Somewhere, Robert Frost is shaking his head.
Take a drive through town and you will see Bethlehem is in the midst of a growth spurt.
Plenty of new homes are cropping up in all corners of town. If there’s a patch of land that hasn’t been developed just yet, chances are there’s a realtor’s sign marking that plot’s real estate potential.
Longtime residents of Old Delmar, as people have come to call it recently, are no stranger to the occasional visit from deer. We don’t have as many farms and wooded areas as we did a generation ago, but the wildlife that once inhabited those areas are still hanging on. And, as they do, they’ve been pushed out into the open. Take a look at the Kenwood corridor east of the cemetery.
Delmar resident Marie Capone wrote to us with concerns over recent considerations from Town Hall that would allow frustrated residents to match with area bow hunters to take away the deer.
Capone asks valid questions about the logistics involved with permitting such action. Yes, bow hunting has occurred in more rural areas of town, where the woods were acres thick and there was little threat of harming residents. But, from the sounds of it, we’re talking about more immediate locations of town, and that draws more concern for safety.
Frankly, the idea of hunters being permitted to hunt in town is disconcerting at the least. Regardless of what steps are taken ahead of time to address the expertise of the hunter in question, shooting a high-velocity projectile in the middle of town presents a margin for error that is unacceptable.
With Capone’s list of questions to Town Hall, we present an additional question. What necessitates this kind of action that could potentially cause harm to neighboring residents?
The newest factor in this scenario is the development of new homes. The proximity of these new homes, a few minutes commute to downtown Albany, and equally as close to rural America, is a big selling point. Trees that are decades old provide a nice canopy for shade, and perhaps adds a bit more character than the stripped down subdivisions with newly planted trees. Of course, with such natural amenities comes something else: Nature.
If you want to be close to nature, you have to be willing to accept it as well. Yes, deer will eat at your gardens. Yes, they cross the street with little regard to on-coming traffic. And, yes, they are a contributing factor to the spread of Lyme Disease. There are ways to deter wildlife from your gardens, the speed limit in town is slow enough for you to react and the death of one or two deer will not stop the threat.
The last argument from the other side may be that hunters need the property owner’s permission. And, that was true before. Point is, residents should be able to enjoy their own backyards without having to fear of a stray arrow coming from their neighbor’s tree house.
Frost’s quote about fences and good neighbors needs to be amended.