(CN) – A deer-control ordinance allowing residents to bow hunt within city limits did not violate a Kentucky man’s “fundamental right to be free from the risk of serious bodily harm,” the 6th Circuit ruled.
The Cincinnati-based appeals court largely upheld dismissal of William Sheffield’s lawsuit against Fort Thomas, Ky., and its officials.
The city passed a series of deer-control measures in 2006 to rein in the rampant deer population, which had increased 500-fold since 1950. The deer collided with cars, damaged landscaping and otherwise wreaked havoc on the town.
Fort Thomas adopted a three-step deer-management plan to educate the public about deer-control tactics, ban deer feeding and allow residents to hunt deer within city limits by bow and arrow.
Sheffield and his wife sued, claiming the ordinances violated their constitutional rights and were trumped by Kentucky state laws and administrative regulations.
The 6th Circuit backed the lower court’s ruling for the city in all aspects except one: the city can’t ban people from feeding deer in and around their private homes.
As for Sheffield’s claim about the dangers of bow hunting within city limits, the court said the argument lacked evidence.
“Reining in the deer population of Fort Thomas is clearly a legitimate government purpose, and it would not have been wholly irrational for the City Council to conclude that allowing arrows to be discharged within city limits would further that purpose — especially in light of the [Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’] counsel that this was the best manner of doing so,” Judge Danny Boggs wrote (emphasis in original).
Sheffield’s wife, Kelly, withdrew from the lawsuit after she was elected to the city council, whose membership she was suing.