In the city of Colorado Springs, CO, you get the opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife. I have an office on the northwest end of the city, and we see wild animals almost daily. From fox, to coyotes, to bear, and a plethora of mule deer. It seems like everywhere you go in the city, there are animals around every corner.
Being a hunter, I love seeing all of the animals. I frequently pull out my phone and take pictures at some of the amazing bucks walking around my office. Being a citizen, I also see the danger these wild animals can become, and will become if they are not managed appropriately. Deer are being hit on the freeways and roads, bears are in people's back yards, and raccoons are menaces to garbage cans. Earlier this year, the City of Colorado Springs discussed the possibility of urban hunting. This new law would allow hunters to hunt within city limits, but they would be regulated severely. As the discussion went on, the council decided to table the conversation, and they decided the "do not feed wild animal laws" would have to suffice for another few years. But this got me thinking, even if we could hunt in the city limits, would I?
Advantages of Urban Hunting
I see several advantages to urban hunting. Living in a community that has a lot of wild animal populations, it would be quite convenient to step into my backyard and harvest a nice deer. This could also be a disadvantage because hunting isn't hunting unless it's hard. When the deer come to my back fence, it wouldn't be hard, but I'm sure for some people, that would be a wonderful thing.
Above all, I think the biggest advantage would be to lower the number of wild animals that come into contact with humans. A lot of people have the "Disney" mentality of wild animals, but we don't call them wild for nothing. I enjoy letting my kids play outside, but I do have that worry in the back of my head of a black bear making his way into my yard to investigate. Once we were able to harvest these urban animals, we'd have a lower population of them, and they would begin to fear being around humans.
The last advantage I'd like to mention is the revenue these new tags could bring the parks and wildlife departments. I'm not saying they need to charge more for these tags, but it would add tag numbers, which would in turn increase revenue. That revenue could in turn be used to relocate some of the animals, and build better habitats for them outside of the city limits.
Disadvantages of Urban Hunting
Obviously, hunting around a dense population of people can be a scary thing. I'm sure a lot of people think of urban hunting as a bunch of guys running around town with their guns, shooting any and all animals they can find. That's not true. However, the thought of using a gun or a bow in city limits does pose a possible threat. People have to take into consideration that accidents can and might happen. I believe that is the reason Colorado Springs tabled their discussion to allow urban hunting.
Who would get the tags? Would it just be the citizens of those specific towns? That causes a problem as well, especially for those hunters that would like to do some urban hunting in a specific town. For example, I'm not a resident of Colorado Springs, so if they did instate that law, I technically wouldn't be able to get one of those tags. I live extremely close to Colorado Springs though, and feel that I should.
The wildlife in Colorado Springs has played into the culture of the city. I have many employees that have moved to Colorado Springs because of the wildlife they see every day. It brings them joy to see these animals, and there is something special about being around them. Urban hunting would lower the population of these animals, and there would be many people disgruntled because they would no longer see them. There are very few "big cities" that still have an abundance of wildlife like Colorado Springs does. With it being a city of almost 500,000 people, most people are surprised by the number of animals they do see, and a lot of them love it!
I'm not sure I could hunt an animal within city limits. Due to the way I was raised and taught how to hunt, I think it would be too difficult for me to change, but I think there is a place for it. I know there are several places in the eastern U.S. and in the midwest where urban hunting is allowed, and from what I've read, it is a positive thing. For us western hunters, it would be a foreign adventure, but something that could have a lot of advantages.