By Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States
On June 14, HB 5360 (Environmental Quality and Conservation Programs), which includes expanded allowances for Sunday archery hunting for deer on private lands, was signed into law by Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy.
In 2015, the Connecticut Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus championed the first lessening of restrictions on Sunday hunting, as they spearheaded the passage of a bill that allowed for Sunday hunting for deer with archery tackle on private lands. However, provisions in the 2015 legislation only granted such allowances in deer management zones that had been deemed overpopulated by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). At the time, 11 of 13 deer management zones in the state met that criteria. This legislation removes those stipulations, allowing Sunday bow hunting for deer on private property throughout the state, provided the hunter obtains written permission from the landowner and does not hunt within 40 yards of a blazed hiking trail.
This expansion of Sunday hunting will fundamentally increase private property owners’ freedom to choose how to manage their land and its natural resources, and will provide an additional adaptive management tool for the DEEP to effectively manage wildlife resources within the state. Additionally, these expanded allowances will result in increased economic activity for the state and will increase access to the resource for Connecticut’s 21,000 archery hunters.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?