A debate about bow hunting within the city of Pickerington limits ensued among various Pickerington officials at the Oct 16 meeting of City Council's Safety Committee.
While it is technically permissible to use a shotgun to hunt in the city in very limited cases, bow hunting is not allowed under any circumstances.
Mayor Lee Gray said Pickerington Police Chief Michael Taylor currently has the sole discretion to permit "someone to hunt a deer with a shotgun, but not with a bow."
Pickerington Police Cmdr. Matt Delp said the shotgun loophole is in the city code because of the damage that deer inflict on crops, particularly corn.
"There are a couple areas where deer congregate," Delp said.
"We have a few people that want to hunt to remove the deer," said Delp.
He said the question is whether a bow and arrow is an appropriate firearm for dispatching deer in the city.
If deemed appropriate, Delp said city code would then need to be changed to allow for hunting within the city limits.
City Councilman Jeff Fix said the shotgun loophole remains on the books as a vestige of Pickerington's rural past.
"I can imagine 20 years ago this made sense," Fix said.
"We were a much smaller town and not as dense," said Fix.
"I can't imagine there's a whole lot of land in the city limits where you can safely go hunting."
Gray said Taylor wouldn't approve of any hunting in the city if he didn't deem it safe.
He said bow hunting would appear just as safe as a shotgun.
Fix agreed, stating if the city remains intent on allowing shotguns, then "adding a bow and arrow in these exempted activities makes sense."
City Manager Bill Vance said he had no problem with expanding the loophole to include bow hunting "as long as (Chief Taylor) has to permit these activities."
Councilwoman Cristie Hammond expressed reservations with allowing certain types of bow hunting in the city.
"What kind of bows are we talking about?" she asked.
"A regular bow with an 80-pound pull can put an arrow through a bale of hay, but a crossbow can go through three or four bales of hay," Hammond said.
"I don't want anyone shooting (that) where there are people."
Vance said "those arguments would have to be made to Chief (Taylor)" to convince him a particular permit is safe.
City Councilman Tony Barletta said houses are not constructed to withstand projectiles such as arrows from crossbows.
"There's a big difference between firing off a shotgun and firing off an arrow as far as what it will go through," he said.
Delp acknowledged crossbows are considerably more dangerous than compound bows.
Vance said whatever legislation is drawn up allowing for bow hunting in the city, it should be specific.
"It's not going to say 'a bow of your choice,' " he said.
City Clerk Lynda Yartin said she would bring draft legislation allowing for the change to the next Safety Committee meeting in November.