By W.L. Eidolon
All over the country, land trusts have been buying up property for
preservation for the past twenty years, especially in the last ten.
The deals are
usually made with the trust, the town, either Nature Conservancy
or Trust for Public Lands (another Nature Conservancy subsidiary),
and sometimes the US Fish & Wildlife Service sharing in the cost
of the acreage, studies, legal fees, etc. This sounds like a great
idea for keeping at least some land open for wildlife and future
of children and families, but it has its problems, especially recently.
State environmental agencies are demanding "Sunday hunting opportunities," as
they call them, and the trust organizations that have taken state money
are forced to open their land to hunting. They are angry! Sunday is the
busiest day on open space protected by trusts. It’s the one day most
families can get outdoors and enjoy the nourishing quiet of the woods.
Now even Sundays are at risk, and I predict there will be legal suits
For years, when I attended meetings of environmental groups I was
thought the fool, because I have refused to take state money for the
head. It’s a small trust, but we have around three hundred acres,
some right on the Long Island Sound, other acres are wooded and untouched,
and we are working on another 200 acres of coastal forest.
We live and learn and I believe this is only the beginning of changes
that will make obvious that "there's no free lunch," and
the state agencies have a hunting constituency that they have to
Now that state and federal parks and preserves are open for hunting,
the pressure is on our wildlife and on those who want to see these
birds, animals and habitats protected.
This problem has to be dealt with on a state level. Get your legislators
to say "NO" to trapping and to Sunday hunts on open space
lands. Every creature, man and beast, deserves a sanctuary, where
he or she
can feel safe.
This piece took me about ten minutes to write. Isn't the future of your
open space, families and wildlife worth this small bit of time? With
one click you can send a letter to your state capital and be heard. Do
LAND TRUST REACTION TO THE SUNDAY HUNTING BILL: NO!
By Hill Bullard
Connecticut hunting laws and regulations need to be modernized. Sunday
hunting would take the one day a week that those in the majority, non-hunters,
have for recreation in the out-of-doors. Fear of stray projectiles from
an adjacent property even precludes people from walking their own property,
except for Sundays. As we are no longer hunting to feed our families
and we all have many roles in life: father mother, landowner, there is
no need for seven days of hunting. Connecticut now has suburban population
densities in at least part of its rural towns and we cannot escape the
proximity of hunting except on Sunday.
Our land trust has made a resolution, sent to the Connecticut Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner, requesting that the
DEP pass regulations to increase the minimum acreage (now 10 acres)
deer by high power rifles and regulate hunter density on such tracts.
The current 10-acre minimum is far too liberal and risky (for hunters,
too) and is a relic of a past era when such small plots were surrounded
by buffer zones of large , 200-300 acre, farms. This needs to be
changed to conform to Connecticut’s present population situation, otherwise
there will continue to be accidents, fatalities, and unsafe conditions
I have also pointed out that the DEP has "failed to put technical
limits on muzzle loading rifles for deer.” The “muzzle loading” category
was started years ago as a "primitive weapons" category to
supplement the firearms deer hunting category. With technical improvements
allowed, such as propellant pellets, weatherproof primer shielding, improved
projectiles, and telescopic sights, these weapons are now ballistically
indistinguishable from the 45-70 class of high power rifles. This makes
them no longer "primitive," yet not subject to the 10-acre
minimum for private land hunting, and allowed on most public multi
Further, we are concerned that the DEP also allows hunting for species
that are practically extinct in our state, such as the Ruffed Grouse.
The DEP's introduction of turkeys [for hunting] has not helped the grouse,
as their territories and foods overlap, and there is some suspicion that
turkeys destroy grouse nests. All grouse hunting should be stopped.
Personally, I do not favor Sunday hunting in Connecticut. We are no
longer hunting to feed our families, and we need a family day in the
field, safe from worries of projectile overtravel from adjacent properties.
Surely, six days is enough!
The DEP needs to find management solutions other than sport hunting
for animals and birds that have become overpopulated.
Hill Bullard is president of a Connecticut land trust. The article above
is from a personal opinion sent to legislators of the Environment Committee
as testimony opposing 2005 Sunday Hunting bills.
Concurring with Mr. Bullard is an executive director of another Connecticut
He stated loud and clear to the DEP that his land trust is intensively
used for passive recreation all year round. He has observed that during
the 4.5 months of hunting usage drops dramatically. People are simply
afraid to be in an area where someone has a weapon. The DEP can tell
them how safe it is, but they just don't want to take the chance, so
they don't go! We have told people that have complained about hunting
that they should go on Sundays since there is No Hunting on that day.
The usage on Sundays during the hunting season is dramatically larger
than other days. To take this day away would be unfair!
Today hunters own the woods from Monday through Saturday. The Public,
all the other voters in Connecticut, only have one "danger free
day," Sunday, to enjoy the woods. We think that there is a good
argument that there should be more No Hunting days during the week.
It is our recommendation that you reject all seven Bills that propose
Sunday Hunting and consider adding a second No Hunting Day during the
week, for example, No Hunting Wednesdays. That would be much fairer to
voters and tax payers.
We understand that there is a deer problem in Connecticut. Recreational
hunting has not got the job done. One more day is not going to solve
this problem, and one less day will not significantly increase the problem.
There are better solutions to the deer overpopulation problem than recreational