Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6034

Title:

AN ACT AUTHORIZING BOW AND ARROW HUNTING ON CERTAIN PRIVATE PROPERTY ON SUNDAYS.

Vote Date:

3/25/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/20/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

REASONS FOR BILL:

To allow for Sunday hunting with a bow and arrow on private lands as a white-tailed deer population management measure.

Substitute Language: Strike Section 1 from the bill, lines 1-93.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Robert J. Klee, Commissioner, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Passage of the bill will allow DEEP to further advance science-based management of Connecticut's deer population and wildlife habitats. Sunday hunting is a proven measure in 42 states to achieve wildlife management objectives and a safe and effective tool for overseeing deer populations. Although safety is not an issue, DEEP supports the landowners' right to decide who recreates on their properties, so this provision will allay the public safety perception of some outdoor recreationalists. Lastly, Sunday bow hunting provides significant economic benefits without compromising the safety or interests of other outdoor enthusiasts.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Representative Charles J. Ferraro, 117th District.

The Sunday ban on bow hunting is unfair and anachronistic. In the many states where it is approved, Sunday bow hunting has been demonstrated to be a successful tool in species management. Overpopulation is bad for the environment; repealing the ban is good for the environment. Finally, in today's uber-hectic world, a two-day weekend in which hunters can enjoy their life style is one of the few brief moments families get to spend together.

Robert T. Crook, Director/Lobbyist, Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen.

Hunting is the only proven population management technique available for deer, so Connecticut's continued adherence to this so-called Blue Law, has resulted in an increasing deer population and a decreasing hunter population. Connecticut hunters should not be treated differently from their fellow hunters in the other states where bow hunting on Sunday is allowed. Sunday bow hunting supports the hunters, raises revenue for the state through increased participation, and achieves the wildlife management objectives.

David Sutherland, Director of Government Relations, The Nature Conservancy.

Historically, deer populations were controlled by wolves, humans, and limitations of food supply. The eradication of wolves, the decreasing numbers of hunters and difficulties of hunting in many residential areas have allowed deer herds to increase dramatically. Although recreational hunting alone will not sufficiently address the deer problem, the measure proposed by this bill will at least lessen it.

Tyler Archer, Fisheries Program Lead, Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE/Save the Sound).

Hunting is a major recreational activity in Connecticut and the millions of dollars the thousands of hunters spend annually support conservation efforts, promote job growth and business opportunities, and generate tax revenue for the state.

Bruce Tolhurst, Marlboro, CT.

Bow hunting, a recreational sport enjoyed by sportsmen, should not be the only recreational activity prohibited on Sunday. There is no doubt that bow hunting for deer on private land is the most effective management program DEEP currently employs. Allowing Sunday hunting will extend the season and expand management control by allowing DEEP to add 18 more days of hunting in areas where the deer herd is deemed too large.

Dale May, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Hampton, CT.

There is overwhelming evidence that overabundant deer populations have a devastating impact on natural ecosystems and that intensive hunting programs stabilize deer herds, allowing native plants and animals to recover. HB 6034 offers a well-regulated and ecologically sound process to help balance deer populations with their habitat.

Edward Parker.

The well documented problems with an excessive population of white-tailed deer in Connecticut include deer vehicle collisions, property and crop damage, tick borne disease, and damage to the health and diversity of the forest ecosystem. The solution to resolving the problem is straightforward. As the bill proposes, provide archery hunters the opportunity to harvest more deer and the deer population will decline.

The Conservation Advisory Council.

Many areas in the state exceed the DEEP ecological carrying capacity of deer. This bill will help the DEEP biologists to achieve their 20 deer per square mile goal which will result in a healthy herd, limit predators, and keep the State green regeneration growth. The bill only allows hunting on private lands and does not affect State land use or administer more tags for deer harvest. It simply provides more opportunity, 16 Sundays to be exact, for hunters to be successful.

Bruce Conroy, Wallingford, CT.

The current overpopulation of white-tail deer is causing overgrazing, which is impacting other wildlife species that rely on the same food sources. The restriction of 40 yards from blazed hiking trails should be deleted because it is vague and unnecessary and because it will force many landowners that hunt to close access to their properties to hiking traffic.

James Bradbury, Moosup, CT.

This bill concerns hunting on private land and has nothing to do with people's enjoyment of public parks and state forests. The following should be deleted from the bill: “Conduct such hunting only in deer management zones determined by DEEP to be overpopulated and only in accordance with and pursuant to the wildlife management principles and practices established by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”.

Mark N. Clavette, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Tolland, CT.

Sunday hunting in certain zones designated by the DEEP is a concession to political realities, but not preferable to hunting on a statewide basis. If the hunting regulations focus on the sport only in terms of managing wildlife species, it raises the specter that hunting may be restricted in the future if a clear management need can no longer be demonstrated. Hunters like to hunt for a natural, organic, green, healthy meat resource that cannot be duplicated. Hunters hunt to be part of a hunting heritage and want the challenge of matching their skills with that of their prey.

The following sportsmen, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts support removing the Sunday bow hunting ban so that they can hunt more than one day a week, feed their families, and enjoy a day outdoors with family members:

The Connecticut Waterfowl Association (CWA)

Jesse St.Andre

Michael Salter, New Britain, CT

Cary L Robinson

Richard LeClair

Tom Zeimet

Pat LeFemine, President, Bowsite.com

Roy Downey, Higganum CT

Kevin A. Bryson

Andrew Grew, Waterford, CT

Chris Barnhart

Elana A. Bertram, Esq.

The following members of the public support the bill because not being able to hunt on Sundays, as the existing law is written, is an infringement on the rights of property owners:

Jim Stowe, White Tail Solutions,LLC, Terryville, CT

Justin Elza, Colchester, CT

Kris Menegazzo, Bridgeport, CT

Monica Menegazzo, Bridgeport, CT

Eduardo Menegazzo, Bridgeport, CT

Ed Menegazzo Jr., Bridgeport, CT

Smoothie Jonez, Windsor Locks, CT

Tim Morris, Manchester, CT

Rich Balestrieri, Monroe, CT

Herb Sobanski Jr., President, Connecticut Fur Harvesters Association

James Crook, Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen

Chas Catania, Sherman, CT

Connor Smith, Stamford, CT

Chris M. Marino, Secretary, NWCSC, Goshen, CT

Bob Maguda, Plantsville, CT

Aili McKeen, Wallingford, CT

Vito A D'Aiuto, Shelton, CT

David Bochan, East Hampton, CT

Jon D'Arino, Portland, CT

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Annie Hornish, CT State Director, HSUS

The Society opposes the bill for the following reasons:

● Sunday hunting on private land is a slippery slope to allow Sunday hunting on all lands.

● Sunday hunting won't help DEEP 'mange' deer numbers or resolve conflicts.

● Sunday hunting will not reduce Lyme disease risk.

● The Bill creates a loophole for poachers.

● The bill is not a property rights issue.

● Bow-hunting is inhumane.

● Expansion of hunting opportunities does not make economic sense.

The following members of the public oppose the bill because 'bow hunting is inhumane' (high crippling rate) and because they 'want their one day of peace in the woods':

Sherrill Jones, Tolland, CT

Toni Rishar, Stamford, CT

Sue Kautz, RN, CT State Council, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

Susan B. Linker, Bloomfield, CT

Sherry Wernicke, CT State Council, HSUS

Rosamund Downing, District Leader, CT District Leader, HSUS

Robert Yaman, New Haven, CT

Monica Marut, New Britain, CT

Patricia Harmon, CT District Leader, HSUS

Patricia Licea, New Haven, CT

Paul Seroka, Stamford, CT

Peter Hermann

Marla Shiller, Manchester, CT

Marlene Wilhelm, Windsor, CT

Mira Alicki, Middletown, CT

Julie M. Stankiewicz, Manchester, CT

Karen Jones, New Milford, CT

Karin Barth, Mystic, CT

Kathryn Loomis, New Haven, CT

Karen Laski, Manchester, CT

Neil Hornish, Granby, CT

Nancy Decrisantis

Ralph L. Hasbany, Branford, CT

Ron DeGray

Wendy Horowitz, New Haven, CT

Sarah Rosato

Sally Westcott, Bloomfield, CT

Leslie Bruzik, Stamford, CT

Julia Caruk, District Leader, HSUS

Jane and Anthony Ciarlone, Branford, CT

Janet FitzGerald, Greenwich, CT

Jamila HadjSalem, Stafford, CT

Jack Kealey

Eva Magnuszewski, New Britain, CT

Emily J. Wasley, Plainville, CT

David Beskind, Hartford, CT

Debera Delgatto, Greenwich, CT

Deborah McKeown, Seymour, CT

Cynthis Mulheam, Southington, CT

Katie Haggerty

Cheryl Lipson, Woodbridge, CT

Catrin Frolich, Norwalk, CT

Carolyn Steigmeier, Stamford, CT

Benjamin H. Teford, Manchester, CT

Beverlee Bartha, Northford, CT

Ava Fiore, Enfield, CT

Anna Zyla, New Britain, CT

Reported by: Madeline Grabinski

Date: April 1, 2015