For years, Sunday hunting has been a highly controversial topic at the state Capitol.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved a very narrow version of the measure – allowing the hunting of deer on Sundays with a bow and arrow on private land.
The measure passed by 107 to 19 with 24 members absent as all 19 negative votes came from Democrats.
State Rep. Craig Miner, a licensed bow hunter, said the controversy was reduced this year because the bill did not mention anything about guns. In addition, hikers in state forests should not be concerned because the bill covers only private land, and the hunting must take place during the normal bow-hunting season.
The hunting can only be done by licensed bow hunters, who are required to first take a course to learn how to properly use a bow and arrow.
Miner believes that word could spread about the Sunday hunting and that Connecticut could improve its reputation for hunting and fishing.
“Connecticut may become the kind of destination that Vermont is,” said Miner, a Litchfield Republican who represents four other towns in Litchfield County.
State Rep. Linda Gentile, the co-chairwoman of the legislature’s environment committee, says the bill makes sense because there has been growing concern about the spread of Lyme Disease from deer. Any hunter would need written permission and consent that must be carried with the hunter at all times.
Republicans unanimously joined the bipartisan effort.
“There is a severe, severe, severe overmanagment issue,” said Rep. John Shaban, a Redding Republican who said that an overpopulation of deer is prevalent in some areas of the state.