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CASH Courier > 2005 Spring Issue

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The C.A.S.H. Courier

OPPOSE THE SUNDAY HUNTING BILLS IN CONNECTICUT

LAND TRUSTS MAY NOW HAVE TO REPAY THE PIPER WITH SUNDAY HUNTING!

By W.L. Eidolon

All over the country, land trusts have been buying up property for preservation for the past twenty years, especially in the last ten. The deals are usually made with the trust, the town, either Nature Conservancy or Trust for Public Lands (another Nature Conservancy subsidiary), the state, and sometimes the US Fish & Wildlife Service sharing in the cost of the acreage, studies, legal fees, etc. This sounds like a great idea for keeping at least some land open for wildlife and future generations of children and families, but it has its problems, especially recently.

State environmental agencies are demanding "Sunday hunting opportunities," as they call them, and the trust organizations that have taken state money are forced to open their land to hunting. They are angry! Sunday is the busiest day on open space protected by trusts. It’s the one day most families can get outdoors and enjoy the nourishing quiet of the woods. Now even Sundays are at risk, and I predict there will be legal suits brought.

For years, when I attended meetings of environmental groups I was thought the fool, because I have refused to take state money for the trust I head. It’s a small trust, but we have around three hundred acres, some right on the Long Island Sound, other acres are wooded and untouched, and we are working on another 200 acres of coastal forest.

We live and learn and I believe this is only the beginning of changes that will make obvious that "there's no free lunch," and the state agencies have a hunting constituency that they have to keep happy. Now that state and federal parks and preserves are open for hunting, the pressure is on our wildlife and on those who want to see these birds, animals and habitats protected.

This problem has to be dealt with on a state level. Get your legislators to say "NO" to trapping and to Sunday hunts on open space lands. Every creature, man and beast, deserves a sanctuary, where he or she can feel safe.

This piece took me about ten minutes to write. Isn't the future of your open space, families and wildlife worth this small bit of time? With one click you can send a letter to your state capital and be heard. Do it today.

LAND TRUST REACTION TO THE SUNDAY HUNTING BILL: NO!

By Hill Bullard

Connecticut hunting laws and regulations need to be modernized. Sunday hunting would take the one day a week that those in the majority, non-hunters, have for recreation in the out-of-doors. Fear of stray projectiles from an adjacent property even precludes people from walking their own property, except for Sundays. As we are no longer hunting to feed our families and we all have many roles in life: father mother, landowner, there is no need for seven days of hunting. Connecticut now has suburban population densities in at least part of its rural towns and we cannot escape the proximity of hunting except on Sunday.

Our land trust has made a resolution, sent to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner, requesting that the DEP pass regulations to increase the minimum acreage (now 10 acres) for hunting deer by high power rifles and regulate hunter density on such tracts. The current 10-acre minimum is far too liberal and risky (for hunters, too) and is a relic of a past era when such small plots were surrounded by buffer zones of large , 200-300 acre, farms. This needs to be changed to conform to Connecticut’s present population situation, otherwise there will continue to be accidents, fatalities, and unsafe conditions in our out-of-doors.

I have also pointed out that the DEP has "failed to put technical limits on muzzle loading rifles for deer.” The “muzzle loading” category was started years ago as a "primitive weapons" category to supplement the firearms deer hunting category. With technical improvements allowed, such as propellant pellets, weatherproof primer shielding, improved projectiles, and telescopic sights, these weapons are now ballistically indistinguishable from the 45-70 class of high power rifles. This makes them no longer "primitive," yet not subject to the 10-acre minimum for private land hunting, and allowed on most public multi use lands!"

Further, we are concerned that the DEP also allows hunting for species that are practically extinct in our state, such as the Ruffed Grouse. The DEP's introduction of turkeys [for hunting] has not helped the grouse, as their territories and foods overlap, and there is some suspicion that turkeys destroy grouse nests. All grouse hunting should be stopped.

Personally, I do not favor Sunday hunting in Connecticut. We are no longer hunting to feed our families, and we need a family day in the field, safe from worries of projectile overtravel from adjacent properties. Surely, six days is enough!

The DEP needs to find management solutions other than sport hunting for animals and birds that have become overpopulated.

Hill Bullard is president of a Connecticut land trust. The article above is from a personal opinion sent to legislators of the Environment Committee as testimony opposing 2005 Sunday Hunting bills.

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Concurring with Mr. Bullard is an executive director of another Connecticut land trust.

He stated loud and clear to the DEP that his land trust is intensively used for passive recreation all year round. He has observed that during the 4.5 months of hunting usage drops dramatically. People are simply afraid to be in an area where someone has a weapon. The DEP can tell them how safe it is, but they just don't want to take the chance, so they don't go! We have told people that have complained about hunting that they should go on Sundays since there is No Hunting on that day. The usage on Sundays during the hunting season is dramatically larger than other days. To take this day away would be unfair!

Today hunters own the woods from Monday through Saturday. The Public, all the other voters in Connecticut, only have one "danger free day," Sunday, to enjoy the woods. We think that there is a good argument that there should be more No Hunting days during the week.

It is our recommendation that you reject all seven Bills that propose Sunday Hunting and consider adding a second No Hunting Day during the week, for example, No Hunting Wednesdays. That would be much fairer to voters and tax payers.

We understand that there is a deer problem in Connecticut. Recreational hunting has not got the job done. One more day is not going to solve this problem, and one less day will not significantly increase the problem. There are better solutions to the deer overpopulation problem than recreational hunting.

 

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