Legislation to allow Sunday bowhunting on private property with the permission of landowners in parts of the state with the highest concentrations of deer failed to reach a Senate vote before the May 7 deadline, despite passage by the Connecticut House of Representatives.
The bill, which cleared the House on a 111-30 vote after a short debate around 11 p.m. Thursday, May 1, drew strong support from Republicans in the House. In an email to supporters, Coalition for Connecticut Sportsmen executive director Robert Crook, blamed the inaction on Senate President Donald Williams, Jr. for preventing the bill from going to the full Senate by the May 7 midnight deadline. A similar measure met the same fate in 2013.
The measure was supported by Connecticut Department Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), according to testimony presented to lawmakers earlier this year by Commissioner Robert Klee.
Currently, 10 states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia – still have some type of Sunday hunting restriction or prohibition dating back to “blue laws” originally enacted in the 1700s.
“In areas with high densities, deer are causing extensive damage to ecosystems and property and elevating public health and safety risks through tick-borne illnesses and vehicle collisions. The addition of Sundays during the private land archery deer seasons would significantly increase deer harvest by increasing hunter opportunity,” Klee’s testimony read.