Is a bow a firearm in Holmdel?
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Thread: Is a bow a firearm in Holmdel?

  1. #1
    Fawn Kenneth Almquist's Avatar
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    Is a bow a firearm in Holmdel?

    I'm not a hunter, but I did agree to allow a bow and arrow hunter to use my property. I received a letter from the township stating:

    ------------------------------------

    Please be advised that under our Ordinance you do not have enough acreage to hunt on your property. Our Ordinance reads:


    3-14 DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS

    3-14.1 Discharge of Firearms Prohibited in Certain Areas

    No person shall discharge a gun, weapon or any firearm within the Township except as set forth hereinafter (1976 Code &42-1; Ord. No. 85-2)

    3-14.2 Nonapplicability of Provisions

    Subsection 3-14.1 shall not be applicable to:

    a. The discharge of any gun, weapon, or firearm upon a pistol, rifle or firearm range which is under the supervision of the Township Police Department.

    b. [Various government employees] while in the performance of their official duties.

    c. The owner, tenant or lessee of a tract of land in excess of five acres while in and upon that tract.

    d. [When] controlling woodchuck or other pests, as legally defined, authorized and allowed by [the State of New Jersey]...

    ------------------------------------

    On the face of it, this ordinance would seem to cover only hunting with firearms. But according to the Holmdel Code Enforcement Officer, the appearance of the word "weapon" in the phrase "gun, weapon or any firearm" means that the ordinance applies to hunting with any weapon, even a knife. (She didn't explain how you "discharge" a knife. Since the ordinance doesn't mention hunting, one must assume that I violate the ordinance every time I chop up a carrot on my kitchen cutting board.)

    Has anybody here looked into the issue of firearms regulations being applies to bows and arrows, either in Holmdel or in other New Jersey municipalities with similar regulations? In particular, has someone tried to fight this in court, and if so with what outcome?

  2. #2
    Dominant Buck fish_hunter's Avatar
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    You need more than 5 acres in Holmdel to hunt per 3-14.1-c. If you have that you are fine to hunt as long as you have the appropriate distances between houses etc. My question to the township would be how do they know someone is hunting on your property? Is it really an official letter or is someone screwing with you?
    Last edited by fish_hunter; 04-19-2017 at 04:04 PM.
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    Dominant Buck Shaky Jake's Avatar
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    I hunt a town that has a "no discharge" ordinance. It clearly covers the discharge of any "projectile". However, the legal use of weapons for the purpose of hunting is allowed. As far as them telling you that you need 5 or more acres is their opinion of a safe amount of land. NO hunting LAW on paper makes that requirement in NJ. To fight this would be your own choice and I'm sure that you'd bear the burden of lawyers fees. Best of luck.
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    Non Typical vdep217's Avatar
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    Look into it but exception d could work in your favor. To control wood chucks and other pests as per state law

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    Dominant Buck bloodtrails's Avatar
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    A deer is certainly a pest. Hunt away.

    d. The owner, tenant or lessee, or a person with their express written, dated permission, when controlling woodchuck or other pests, as legally defined, authorized and allowed by the Hunting Regulations promulgated annually by the Division of Fish, Game and Shellfisheries, Department of Environmental Protection, State of New Jersey.
    (1976 Code § 42-2)

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    Non Typical bonefreak's Avatar
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    Their definition of a weapon includes archery, as does your definition of pests that eat your shrubs are deer!! Case solved!

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    Fawn Kenneth Almquist's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    fish_hunter: It's a genuine letter. I called the township. There is a valley between the street I am on and the next street over, so houses on the next street over can see what's happening behind my house, and I was told that one of them contacted the township.

    Shaky Jake: Holmdel could write a similar ordinance, but for whatever reason the town is instead trying to enforce a firearms ordinance as though it were an ordinance that covered all projectile weapons. The 5 acre rule does seem to be arbitrary, and the township didn't say or suggest that the hunting posed any danger.

    vdep217 & bloodtrails: I considered this, but I suspect that deer don't qualify as pests even though they do eat an aweful lot of stuff. As a practical matter, killing deer isn't an effective control strategy for an individual home owner or farmer because the animals cover too large a range and there are too many of them.

  9. #8
    Non Typical bucndoe's Avatar
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    They got you with "weapon". You have them with subsection "d" of their own code if that is the way it reads
    A bow is NEVER a firearm, but it ALWAYS is a weapon

  10. #9
    Dominant Buck briarpatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bucndoe View Post
    They got you with "weapon". You have them with subsection "d" of their own code if that is the way it reads
    A bow is NEVER a firearm, but it ALWAYS is a weapon
    this ^^^^^

  11. #10
    Dominant Buck briarpatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bucndoe View Post
    They got you with "weapon". You have them with subsection "d" of their own code if that is the way it reads
    A bow is NEVER a firearm, but it ALWAYS is a weapon
    They have a much easier time proving that a bow is a weapon (because it is) .....than you will have classifying a whitetail deer as a pest....

    I'm a betting person, and I'm betting you would lose this one in court

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