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DEEP Backs Sunday Bowhunting Bill

by Hugh McQuaid | Mar 19, 2014 9:00am
(14) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Environment, Legal

Paul J. Fusco, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Bowhunting deer on private property on Sundays would be permitted under a bill supported by Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee as a deer population control measure.

The bill aims to help manage Connecticut’s overabundant white-tailed deer population by allowing property owners to hunt deer on Sundays with bows. In written testimony, Klee said his department would prefer the bill be modified to limit the Sunday hunting to “deer management zones,” where deer have overpopulated and become destructive.

There were about 120,000 deer in the state when the department last did an estimate about five years ago, DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said. Since then the agency has been focused on regions of the state like Fairfield County, where the animals have become most problematic, he said.

“In areas with high densities, deer are causing extensive damage to ecosystems and property and elevating public health and safety risks through tick-borne illnesses and vehicle collisions. The addition of Sundays during the private land archery deer seasons would significantly increase deer harvest by increasing hunter opportunity,” Klee’s testimony read.

The department has taken a number of steps since 2000 to reduce the number of deer in the state, including increasing the number of deer that hunters are permitted to kill and adding a crossbow hunting season in January.

According to the department, Sunday hunting is an animal population control policy used in 42 states and is “one of the last remaining progressive measures designed to meet management objectives.”

“In general, DEEP believes that all individual private landowners should have the right to determine if bow-and-arrow hunting is allowed on their property on Sundays. However, DEEP would support changes to this proposal that would limit bow and arrow hunting on private lands on Sundays to only those deer management zones that have been determined to be overpopulated by deer,” the testimony read.

The bill to legalize Sunday bowhunting drew more than 700 pieces of written testimony from members of the public. Most of them were messages of support from hunters who see the current ban on Sunday hunting as an outdated law barring many people from their hobby on a day most people have off from work.

“Connecticut’s Sunday hunting ban is simply an antiquated blue law that needs to be repealed. Eighty-five percent of states in this country allow Sunday hunting, including our neighbors in N.Y. and R.I. Fishing is legal on Sundays, trapping is legal on Sundays, anyone can now buy alcohol on Sundays, so why not be able to take my child out in the woods the one day I do not have to work if I so choose to legally do so,” Paul Natoli of New Milford wrote.

Others disagreed. Peter Hood of Fairfield said no town in Fairfield County has managed to effectively reduce its deer population by encouraging hunting.

“Hunters already have six out of seven days to hunt. They represent a tiny minority of the state’s residents. This change is often justified on the basis of economic issues, but hunters are overwhelmingly outspent by residents pursuing other forms of passive or active recreation, that don’t involve killing animals,” he wrote.

Some, like Wendy Horowitz of New Haven, expressed public safety concerns.

“Connecticut residents and their children should be able to go for a walk on Sundays without worrying about being shot,” she wrote. “Please let us go for a hike without putting our lives in jeopardy.”

However, the Energy and Environmental Protection Department’s testimony said decades of research suggest bow hunting is a safe tool for managing deer populations.

“Hunting in general is a safe outdoor activity and bow hunting is extremely safe, especially for other outdoor users. Not a single non-hunter has been injured by a bow hunter since passage of the Deer Management Act in 1974,” the testimony read.

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(14) Comments

posted by: bob8/57 | March 19, 2014  11:40am

bob8/57

“Hunting in general is a safe outdoor activity…” Really? So all those people that end up shot every year are… what? Anomalies? The overwhelming majority of Ct. citizens do not hunt, and deserve at least one day out of seven free from the craven blood lust that consumes hunters as well as the
DEEP. Six days out of seven under threat of being shot is enough.

posted by: DirtyJobsGUy | March 19, 2014  2:10pm

A few years back the DEP tried to get non-hunters to buy outdoor recreation “stamps” voluntarily to help fund their wildlife functions.  A the time hunting and fishing licenses were the primary source of funding.  And today?  Almost no green anti-hunting types ponied up.  Like all lefty fancies they want somebody else to carry the load.

(Oh and wait till the coyotes and big cats start coming into more peoples back yards.  Maybe a few boars as well.  The tune will change in dainty Fairfield county)

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 19, 2014  3:23pm

Bambi has overpopulated and turned into maggots. The damage they are doing to property is in the many millions of dollar. I say we need a massive purge to get them down to the number per square mile which is reasonable.

The Courant had a story about absolute proof of a mountain lion in Massachusetts. I guess the DEEP thinks that we have an invisible force field around our atate.

Do you think they are here for the scenery or the food supply?

posted by: Atuno | March 19, 2014  3:39pm

The DEEP is totally unrealistic - landowners should not be able to do “anything” at all on their own land when it impacts neighbor(s) - this is a democracy, isn’t it?  Majority rules, doesn’t it? Since only 1% of the CT population hunt, and whether the remaining 99% are either pro or anti hunting isn’t even the issue.  If my neighbor allows 6 days of hunting, I should be able to be able to relax at least one day of a weekend without worrying about an injured animal stumbling onto my property (yes, it’s happened!) while we are having a quiet Sunday afternoon cook-out with family, kids and pets. Since CT bowhunting season begins in mid-September, late summers extend way into October at times, rendering bowhunting more dangerous than in the winter - you cannot see them in the tree-stands, even if they’re right on your property line (there are no set-backs required, not minimum acreage - in case anyone isn’t aware of this).
Unfortunately, the DEEP’s deer numbers cannot be trusted since they’re not even sure; they’ve been known to do some “fudging” when it’s needed. Lyme disease shouldn’t be an issue, either - just cannot understand supposedly intelligent people, legislators, not understanding that deer do not get the disease and that without the existence of black-legged ticks, transfer of the bacterium would be impossible.  Why not concentrate on eliminating ticks?  Therefore, one wonders why the DEEP makes it almost impossible for anyone to use the 4-poster or Damminix tubes? Of course we know why - it is their business to make sure that there is a great inventory of deer for hunters - hunting spurs reproduction, hunting license fees contribute revenues - why would they cut off their noses to spite their faces? It’s always good to have as many excuses for killing deer as one can get! One more point - do these intelligent people also believe that when deer die, all ticks also miraculously die? Of course not, they merely attach themselves to the remaining deer, to any mammals, including Homo sapiens - us!
If anyone could actually prove that a 7th day would result in more deer kills, it would be a wonder!  Most hunters would use Sundays as an alternate day, NOT an additional day.  Besides, bowhunting is merely recreational, and has never proven to be an effective deer management tool.  This year, hunters sent out a plea to their bowhunting buddies from surrounding states, asking them to support the Sunday hunting bill - seriously? However, legislators may ignore them, but what would keep them from subconsciously considering possible additional revenues for the DEEP from out-of-state hunters…just sayin’!

posted by: cnj-david | March 19, 2014  4:21pm

“Bob8./57” opines that “all those people that end up shot every year are… what? Anomalies?”.  Read the article again.  The Energy and Environmental Protection Department clearly states that not a single non-hunter has been injured by a bow-hunter since the passage of the act in 1974.  Your fear of being shot by a bow hunter is based on nothing but your disdain for hunters and your own fears.  I’m guessing that you’re probably frightened that your neighbors might possess firearms also.

posted by: dano860 | March 19, 2014  5:10pm

“Hunting in general is a safe outdoor activity and bow hunting is extremely safe, especially for other outdoor users. Not a single non-hunter has been injured by a bow hunter since passage of the Deer Management Act in 1974,” the testimony read.
Let’s put the whole statement in here.
They are talking about PRIVATE PROPERTY, that already requires a minimum number of acres, distances from roads and domiciles etc. are and have been in Ct hunting regulations forever. If you were on that property without the owners permission you would be trespassing.
Getting children out for a walk will still be able to be done, the many parks in the State will still be closed to hunting, as they are now.
The sad fact is that during hunting seasons or other times, there are darn few children out there with or without adult supervision.
When they can get the Xbox on the IPhone they might be.

posted by: Atuno | March 19, 2014  5:45pm

I posted a comment hours ago - it still hasn’t appeared - any good reason why stating the truth is not permitted?

posted by: Atuno | March 19, 2014  11:52pm

This is in response to dano860 – your statement has absolutely no valid points at all! You seem to be referring to public land.
Here are the facts:  There are NO minimum acreage requirements for bow hunting on private property!  There are no setbacks for bow hunting on private property, that’s why it is possible for a bow hunter to sit in a tree that could be right on the property line!  No one is talking about walking on someone else’s property where hunting is taking place – why would anyone be stupid enough to do that?  People are rightfully concerned about being too close to property next door where hunting is allowed, since hunters can be so close to their own property lines. Are you saying that people can’t be on their own property when hunting is taking place on adjacent property with permission?  Are they supposed to be held hostage in their own homes, not being able to feel safe outside on their OWN property while there’s killing going on next door?  Do you call that fair? The sad fact is that ALL hunting on private property can be next door to where families would love to know that they can feel safe at least one day, on Sunday!
Please get your facts straight, OK?

posted by: Atuno | March 20, 2014  12:01am

One more point: There is NO requirement for those who allow ANY hunting on their property to notify neighbors of their intentions.  This means that neighbors may never know unless they hear shots during firearm hunting seasons; since bowhunting is silent & deadly, who’d ever know?  Wouldn’t it be a simple courtesy to notify any and all neighbors that hunters with deadly weapons will be on one’s property?

posted by: Benvolio36 | March 20, 2014  8:42am

Great Idea. This is a step into the right direction to join the rest of the county in hunting on Sunday. I just hope that they don’t restrict it to land owners only.
-Responsible Hunter

posted by: dano860 | March 20, 2014  12:54pm

@ Atuno;
I have worked with DEEP on property lines for years. I have managed 155 acres for my friend for over 10 years now. The 10 acre (contiguous) requirement for a free license has been the standard we apply to being able to hunt on your own property. The 500’ requirement has been in law for as long as I have been alive.
http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2700&q=534696&deepNav_GID=1633#DLOTTERY
See Title paragraph 5, free permit for landowner and descendants.
If the landowner you have next to you does not have the proper amount of property they will have to have paid for the tags etc. I know that does not give you peace of mind but if they do not the warden should be visiting them.
We do not issue permits like candy, we are selective and do not charge as some people do.
The borders are posted and no tree stands or hunting occurs within the 500’ area of buildings or borders. Yet we have had to request many trespassers to honor the private property signage.  The few people we allow to walk the woods are aware of the seasons and wear the orange vests and hats when enjoying themselves.
It would be nice of your neighbor to inform you of their activities but that falls under the ‘nice neighbor policy’ or just figure that they will be hunting over there during the seasons it is allowed.
I had 11 acres before I moved, it bordered a State forest. It was posted too but many times we had lost hunters and hikers wander into the yard, not the field or woods, the yard. I agree many people are not courteous or respectful but good dialog can go a long way, especially if you are neighbors.
There are probably no valid points here either but I have been doing this stuff for years and know how to respect others property rights.
I would love to see a minimum number of acres and the 500’ setback applied to all forms of hunting, that is not asking too much in my book.
Increasing the size of drug free zones is another thing I’m in favor of but many think drug dealers have more rights than you and I as property owners.

posted by: Atuno | March 20, 2014  3:53pm

dano68 - How do I let you down easy, eh, without hurting your feelings too much? Maybe working with the DEEP on property lines has proven to have had a bad effect on you, have you considered that? All you need to do is look up the regs on bow hunting - there is no minimum acreage requirement and there is no setback requirement! Those apply to firearms.
Are you sure you’re talking about the state of CT????

posted by: dano860 | March 20, 2014  8:51pm

Atuno,
You are correct, I looked it them up before the last post, sorry I did not make that clear,
That sucks for people with inconsiderate neighbors.
My point was intended to be that I have had good relations with DEEP and we work hard to respect our neighbors. They allow us to hunt their property as the deer decimate their gardens. They both like what we do, it seems as though your neighbor does what they want and forgets they have neighbors.
You need to get with your State Rep. and try to change the regs with regards to bow hunting. Boundary setbacks of a 100’ are not unreasonable. Arrows are pretty useless after 150’ and brush and trees are their enemies.
As I said I try hard to be a good sportsman. I hunt and trap in Ct only but I fish in four States and have never had any problems.
You will not hurt my feelings, you do not have to let me down easy. Being demeaning and snarky only uncovers your weak side, anger solves nothing.
‘Nuf said!?

posted by: Atuno | March 21, 2014  11:12am

dano860 - regarding property lines - you claimed that they are marked!  No property lines are marked where we live unless someone happens to have a stone wall or put up a fence…most properties in CT are not marked…Our friends discovered a tree-stand on their property while walking their dogs, thankfully no one was sitting in it.  Our friends’ land is posted NO HUNTING! They have no property line markings whatsoever, they rely on good neighbors, and that trust was obviously breached because one of the neighbors allowed hunters onto their land, ending up illegally on our friends’ property.
You’re thin-skinned - nuf said?