City residents seeking to rid their property of varmints who devour gardens or crops can, with special permission of the Pickerington chief of police, use a gun to do the job in the rare circumstance where it's warranted.
Feb. 4, Pickerington City Council passed, by a 4-2 vote, an ordinance that will expand the definition of "exempt activities" to now allow for bow hunting in the city on very limited occasions.
The legislation was placed on City Council's agenda Dec. 3, but died during a second reading Dec. 17 when it didn't garner the necessary four "affirmative" votes to move it forward.
The legislation was reintroduced Jan. 7 and passed at its third reading Feb. 4.
The original ordinance allowing gun use takes into consideration that Pickerington still has parts within the city proper that are rural in nature.
Thus, city officials are cognizant there are occasions when removal of nuisance animals or rodents are necessary.
The question arose whether bow hunting could also be utilized as a method of city-sanctioned animal removal, particularly with respect to deer hunting in the city for the preservation of corn crops.
Pickerington Police Commander Matt Delp advised City Council's Safety Committee in October there are a couple areas in the city where deer congregate and a few people wish to bow hunt to remove the deer.
Thus, legislation was drawn up to expand the loophole to include the use of bows and arrows for that and other related purposes.
City councilmen Tony Barletta and Cristie Hammond did not support the new legislation from its inception, contending it was not needed and presented safety concerns.
They both voted "no" Feb. 4.
Barletta argued in October houses in the city are not constructed to withstand projectiles such as high-velocity arrows from crossbows.
"There is a big difference between firing off a shotgun and firing off an arrow as far as what it will go through," Barletta said at the time.
Under the new ordinance, a person who has secured written permission from the Pickerington Police Chief "may fire appropriate firearms or appropriate bows and arrows."
The ordinance limits use of the specific weaponry "for the purpose of killing vermin such as rats, foxes, groundhogs, raccoons, skunks and similar other animals which damage property or crops."