2004 Proposed Wildlife Regulation Changes
September 12, 2004

GOSHEN, CT 06756

September 12, 2004

79 Elm St.,
Hartford, CT 06106

Re: Proposed Wildlife Regulation Changes 2004.

Hearing Officer:

As President of the Northwest CT Sportsman’s Council I would like to express the Council’s position, and several observations to the proposed wildlife regulations for 2004. The proposed wildlife regulation package for 2004 will receive the general support of the Northwest Council. We find the proposals to be reasonable and supportive of sound wildlife management. Several specific comments, observations and questions follow:

• Sportsmen recognize the benefit of the State Duck Stamp Program. Knowing that the proceeds of this program will be used to benefit Connecticut wetlands and waterfowl, acceptance of the fee increase is assured.

• Sportsmen recognize the need to keep dogs under control on state wildlife lands and support the provisions to accomplish this. However, we do not feel it is necessary or advisable to mandate a specific leash length of seven feet. It should be sufficient to state that dogs must be on a leash and under the control of their owner or keeper.

• Sportsmen are supportive of the reduction in acreage requirement to establish a private shooting preserve. We wonder however, why there is a need to cap the maximum allowable acreage at 1,000 acres. An explanation of this cap would be appreciated.

• Sportsmen support the trapping proposals contained in the regulation package. We suggest that the Bobcat be added to the open trapping season, as is being done with the Fisher in Section 22.

• Regarding Section 24. (a) (4) of Section 26-66-12: Season and bag limit:
Under paragraph (4), which advances and lengthens the fall firearms turkey season, we advocate the inclusion of a traditional muzzleloader rifle component, as a pilot program, to the first week of this extended season.

This change would only require a simple re-wording of the current proposal after the first sentence, which establishes the new open season dates. We suggest a sentence be added at this point to state the following:

The first week of which season will serve as a pilot program to allow the use of traditional muzzle loading rifles and replicas thereof; of traditional flintlock or percussion ignition; of 36 caliber or less, utilizing a patched round ball projectile and traditional sighting equipment typical of the pre-1900 era.

The above pilot program should be appropriate for both Private and State land hunting; however, private land only would be acceptable to sportsmen if the Wildlife Division determines that option is necessary.

Statement of Purpose:

Recognizing the relatively low hunter participation during the fall turkey season, a traditional muzzleloader component has been added as a pilot program to expand hunter opportunity and participation by including a traditional, historic component to the fall firearms turkey season. The pilot program has been scheduled for a period of time prior to the opening of the regular small game season when hunter densities will be at their lowest point.

The addition of a traditional muzzleloader season has received favorable comment from the DEP Conservation Advisory Council. The CAC has voted to support pursuing this concept in regard to the spring turkey season. As a result of the current regulation proposal and changes to the fall season, I believe the members of the CAC would approve this alternative as fulfilling the intent of the Council in establishing a pilot program for traditional hunters.

I believe this pilot program can be instituted in conjunction with, and concurrent with, the regular fall shotgun season without disadvantage to either group. I believe this change will add an estimated 500 or more hunters to the fall turkey season. Research conducted with the state agencies of Florida, Georgia and Virginia and the NWTF of Florida, has shown that there are no additional safety issues involved with the use of muzzleloaders for turkey hunting. In your consideration of this proposal, we hope that the agency will recognize the value and good will in creating new opportunity where possible, to include the traditional interests of our sporting community and cultural heritage.

My final comment regarding the wildlife package is to note that I requested the draft info at least three weeks ago and received them yesterday, Saturday the 11th. This did not allow much time to digest the details of the proposals before the public hearing and did not allow for general dissemination among the sportsmen who will be affected. Thankfully, many of the regulation proposals have been discussed within the CAC over the past few years and are therefore not unfamiliar. I would hope that notice of future proposals could be made at an earlier date.


Chris M. Marino
President, NWCSC





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