Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 241

    January Session, 2017

Substitute Senate Bill No. 522

Senate, March 27, 2017

The Committee on Environment reported through SEN. KENNEDY of the 12th Dist. and SEN. MINER of the 30th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT AUTHORIZING BEAR HUNTING IN CONNECTICUT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 26-86a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) (1) The commissioner shall establish by regulation adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 standards for deer and black bear management, and methods, regulated areas, bag limits, seasons and permit eligibility for hunting deer and black bear with bow and arrow, muzzleloader and shotgun, except that no such hunting shall be permitted on Sunday by any means other than with bow and arrow on private property pursuant to section 26-73, as amended by this act. No person shall hunt, pursue, wound or kill deer or black bear with a firearm without first obtaining a deer or black bear permit from the commissioner in addition to the license required by section 26-27. Application for such permit shall be made on forms furnished by the commissioner and containing such information as he may require. Such permit shall be of a design prescribed by the commissioner, shall contain such information and conditions as the commissioner may require, and may be revoked for violation of any provision of this chapter or regulations adopted pursuant thereto. As used in this section, "muzzleloader" means a rifle or shotgun of at least forty-five caliber, incapable of firing a self-contained cartridge, which uses powder, a projectile, including, but not limited to, a standard round ball, mini-balls, maxi-balls and Sabot bullets, and wadding loaded separately at the muzzle end, and "rifle" means a long gun the projectile of which is six millimeters or larger in diameter. The fee for a firearms permit shall be nineteen dollars for residents of the state and sixty-eight dollars for nonresidents, except that any nonresident who is an active full-time member of the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, may purchase a firearms permit for the same fee as is charged a resident of the state. The commissioner shall issue, without fee, a private land deer and black bear permit to the owner of ten or more acres of private land and the husband or wife, parent, grandparent, sibling and any lineal descendant of such owner, provided no such owner, husband or wife, parent, grandparent, sibling or lineal descendant shall be issued more than one such permit per season. Such permit shall allow the use of a rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader or bow and arrow on such land from November first to December thirty-first, inclusive. Deer and black bear may be so hunted at such times and in such areas of such state-owned land as are designated by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection and on privately owned land with the signed consent of the landowner, on forms furnished by the department, and such signed consent shall be carried by any person when so hunting on private land. The owner of ten acres or more of private land may allow the use of a rifle to hunt deer and black bear on such land during the shotgun season. The commissioner shall determine, by regulation, the number of consent forms issued for any regulated area established by said commissioner. The commissioner shall provide for a fair and equitable random method for the selection of successful applicants who may obtain shotgun and muzzleloader permits for hunting deer and black bear on state lands. Any person whose name appears on more than one application for a shotgun permit or more than one application for a muzzleloader permit shall be disqualified from the selection process for such permit. No person shall hunt, pursue, wound or kill deer or black bear with a bow and arrow without first obtaining a bow and arrow permit pursuant to section 26-86c, as amended by this act. "Bow and arrow", as used in this section and in section 26-86c, as amended by this act, means a bow with a draw weight of not less than forty pounds. The arrowhead shall have two or more blades and may not be less than seven-eighths of an inch at the widest point. No person shall carry firearms of any kind while hunting with a bow and arrow under this section and section 26-86c, as amended by this act.

(2) The regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section for the hunting of black bear shall: (A) Permit the taking of black bear during the first year of such hunting at a rate that does not exceed five per cent of the total black bear population in the state as of the effective date of this section, (B) provide for such taking of black bear in rural areas of the state in order to offset the relocation of black bear from densely populated areas of the state where documented interaction between humans and black bears presents identified public safety risks due to the frequency of black bear and human interaction, and (C) require the submission of a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment one year after the beginning of such black bear hunting that includes information on the number of black bear taken pursuant to such hunting, the number of licenses issued by the department to hunt such black bear and any recommendations of the commissioner for any modifications to such black bear hunting in the state.

(b) Any person who takes a deer or black bear without a permit shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars or more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not less than thirty days or more than six months or shall be both fined and imprisoned, for the first offense, and for each subsequent offense shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars or more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or shall be both fined and imprisoned.

Sec. 2. Section 26-86b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

The commissioner shall issue tags to be attached to the carcass of any deer or black bear killed under the provisions of sections 26-82 and 26-86a to 26-86c, inclusive, as amended by this act, which tag shall be immediately attached to such deer or black bear and remain affixed until such carcass is dressed and butchered and packaged for consumption. Each person so taking deer or black bear shall, within twenty-four hours, report such kill to the commissioner on a form furnished by him.

Sec. 3. Section 26-86c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

No person may hunt deer, black bear or small game with a bow and arrow under the provisions of this chapter without a valid permit issued by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection pursuant to this section or section 26-86a, as amended by this act, for persons hunting deer or black bear with bow and arrow under private land deer and black bear permits issued free to qualifying landowners, or their husbands or wives, parents, grandparents, lineal descendants or siblings under that section. The fee for such bow and arrow permit to hunt deer, black bear and small game shall be forty-one dollars for residents and one hundred thirty-five dollars for nonresidents, or nineteen dollars for any person twelve years of age or older but under sixteen years of age, except that any nonresident who is an active full-time member of the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, may purchase a bow and arrow permit to hunt deer, black bear and small game for the same fee as is charged a resident of the state. Permits to hunt with a bow and arrow under the provisions of this chapter shall be issued only to qualified applicants therefor by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, in such form as said commissioner prescribes. Applications shall be made on forms furnished by the commissioner containing such information as he may require and all such application forms shall have printed thereon: "I declare under the penalties of false statement that the statements herein made by me are true and correct." Any person who makes any material false statement on such application form shall be guilty of false statement and shall be subject to the penalties provided for false statement and said offense shall be deemed to have been committed in the town in which the applicant resides. No such application shall contain any material false statement. On and after January 1, 2002, permits to hunt with a bow and arrow under the provisions of this chapter shall be issued only to qualified applicants who have successfully completed the conservation education bow hunting course as specified in section 26-31 or an equivalent course in another state.

Sec. 4. Subsection (a) of section 26-28 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) to (f), inclusive, of this section, the fees for firearms hunting, archery hunting, trapping and sport fishing licenses or for the combination thereof shall be as follows: (1) Resident firearms hunting license, nineteen dollars; (2) resident fishing license, twenty-eight dollars; (3) resident marine waters fishing license, ten dollars; (4) one-day resident marine waters fishing license, five dollars; (5) resident all-waters fishing license, thirty-two dollars; (6) resident combination license to fish in inland waters and firearms hunt, thirty-eight dollars; (7) resident combination license to fish in marine waters and firearms hunt, twenty-five dollars; (8) resident combination license to fish in all waters and firearms hunt, forty dollars; (9) resident combination license to fish in all waters and bow and arrow permit to hunt deer, black bear and small game issued pursuant to section 26-86c, as amended by this act, sixty-five dollars; (10) resident firearms super sport license to fish in all waters and firearms hunt, firearms private land shotgun or rifle deer and black bear permit issued pursuant to section 26-86a, as amended by this act, and permit to hunt wild turkey during the spring season on private land issued pursuant to section 26-48a, seventy dollars; (11) resident archery super sport license to fish in all waters, bow and arrow permit to hunt deer, black bear and small game issued pursuant to section 26-86c, as amended by this act, and permit to hunt wild turkey during the spring season on private land issued pursuant to section 26-48a, eighty-two dollars; (12) resident firearms super sport license to fish in all waters and firearms hunt, firearms private land shotgun or rifle deer and black bear permit, muzzleloader private land deer and black bear permit, pursuant to section 26-86 and private land permit to hunt wild turkey during spring season pursuant to section 26-48a, eighty-four dollars; (13) resident firearms super sport license to fish in all waters and firearms hunt, migratory bird conservation stamp, and migratory bird harvest permit (HIP), fifty dollars; (14) resident trapping license, thirty-four dollars; (15) resident junior trapping license for persons under sixteen years of age, eleven dollars; (16) junior firearms hunting license, eleven dollars; (17) nonresident firearms hunting license, ninety-one dollars; (18) nonresident inland waters fishing license, fifty-five dollars; (19) nonresident inland waters fishing license for a period of three consecutive days, twenty-two dollars; (20) nonresident marine waters fishing license, fifteen dollars; (21) nonresident marine waters fishing license for a period of three consecutive days, eight dollars; (22) nonresident all-waters fishing license, sixty-three dollars; (23) nonresident combination license to firearms hunt and inland waters fish, one hundred ten dollars; (24) nonresident combination license to fish in all waters and firearms hunt, one hundred twenty dollars; (25) nonresident combination license to fish in marine waters and firearms hunt, ninety-four dollars; and (26) nonresident trapping license, two hundred fifty dollars. Persons sixty-five years of age and over who have been residents of this state for not less than one year and who meet the requirements of subsection (b) of section 26-31 may be issued an annual license to firearms hunt or to fish or combination license to fish and firearms hunt or a license to trap without fee. The issuing agency shall indicate on a combination license the specific purpose for which such license is issued. The town clerk shall retain a recording fee of one dollar for each license issued by such clerk.

Sec. 5. Section 26-73 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

Sunday shall be a closed season except for hunting deer or black bear with bow and arrow on private property and for the purpose of trapping under the provisions of this chapter. The possession in the open air on Sunday of any implement for hunting, except for bow and arrow, shall be prima facie evidence of hunting in violation of the provisions of this section. No provision of this section shall be construed so as to affect any provision of section 26-31, 26-48, 26-52 or 27-35. Artificially propagated birds designated by the commissioner may be shot on Sundays on licensed private shooting preserves subject to such regulations of the commissioner as may apply to such private shooting preserves, provided permission so to shoot has been obtained from the town or towns within which such licensed private shooting preserves are located. Any person who hunts deer or black bear on Sunday with bow and arrow on private property pursuant to this section shall: (1) Conduct such hunting only in deer or black bear management zones determined by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection 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, (2) have the written permission of the private property owner where such hunting is conducted, and (3) carry such written permission upon his or her person during the hunting. No person shall hunt with bow and arrow on Sunday on private property pursuant to this section within forty yards of a blazed hiking trail.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2017

26-86a

Sec. 2

October 1, 2017

26-86b

Sec. 3

October 1, 2017

26-86c

Sec. 4

October 1, 2017

26-28(a)

Sec. 5

October 1, 2017

26-73

ENV

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 18 $

FY 19 $

Resources of the General Fund

GF - Potential Revenue Gain

Up to 1,250

Up to 1,250

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

GF - Revenue Gain

Less than $20,000

Less than $20,000

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to establish a black bear hunting season, and applies the same fees, penalties, requirements, and restrictions to black bear hunting as exist for deer hunting.

As it is anticipated that most people who would hunt black bear already purchase sportsmen licenses, the revenue gain associated with the sale of additional bear hunting licenses is expected less than $20,000.

In FY 16, there were 39,830 deer permits sold generating $1,231,590 in revenue.

Additionally, the bill subjects violators to a fine of $250 which may result in a revenue gain to the resources of the General Fund. It is anticipated that up to 5 violations would occur, generating up to $1,250 in revenue.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to the number of licenses sold and the number of violations.

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 522

AN ACT AUTHORIZING BEAR HUNTING IN CONNECTICUT.

SUMMARY

This bill requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner to establish by regulation a black bear hunting season in Connecticut. It applies to black bear hunting the same requirements, restrictions, fees, and penalties that apply to deer hunting under existing law.

Under the bill, DEEP's bear hunting regulations must provide for management standards, methods, regulated areas, bag limits, seasons, and permit eligibility for taking black bear by bow and arrow, muzzleloader, and shotgun. They must also:

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

BLACK BEAR HUNTING

License and Permit Required

Under the bill, no one may hunt black bear in Connecticut without first obtaining a hunting license and any required permits (e.g., firearms permit, bow and arrow permit, or private land permit) from DEEP. Anyone who takes a black bear without a required permit is subject to a fine between $200 and $500 dollars, imprisonment between 30 days and six months, or both for the first offense. For a subsequent offense, a person is subject to a fine between $200 and $1,000, imprisonment up to one year, or both.

Combination Licenses include Black Bear

Under the bill, black bear may be hunted under a variety of licenses, including a firearms license. The bill expands the various combination licenses available from DEEP to include black bear hunting. For example, black bear may be hunted under a combination (hunting and fishing) license, firearms super sport license, or archery super sport license. The fees for the licenses remain unchanged from those in existing law.

Sunday Hunting

The bill allows black bear hunting on Sunday only with a bow and arrow on private land in overpopulated bear management zones, as DEEP determines.

Sunday black bear hunting (1) must be in accordance with DEEP's wildlife management principles and (2) cannot take place within 40 yards of a blazed (clearly marked) hiking trail. The hunter must have the private landowner's written permission to hunt there and carry it while hunting.

Violators commit a class D misdemeanor and are subject to a fine of up to $250, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both (CGS 26-81).

Tags and Report of Kill

The bill requires the DEEP commissioner to issue tags that a hunter must immediately attach to a black bear he or she kills. The tag must stay on the bear until the carcass is dressed, butchered, and packaged for consumption. The bill also requires a hunter to report the taking of a black bear to DEEP within 24 hours after the taking.

BACKGROUND

Related Bill

sHB 5858, reported favorably by the Environment Committee, allows the DEEP commissioner to establish and issue lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, permits, and stamps, or combinations thereof.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

18

Nay

12

(03/10/2017)

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