To the Editor:
Brendan Crowley’s recent CT Examiner story, “Connecticut Lawmakers Vote Down Bill Allowing Hunting of Nuisance Black Bears” is inaccurate and misleading
To begin with, CT Examiner reports that the revised bill was limited to permits for anyone where “farming is their primary source of income.” Au contraire – the bill makes no mention of income whatsoever. Instead, it describes permitting to those who incur expenses, a vast difference. I’m a hobby farmer and I’ve experienced predation. I’ve also incurred significant expenses in my hobby — buying a tractor, putting in fencing. This bill should not apply to me.
Next, Mr. Crowley fails to mention Connecticut’s arsenal of wildlife management rights, all of which are applicable to farmers, and others. Hunting seasons (Conn. Agencies Regs Sec 26-66-3), trapping seasons (Conn. Agencies Regs Sec. 26-66-7), permits to take wildlife damaging crops. (CGS Sec. 26-47(a)), license to control nuisance wildlife (CGS Sec. 26-47(b)) including special permitting, deer damage permit (CGS Sec. 26-82) and most notably in this instance, the DEEP Commissioner’s power to “destroy” wildlife detrimental to crops or livestock or causing severe property damage (CGS Sec. 26-3). So, when wildlife advocates claimed SB-244 was overkill, they were right.
Additionally, Mr. Crowley sidetracks us by describing other species that may need controlling under this failed proposal. Hardly. Coyotes can be hunted all year, trapped for four months and killed by special permit when deemed a nuisance. “Control” of raccoons isn’t far behind. So, let’s get back to bears.
Bears are protected under Connecticut Law (CGS Sec. 26-80a). CT Examiner accurately reports that the question of whether bears (and likely other protected species) may legally be killed under this bill remains unanswered. Given this acknowledged open issue, it’s disingenuous to position this article as a criticism of legislators “turning down” the opportunity to help farmers by allowing hunting of nuisance bears. Passing it with bears included was begging for a lawsuit at taxpayers’ expense.
This proposed legislation was vague, over-broad and likely a violation of existing state statute. Accolades to the legislators (18) who saw through this Trojan Horse. Most acknowledged the issue may need further attention. For now, the arsenal is well stocked to meet the needs of farmers and others. Meanwhile, since Connecticut considers itself progressive, let’s act that way and start thinking outside the ammo box.
Middle Haddam, CT