Archive | November, 2012

Folks pushing for urban deer hunting in Cape Girardeau seem surprised that so many citizens are against it.  What’s surprising, really, is that some city officials failed to think about all the disadvantages: the potential for public controversy, public safety issues, the wounding and crippling of deer, the problem of unretrieved and arrow-struck deer, low efficiency rates, and various humane concerns.

     Bow hunting results in crippling rates from 40 – 60 percent (Gregory 2005, Nixon et al. 2001, Moen 1989, Cadaver 1988, Boydston and Gore 1987, Langenau 1986, Gladfelter 1983, Stormer et al. 1979, Downing 1971).  If we fail to repeal the city council’s bow hunting ordinance, we WILL have wounded deer coming into our yards.  Surely this is NOT the kind of town we want.

Even though arrows travel about one tenth as fast as bullets, they are able to inflict deeply penetrating wounds. Why? Physics may help us to answer this question.

With any projectile weapon, damage to tissues depends on the projectile’s momentum. We remember that momentum equals mass times velocity. More weight, more momentum; more speed, more momentum.

On the other hand, once a projectile enters the body, its ability to penetrate tissue is inversely proportional to its “force of drag.” High force of drag, less penetration; low force of drag, deeper penetration.

In fact, force of drag increases exponentially with increased velocity. Compared with a bullet, an arrow’s momentum (its ability to cause harm) derives more from mass, less from velocity. Since arrows travel about ten times more slowly, drag is 100 times less than for a bullet.

Of course, many variables determine accident severity. An understanding how arrows are capable of inflicting deeply penetrating wounds is one more reason to vote against bow hunting in Cape Girardeau.

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