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Selectmen ban all hunting on town land

01:00 AM EDT on Monday, July 18, 2005
By C. EUGENE EMERY JR.
Journal Staff Writer

SOMERSET -- Better keep those arrows in their quivers, at least if you're on public land.

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously last week to ban all hunting on town-owned property.

It's already illegal to discharge a firearm in town, but the proposal surfaced because Vincent Camara, of 85 Sebastian St., had sought permission to hunt with a bow and arrow on 120 acres at Brayton Point Road and Route 103, acquired in 2003 from New England Power and Massachusetts Electric.

Until last week, the town had no restrictions on bow hunting.

"We thought the board was trying to encourage the use of that land as open space. In fact, some of it is being used as farming," said police Capt. John Solomito. "If you make a decision to open it to hunting, you will do it for everyone. Who knows what the qualifications of the individuals are."

Steven Moniz, chairman of the board, said Solomito "hit the nail on the head. Mr. Camara may be an impeccable hunter, but we don't know everyone's skill with bow hunting. If they miss the target, where is that arrow going to end up?"

Selectman Patrick O'Neil said he opposed the idea of hunting on town-owned land, particularly this property, because "I know people who walk back there."

"There are very powerful bows and the arrows can travel great distances at great force," said Selectwoman Eleanor Gagnon. If hunting is allowed on that property, "What about Buffington Park? What about the Elm Street conservation area? For public safety I would not be in favor of opening this."

A call to Camara's home was not returned on Friday.

Bow and arrow hunting continues to be legal on private property.

To contact Gene Emery, phone (508) 674-8401 or e-mail gemery@projo.com .

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