Many of you have heard about the recent threat to bowhunting in Columbus/Muscogee County where the city council sought to ban bowhunting in the county on less than 10 acres. That issue was supposed to be discussed at the council meeting on Tuesday, February 23, but was tabled so the city could do additional research.
While it’s only speculation, my guess is that city leaders became aware they have no authority to regulate hunting within the city or county. That authority lies solely with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. It’s certainly not the first time that a Georgia city has unsuccessfully sought to stop or limit bowhunting.
However, there is currently a bill in Georgia’s House of Representatives, HB471, that would transfer that authority and give cities/municipalities the ability to regulate archery equipment the same as they can the discharge of firearms. That would essentially give cities/counties the authority to ban bowhunting and any type of archery shooting within their borders.
HB471 was introduced on February 18 by its sponsors, Josh McLaurin (D), Wesley Cantrell (R), Angelika Kausche (D), and Miriam Paris (D). The official first reader summary of HB471 is:
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Part 5 of Article 4 of Chapter 11 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to Brady Law Regulations, so as to provide for the regulation of bows and arrows by municipal corporations; to amend Chapter 35 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to home rule powers, so as to authorize municipalities to regulate the use of bows and arrows; to provide for an exception; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
You can read the full text of the bill at this link.
Regardless of whether you live or hunt in an urban or suburban area, this bill sets an extremely bad precedent that could open the door to city-wide and even county-wide bans of not only bowhunting, but even recreational archery. Can you imagine being told you can’t shoot your bow on your own property even if it presents no danger to any neighbors? I urge ALL Georgia hunters to contact your Representative and tell them that you oppose HB471! If you need help finding the Representative for your area, you can do that at this link.