Potential Bow Hunting Rules Change Ok’d for ConCom Vote
By Greg Lane, Published: July 14, 2020
Bow Hunter [Hingham Current News File Photo / Greg Lane]
With a full agenda of action items last night, the Hingham Conservation Commission agreed to move regulation changes for bow hunting to a public hearing at the Commission’s meeting on August 3rd. If approved, these regulations would take effect during the upcoming fall deer-hunting season which begins on October 17th. The Commission also plans adopt changes to turkey hunting.
Assistant Conservation Officer Heather Charles Lis outlined the timing of the regulation changes. “Assuming the Commission agrees with the regulation changes, then I would go back to the regulations and revise them to bring them to the August 3rd meeting so that you could vote and implement the changes,” said Lis. “Waiting to discuss the regulation changes until your next meeting would put off a Commission vote until the end of August which gets a little late because it’s past the Deer Season permit filing deadline."
The Commission received regulation proposals for both deer and turkey seasons from staff at the Hingham Conservation Office on Friday. Included in the proposals are requirements for hunters to provide proof of harvesting a deer, limiting the use of trail cameras on conservation land to fifteen days during the hunting season and more strictly regulating abandoned deer hunting stands. Lis recommended that the Commission require proof of harvesting a deer because of concerns that hunters are have been falsely reporting. “There are rumors that hunters are falsely reporting harvesting a deer so they can get a permit next year,” said Commissioner Bob Mosher. “Making them prove they did is a great idea.” According to the town’s website, the regulation currently requires hunters to notify the Conservation Office of any kill by 4:30pm on the next business day.
The Conservation staff also recommended changes to the deer hunting stands and blinds regulation. Currently, they need to be removed within one month of the end of each hunting season. Commissioner Crystal Kelly suggested fining hunters that abandon or neglect to remove their stands. “A fine should be more than nominal, but shouldn’t be exorbitant,” she said. Lis offered to check with the Board of Selectmen on the process for amending a regulation that includes a fine.
Since many of the Commissioners did not have time to review the changes prior to the meeting, Chair Laurie Freeman directed them to send comments and changes to Lis and Senior Planner Loni Fournier. “My suggestion for this evening is that Commissioners that haven’t read the proposed regulation changes just independently respond by email to Loni and Heather,” said Freeman. “We then can discuss any further changes at the August 3rd meeting and still vote on it.” The Chair then instructed Commissioners how to communicate without violating the State's Open Meeting Law. The Conservation Commission may vote on the proposed changes at its next meeting on August 3rd.
A list of proposed changes was not available for the public at the time of the meeting.
The Conservation Commission is proceeding with the 2020 Deer Season. Hunters may apply for one of eight permits that are available by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 27th. Due to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the process for submitting completed applications has been modified (see the Town of Hingham website).
The Hingham Conservation Commission is a seven-member board that is appointed to three-year overlapping terms by the Board of Selectmen under Chapter 40 of the Massachusetts General Laws. The Commission is entrusted with the stewardship of over 1,000 acres of conservation land and addresses natural resource issues of the town and region.
Conservation Commission members: