TONIGHT: Public Hearing on Expanded Rifle Hunting in Southern Frederick County

billyshreveatmikeIt was almost a year ago to the day that I sent a similar message out on this topic, asking many of you to contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources if you opposed the expansion of rifle hunting in southern Frederick County. The DNR opposed the idea, in no small part because of what they heard from residents here.

But like too many bad ideas, this one just keeps coming back.

It’s been reported that Councilman Billy Shreve has held some public hearings on the topic. I didn’t know. I never heard about them beforehand. And now he is declaring that the lack of public attendance at those hearings is an indication that we support his bill.

Uh…not quite.

You need to know that our state delegation is moving forward on this initiative. They don’t seem to think people are opposed to the idea – probably because Billy Shreve told them so – and with the Farm Bureau supporting the initiative, this legislation could get a green light…if there is no visible opposition.

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Tonight, the county council is holding their own public hearing to get YOUR input on this legislative proposal. The meeting is at 7:00PM, at Winchester Hall. If you attend, you’ll hear more about the issue and you’ll have the opportunity to speak out. Any comments you make at the hearing will also be forwarded to the members of our state delegation.

The members or our delegation need to hear from the citizens that are concerned about and opposed to this measure.

Remember, this is not about whether or not hunting is allowed! Hunting already happens, and opposing this legislation is not opposing hunting in southern Frederick County. This is about adding high powered rifles to hunting on farmland adjoining our neighborhoods.

The proponents will minimize the impact of this measure by saying it’s only for farmers and farmland. Think about this area of the county. How much land do you think there is other than developed land and farmland? When they open that farmland to rifle hunting, remember what is next to those farms – our homes.

How quickly people forget the accident a few years ago when a young child was shot by a hunter’s errant bullet. If you don’t think it makes any sense to re-introduce rifle hunting in the same part of the county where so many of us live, and where so many new home developments have been approved, then come out this evening.

And, if you can’t make it, then please consider taking a moment to write to the members of the delegation and the county council:

State Delegation:

Michael Hough – michael.hough@senate.state.md.us
Kathy Afzali – kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us
David Vogt – david.vogt@house.state.md.us
Barrie Ciliberti – barrie.ciliberti@house.state.md.us
Ron Young – ronald.young@senate.state.md.us
Carol Krimm – carol.krimm@house.state.md.us
Karen Lewis Young – karen.young@house.state.md.us
William Folden – william.folden@house.state.md.us

County Council:

Bud Otis – BOtis@frederickcountymd.gov
MC Keegan-Ayer – MCKeegan-Ayer@frederickcountymd.gov
Tony Chmelik – TChmelik@frederickcountymd.gov
Jerry Donald – JDonald@frederickcountymd.gov
Jessica Fitzwater – JFitzwater@frederickcountymd.gov
Kirby Delauter – KDelauter@frederickcountymd.gov
Billy Shreve – Billy@frederickcountymd.gov

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CLICK HERE to see the language being proposed in Annapolis.

Frederick News Post article
Shreve asks delegation to back deer hunting legislation
Friday, January 30, 2015

EXCERPT:

Shreve is asking state lawmakers from Frederick County to introduce legislation that would authorize holders of deer damage permits to hunt with a rifle in all areas of the county. Currently, rifle hunting is not legal in southern parts of the county.

In a meeting with senators and delegates from the county, Shreve also suggested that lawmakers allow rifle hunting for deer year-round. Right now, rifle hunting is not permitted during bow season, he said. Shreve’s third proposal would enable holders of a deer damage permit to designate other hunters to shoot deer with a rifle on their property.

Frederick News Post editorial
Errant bullet
Sunday, December 15, 2013

EXCERPT:

At about 9 a.m., Allen sighted on a buck with his high-powered 30.30 Marlin rifle and fired.

It was a hit and the deer went down. But rather than blooming out and stopping, the bullet continued some 700 yards, hit and penetrated the aluminum-sided wall of an Opal Court home, then went through the arm draped over the head of a sleeping 4-year-old, Christopher Cowden, just above the elbow.
The boy woke, screaming, plaster in his hair, pointing at the wall. The bullet was found in his bedclothes.

The wound was superficial and no bones or nerves were hit. The injury required two stitches at the entry point and six at the exit, but could have been much, much worse, impacting as it did inches from his head.

Allen heard about the incident on his CB as he drove the buck back to the check-in station. Showing extraordinary character, the hunter immediately drove to the local Maryland State Police Barracks to report that he had been in that area that morning and handed in the rifle for ballistics testing. He was later charged, found guilty, fined, and had his hunting license suspended for a year. As fate would have it, Allen, who had written permission to hunt on the property where he made his shot, lived in the same subdivision as the Cowdens.

In the debate that followed in front of county commissioners, numerous county residents testified about their fear during hunting season of being hit by rifle bullets, especially those fired across open farmland without any trees or other barriers to stop their passage. Other spoke about close calls during hunting season — a shattered mower windshield, a sheriff’s deputy who made his children wear fluorescent vests when at play in the yard. The commissioners asked for the input of the Frederick County Sportsmen’s Council, which proposed banning high-powered rifle hunting south of I-70 and east of U.S. 15. The regulations were approved by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

It is that ban Commissioner Billy Shreve hopes to overturn and was attempting to marshal support behind at a Monday night meeting. Ostensibly, Shreve maintains, allowing rifles during deer season would be one way to address the problem of deer overpopulation.

While we agree that too many deer are of concern, so too is the possibility — albeit the remote possibility — of incidents akin to the one that led to the ban in the first place. And the arguments residents brought to county commissioners during a hearing in January 1996 are still valid today, perhaps even more valid.

The county’s growth has been tremendous in the intervening 17 years. The 1990 Census showed more than 150,000 living here. Today, according to the 2010 Census, it’s 233,385 people living in roughly 90,000 homes. By 2030, the projection is 332,000 residents. The areas of the county in which there isn’t a home or other sign of human population somewhere in the vicinity have become and will continue to be more and more rare.