An anti-hunting group opposing the planned urban bowhunt for deer in Cape Girardeau, Mo. has successfully blocked the opening of this year’s scheduled hunt by collecting enough signatures to challenge the approved city ordinance by a referendum vote.
As reported in The Aug. 16 Archery Wire, the Cape Girardeau City Council approved the Urban Deer Hunting Ordinance on its third reading in mid-July, after amending the original bill to include several safety measures. Soon thereafter, a group called Keep Cape Safe began circulating a petition to gather the signatures necessary to block implementation of the ordinance.
The first Cape Girardeau urban bowhunt was scheduled to begin this coming Saturday, Sept. 15.
On Friday, Sept. 7, the Cape Girardeau City clerk announced the opposing group gathered 3,911 signatures of legally registered voters, well beyond the minimum of the 2,446 necessary to qualify the measure for ballot.
Under statute, the council has 30 days to repeal the ordinance or the issue will be placed before voters in the city’s first-ever referendum. Action on the matter will be taken at the regular Oct. 1 council meeting, according to a release from the city’s public information office. In the interim, the challenged ordinance has been suspended.
City officials estimate a special election would cost the taxpayers of this Southeastern Missouri city of 38,000 about $25,000. The cost to add the referendum to a ballot in a regularly scheduled election would be about $15,000, according to the Southeast Missourian newspaper. Because the deadline for the issue to be placed on the November 6 General Election ballot has passed, the next scheduled election would be April 2, 2013.
Stephen Stigers, frontman for Cape Friends of Wildlife, the parent group for Keep Cape Safe, claims an urban bowhunt would threaten human safety and it was never his intent to cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars.
“A lot of us think (bowhunting’s) inhumane, but even more people than that are concerned about their own safety and their children’s safety and their pet’s safety,” Stigers told the local newspaper in August.