We received this gut-wrenching personal testimony from a Cedar Rapids resident whose horrific first-hand experience with urban bow hunting has left us speechless.
It is especially upsetting due to the fact that false information regarding bowhunting complaints in nearby communities has been making the rounds in Iowa City — including claims that there has never been ANY complaints about bowhunting in Coralville and Cedar Rapids.
I live on Linden Terrace SE in Cedar Rapids, which is near Bever Park, where many deer live. We have coexisted peacefully for decades, without problems. I would like to warn the good people of Iowa City about some of the horrors I have witnessed.
The first horror I encountered was a deer running across the street right in front of me while I was walking my dog, with a bloody arrow sticking out of its neck. It was obviously terrified and in pain. I had no idea there were hunters near where I was walking, until two of them ran out of the woods.
After that incident, I checked with the city and learned that all bow hunters are supposed to carry licenses with them, which any neighborhood resident can ask to see. I also learned that hunters are supposed to hunt alone, rather than in pairs or groups. So the guys chasing the wounded deer were in violation of the ordinance.
We live on a cul de sac, so it is easy to spot cars that are not typically in the neighborhood. For a number of days, there was an older, beat-up car parked with Wisconsin plates parked there, on and off. I finally asked the police to check it out, because there appeared to be a man sleeping in it. Turned out it was a guy with a domestic violence warrant out for his arrest. He had been hunting in Bever Park (a violation of the ordinance), putting the deer in his trunk, and taking them somewhere. Made me think twice about asking strangers to see their licenses.
By the way, hunting licenses are only issued to Cedar Rapids residents, so that was another violation for the guy from Wisconsin.
Then there was a 17 year old kid from Palo who shot and killed a deer near dusk on Halloween, while there were children trick-or-treating! It dropped dead in our next-door neighbor’s driveway, and he cut up so it would fit in the trunk of his car, leaving blood and entrails on the driveway that children stepped over to get their candy. They thought it was a Halloween prank. How scary is it that he was shooting arrows with children on the street? The city told me that Halloween is not specifically mentioned in the ordinance, but they had hoped hunters would use good sense. Obviously, not!
One evening, we noticed a hunter dragging a dead deer down the sidewalk with a rope around its neck. He had parked his pickup truck in the driveway of the house directly across the street from us. He had shot it by standing in the bed of his truck, with his back to the window. Some of the arrows ended up in our front yard, very near our house. Fortunately, our dog was not out there at the time.
One of the rules is that hunters must use a deer stand. My husband and I confronted him, he apologized and left, but said he had hit another deer that he had not yet found. I noted his license plate number, and called the DNR. The next day, an officer came out to survey the situation, and he told me how shocked he was that the guy who had violated the ordinance was one of the instructors in the Urban Deer Hunt program! So if he was violating the rules, it was not surprising that other hunters were, as well.
We have had numerous guys ring our door bell and ask if they could use our trees as deer stands. The answer is always NO. But they run through our yard when tracking deer, which they are not supposed to do.It is very unnerving to see an armed stranger in one’s yard.
I contacted the DNR numerous times with my concerns. Each time, they found violations of the ordinance. I also wrote a letter to the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the CR City council outlining my concerns.
I’m sorry to learn that Iowa City has approved bow hunting within the city limits.