A bill authorizing Sunday hunting of deer with a bow and arrow or crossbow on private property in Connecticut passed its Senate Wednesday and is headed to the governor’s desk.
Connecticut is currently one of 11 states that doesn’t allow Sunday hunting. The governor is expected to sign the bill, according to sources.The new law will go into effect Oct. 1, 2015. Bowhunting season on private lands begins September 15 and ends December 31.
According to ctnewsjunkie.com, the bill the Senate passed on a 28-8 vote and allows bow and arrow hunting in 11 of the state’s 13 deer management zones. The 11 zones drawn by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) include 134 of Connecticut’s 169 towns.
According to DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen, the state’s deer population remains unmanageable, with a current population estimated at 120,000 deer with 7,000 deer-vehicle accidents per year in the state.
Supporters of the bill say they hope that legalized Sunday hunting will reduce this population, as well as the related vehicular accidents, Lyme disease contractions, ecological damage, and other negative effects of the overabundance of deer.
“The DEEP believes that there’s an overpopulation of deer,” Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, said. “This is a mechanism they need to control the deer population. The optimum number is 20 deer per square mile — in some places there are estimates of 80 deer per square mile.”
A 2010 report commissioned by the Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance, the Connecticut Coalition to End Lyme Disease, and the Connecticut Audubon Society illustrates the economic consequences of such overpopulation — according to the report, overabundance costs Fairfield County towns over $170 million annually in Lyme disease-related health care costs, car repairs, and landscaping.
Aside from side-stepping the negative effects of overpopulation, the prerogative of senators siding with the bill seemed to be focused on families who depend on Sunday hunting for food.
“In my area of the state, where many people hunt for the food they put on the kitchen table, this would provide an important mechanism for people to feed their families,” Osten said. “We consider it a very important piece and mechanism for what people do on their own private property.”
Individuals and organizations who have lobbied against the bill over the years include the Connecticut Humane Society and various other animal rights activists, many of whom believe that bow and arrow hunting is inhumane to humans and animals alike.
The bill passed the House on a 113-32 vote last week.
(Story courtesy of ctnnewsjunkie.com)
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