Private Property Qualification for Deer Hunting
It is axiomatic of everything Green Fire does that landowners determine what is allowed on their properties. The corollary of that axiom is that landowners will have to participate in deer management, including population control, in order to achieve the goals of healthy forests, healthy wildlife, and healthy people.
Not all properties where deer damage landscaping plants, gardens, or forest understory can be hunted safely and effectively. And the number of qualified, respectful archers is finite. In order to manage hunts to best effect, Green Fire 1) qualifies properties or clusters of adjacent properties before assigning an archer group to hunt and 2) encourages landowners to contribute to productive harvests.
• “It shall be unlawful for any person to shoot an arrow from a bow in a manner that can be reasonably expected to result in the impact of the arrow upon the property of another without permission from the owner, fee holder or tenant of the property on which the arrow is expected to impact.” (Fairfax County Code, Chapter 6, Article 4)
• A hunter is prevented by Virginia trespass law from entering a property to hunt or to track and retrieve deer without permission of the landowner (includes tenants). Since the time required to request and obtain permissions may increase the chances of loosing deer that have been hit, securing permission in advance of a hunt is highly recommended. Having advanced permissions to hunt and to track and retrieve on neighboring properties is more important in qualifying properties for hunting than lot size.
• As a general rule, shot distances should be 20 yards or less. Shot distances from crossbows equipped with scopes with no possible obstructions may be acceptable up to 30 yards.
• A deer that is struck properly will usually run 100 yards or less before falling.
Safe Shooting Locations
A “safe shooting location” is a stationary place on a hunt property where
1) deer pass within 20 yards,
2) at least two acceptable shooting lanes exist from the shooting location to likely deer positions,
3) shooting lanes are clear of obstructions,
4) shooting lanes are not in line with neighboring homes or other property (e.g. car),
5) shooting lanes extend at least 30 yards from the shooting location to any property for which permission to hunt has not been obtained, and
6) any shot at a deer will have a substantial backstop (ground, stone wall, other impenetrable barrier).
In most situations a safe shooting location will be a tree stand set 10 feet or more above ground so that all shots strike earth within 30 yards of the tree. Similar shot trajectories into earth can be achieved from elevated decks, roofs, or other structures. Topography and other site features sometimes enable safe shooting locations other than from tree stands. In no case will shots above the immediate horizon be allowed.
No electrical wires of any type, elevated or otherwise, may be within twenty yards of any safe shooting location.
Trees used as safe shooting locations must be alive and of adequate diameter to safely support any archer and his gear.
Dead trees must not be at risk of falling within ten yards of safe shooting locations.
Property Qualification Criteria
The following property qualification criteria must be met. The criteria may be met for single large properties or for clusters of adjacent properties:
• One or more safe shooting locations should be available on properties for which landowners have granted permission to hunt.
• All landowners with property boundaries within 100 yards of a property where hunting will be conducted will be notified prior to commencement of hunting. These neighboring property owners will be asked to grant access for hunting if their properties meet these property qualification criteria, or to grant advance permission to track and retrieve.
• Unobstructed parking for at least one archer vehicle must be designated.
• Landowners granting permission to hunt must agree to keep pets well away from safe shooting locations when archers are hunting so as to not interfere with the hunt, wasting the archer’s time.
• Landowners granting permission to hunt must be willing to accept responsibility for their own privacy, i.e, doors or windows viewable from safe shooting locations.
Applying to Green Fire
If you believe your property or you and your neighbors’ properties together satisfy the above criteria, email us at Director@GreenFireWeb.com. We will refer you to responsible, respectful archer groups. In Great Falls, ZIP 22066, we may assign archers participating in The Great Falls Hunt that is managed by Green Fire.