Columbia holds first orientation for city bow hunting

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia will hold the first of three orientation and registration sessions Tuesday for residents interested in deer hunting on designated city properties during bow season. As part of the city's deer management program, licensed hunters with a valid permit will be able to hunt at eight locations within the city limits.

Columbia will hold the classes at the Activity and Recreation Center. Tuesday's session will start at 6 p.m. and the remaining two classes will take place Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 3 and 6 p.m.

The sessions are expected to last an hour and are open to the public free of charge. Hunters must be at least 15 years old to hunt without adult supervision. Those interested in attending have to register on the city's Parks and Recreation website by noon the day of the session. Those who pre-register will be able to get their permit after finishing the orientation session.

People who took the classes in 2013 can still use their permits for the 2014-2015 hunting seasons. However, permits from 2012 have expired and hunters with permits from that year or earlier need to re-register before this year's season.

City bow hunting will be permitted during two seasons. The first runs from Sept. 15 through Nov. 11 and the second from Nov. 23 through Jan. 15, 2015. People wanting to hunt on city property have to attend one of the three registration sessions to obtain a permit.

Hunters must carry their permit on them at all times while hunting on city property and also have to display an accompanying permit on vehicles in designated parking areas. Hunters can use a crossbow to hunt if they have the proper Methods Exemption form from MDC signed by a physician.

The locations where people can hunt include portions of the Grindstone Nature Area, the City Landfill, the Gans Creek Recreation Area, Strawn Park, Atkins Park, SC Fields Sewer Utility, Oakland Church Road property and areas of the MKT Trail near the Scott Boulevard and Jay Dix Station access points. Smith Park was removed from the program for development. A map can be found here. Hunters cannot hunt within 100 feet of private property or a city trail.

Atkins and Strawn Parks have restricted dates during the season. Hunters can use Atkins Park during the season from Nov. 1 to Jan. 1, 2015. Strawn Park is restricted to hunting from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15 due to park development.

Columbia's deer management program began in 2004 and has averaged 250 hunters per year. The program is intended to manage the growing urban deer population and is limited to qualified hunters who meet the city's requirements. While hunting with the special permit, hunters are still required to follow all relevant Missouri Department of Conservation regulations.