooting an arrow into a deer, is pretty disturbing to people in my district," state Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) said. Even more disturbing: The hunter could miss.
Assemblyman Gary Chiusano (R-Sussex), the sponsor of the bill, says the state needs to keep deer "in check." The buffer must be shrunk drastically because deer are smart enough to flee from hunters and move close to homes and buildings where the law now protects them.
Makes you wonder which are smarter, deer or legislators.
At least there's some sanity to the bill: The safety zone around schools and playgrounds - and for hunters using shotguns - will remain 450 feet.
Anthony Mauro, chairman of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, believes anyone with concerns is an alarmist.
"Am I concerned?" Mauro said. "No. What you're depending on is people to use their common sense and judgment."
We're hoping Gov. Chris Christie uses his judgment and shoots down this bill.