The Facts - Straight Up


The bill mentioned below was from the 2010-2011 legislative session.

Militant Hunt Groups Mislead Regarding Bill Provisions

In response to mainstream concerns, proponents play word games with technical language, or make up legislative provisions out of whole cloth.

When asked, “Isn’t 150 feet too close” to homes, proponents respond: “The homeowner’s permission is required.” At 150', that is technically true. At 151', however, and as confirmed by New Jersey’s Office of Legislative Services, it is not.

Similarly, the militant New Jersey Outdoor Alliance tells concerned citizens that bow hunters will “shoot away” from houses. The history of violations, including shooting at and through houses, belies what would occur in practice.

S1181 Fact Sheet (Click here for a printable fact sheet.)

  • S1181 reduces the 450’ home safety buffer to a mere 151’ - without the homeowners permission.

  • Discharge of Firearms and Bows: For bows and firearms, New York State requires a 500’ buffer near homes and schools. (See, New York DEC General Hunting Regulations, 2009.)

  • Broadhead arrows are constructed of two to four sharp, razor-blade tips. Their purpose is to cause severe bleeding. Broadheads inflict gaping wounds; targeted animals die of hemorrhage.

  • Under product names “Rage,” “Nightmare,” “Grim Reaper,” “After Shock,” and “Wac ‘Em,” broadhead arrows are sold over the internet.

  • The weapon range exceeds proposed safety distance. Hunter publications suggest a conservative range of 50-60 yards, or 180'. (Martin Archery: “The Facts About Archery.”) Bow websites cite “kids” shooting as far as 500’.

  • An arrow travels an average of 184 miles per hour, or 270 feet per second. (Martin Archery). Bows allowed in New Jersey include: compound, recurve, or long.

  • The New Jersey Fish and Game Council will approve archaic, dangerous crossbows for deer hunting (all hunters) beginning in the 2009-2010 deer seasons.

  • Bow hunting is exceptionally cruel, inflicting maximum tissue, tendon, muscle and nerve damage. Dozens of scientific studies show that bow hunting yields more than a 50 percent wounding rate.

“The rule of thumb has long been that we should wait 30 to 45 minutes on heart and lung hits, an hour or more on a suspected liver hit, eight to 12 hours on paunch hits, and that we should follow up immediately on hindquarter and other muscle hits, “to keep the wound open and bleeding.” - Fins and Feathers

“For a bow hunter to easily recover a wounded deer, the blood loss must be extensive. A deer will have to lose at least 35 percent of its total blood volume for the hunter to recover it rapidly.” - Deer and Deer Hunting

Into the Weeds: Shooting from an elevated position.

Hoping to muddy the waters, and to obscure the fact that dangerous, frequently errant projectiles do not belong near children and companion animals, bow hunting groups claim that the bill was amended to limit shooting from an elevated position, down onto the deer. For anyone who knows bow hunting, this claim is absurd:

  • An arrow-wounded deer flees, sometimes for hours, or days, or even a week, with or without, the hunter in pursuit. While the initial shot may be from a tree stand, the follow-up shots certainly are not, and are beyond the hunter's control. Please review the below statement from the Texas Wildlife and Parks Department.

  • Soaring wounding rates - as high as 50 percent - are inherent to bow hunting. Tracking the wounded animal, and the blood trail, is part and parcel of the described fun. The number of bow shots required to kill a deer can reach fifteen. (See Bow Report”) The stricken deer ranges widely, and so does the hunter. To claim a single shot is chicanery, at complete odds with the nature of bow hunting, wounding, and tracking. The hunt lobby is asserting that before every shot, an excited hunter will climb into a tree, or onto an “elevated position,” as the wounded deer flees in panic and pain - near houses, children, companion animals, across roads and property lines.

  • S1181 does not require hunters to use tree stands, or to shoot downward, at 151'. Shooting from an elevated position does not deter accidents. (See “Accidents Do Happen.”)

S1181 places the onus on parents and other residents - for a strictly recreational purpose. Children, and companion animals, wander. Currently, we take their safety for granted. In this most densely populated state, and before the commercially-motivated “hunter access” campaign, New Jersey's safety buffer for bows was, and remains, 450'. New York stipulates a 500' safety zone for bows and guns - for a reason.


Neither bill has anything to do with reducing deer numbers. In fact, the opposite effect is likely.

In 2006, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department confirmed that bow hunting is neither efficient nor humane:

“Archery: [P]ublic deer hunt data suggests that hunter success is usually much lower with this method compared to firearms hunting. Additionally, archery hunting is commonly perceived to result in higher wounding losses and increased travel distances before deer succumb to their injury (Kilpatrick and Walter 1999). This could lead to possible conflicts with nearby residents and should be considered prior to employing this technique. (“Deer Management Within Suburban Areas.” Texas Parks and Wildlife Department April 2006.)