JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT AUTHORIZING SUNDAY BOW HUNTING OF DEER ON PRIVATE PROPERTY THROUGHOUT THE STATE.
Disclaimer: The following Joint Favorable Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Sen. Eric C. Berthel, 32nd Dist Rep Craig C. Fishbein, 90th Dist.
Sen. Heather B. Somers 18th Dist Rep. Kurt Vail, 52nd Dist.
REASONS FOR BILL:
Current law only allows for Sunday deer hunting with a bow and arrow throughout the state in overpopulated deer management zones. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have identified thirteen deer management zones in Connecticut. The bill seeks to provide an equal opportunity for all sportsmen in the state in regards to Sunday deer hunting with a bow and arrow by expanding the area where such hunting is permitted to private land throughout the state.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Bill Buckbee, Representative, 67th District;
The law prohibiting hunting on Sunday is a remnant of a bygone era. Sundays as a day to bow hunt deer would give the hunting population more time to help decrease the uncontrollable deer population.
Keith Cagle, Chairman, Connecticut Conservatory Advisory:
It is time to allow Sunday hunting in all zones in Connecticut on private land. The initial success of the first Sunday hunting regulations should be testimony enough that Sunday hunting in Connecticut works. State biologists should determine the particular regulations
they see fit for the entire state when it comes to Sunday hunting.
Patrick Lefemine, United Bowhunters of Connecticut, Citizen's Advisory Committee to DEEP:
The Sunday bow hunting authorized three years ago worked and provided more opportunity for hunters while reducing deer populations. There have been no safety issues and no reported conflicts since enacted. State expansion of Sunday hunting should include these items:
1. The population can support one additional day for archery hunters
2. The northern border location of these zones would attract more out of state hunters.
Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association
Wildlife crop damage continues to be a serious problem facing Connecticut agriculture resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop damage each year. Therefore, Connecticut Farm Bureau supports the actions contained in HB No. 5358, HB No. 5366 and SB No.348 to expand hunting opportunities for Black Bear, Deer and Coyote.
The Environment Committee received over 60 similar letters asking Sunday bow hunting to continue.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Diana S. Urban, Representative, 43rd District;
Sunday is a day for family. It is also a day to ride in the woods without fear of errant arrows or wounded deer. Hard data on expansion of Sunday hunting should be reviewed before making a policy change that impacts approximately 1% of the population that hunts and the 99% of the population that doesn't.
Priscilla Feral, President, Friends of Animals
The erosion of the ban on Sunday hunting to cater to an ever-shrinking minority of CT hunters is something the Environment Committee should be ashamed of. Giving deer on private property one day of relief from being terrorized is the least the state can do.
Annie Hornish, Connecticut Senior State Director, The Humane Society of the United States
Expanding opportunities for Sunday hunting will jeopardize public safety and diminish outdoor opportunities for non-consumptive users. Further, and contrary to myths, expansion of Sunday hunting will neither reduce risk of Lyme disease in humans nor reduce the deer population in any lasting or significant way.
Karen R. Laski, Board Member, CT Votes for Animals
The science is clear that expanding deer hunting by any means will not decrease the size of the herd, have no impact on the transmission of Lyme disease and can often have grisly results. Bow hunting is extremely cruel with a wounding rate from 18% to 50%. The over 90% of non-hunting Connecticut residents have a right to one day a week where they do not have to fear harm from a stray arrow or be subjected to sights of wounded wildlife.
Chris M Marino, Secretary, Northwest CT Sportsman's Council (NWSC)
Taking management out of DEEP's hands with this bill will only make a bad situation worse in the future. Connecticut cannot afford to increase the deer hunter harvest in these zones by adding unrestricted Sunday hunting.
The Environment Committee received over 140 pieces of testimony against Sunday bow hunting.
Reported by: Steve Smith / Pam Bianca