Posted on March 21, 2019 by Greg MacKinnon
HARTFORD – The Environment Committee recently took favorable action on legislation that will provide greater protection to farmers and property owners regarding the state’s overpopulation of American black bears. According to Rep. Buckbee, the new bill clarifies the situations in which lethal force can be used to remove an eminent threat from one’s property, but does not establish a full hunting system or mechanism.
“This is a good compromise in lieu of fully implementing a hunting season or program. This new legislation will provide farmers and property owners who have livestock, poultry and bees, more options to remove black bears from their property by lethal force. The surrounding states of Connecticut have established lottery or hunting seasons for black bear removal, so borrowing common sense logic and public policy from our neighbors lead to the creation of this bill,” explained Rep. Buckbee.
The legislation makes three important changes to existing law regarding property protection from pests. The bill clearly states that in the event that livestock, poultry or bees are harmed, damaged or killed by a black bear, then the landowner can either take personal action or procure a permitted actor to euthanize the bear. There are also strict time regulations regarding the removal, protecting quiet neighboring spaces. It also allows the landowner, or permittee owner, to keep the animal after it has been shot.
Rep. Buckbee explained, “We must take into consideration the livelihood of the agriculture industry, as well as many of our friends and neighbors in the community, that keep chickens or other smaller amounts of livestock on their property. This legislation is a step in the right direction in terms of bear population management and personal preservation.”
The Environment Committee passed the legislation by a final vote tally of 17-11. Before it becomes law, it will have to be approved by the Senate before also going to the House of Representatives for its final legislative approval.