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Residents Ask for Hunting Restrictions

One resident writes, "I wish to enjoy my land, for which I pay taxes, with my horse without fear of being shot."

The following letter was submitted to Ward 4 City Councilor Jonathan Weydt by Ward 4 resident Dyanne Spatcher. It references additional letters from her and her neighbor Joseph Palermo. Those letters are attached. The submission of these letters was announced at last week's City Council meeting, and the matter was referred to the Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Management, chaired by Councilor Mark Cooper.

Dear Mr. Weydt:

As my Ward 4 councilman and chairman of the Committee on Zoning and Land Use, I am writing to express my support of Linda Chilson's proposal  that the council adopt an ordinance similar to that of the town of Norfolk requiring hunters to get written permission from landowners before hunting on private property. In an editorial published by The Sun Chronicle  Dec. 12, 2012, it was noted that 78 of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts have similar bylaws. These figures were cited from an online listing by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. All of those towns had to have hunting restrictions approved by the attorney general’s office after being passed by local government representatives.

My family owns approximately 40 acres in the Pike Avenue/Pleasant Street area which I have posted for over 20 years. Signs including the name of the owner are placed the required 50 feet apart around the perimeter and throughout the property which consists of hayfields and woodlands; they are checked and replaced when needed annually before hunting season begins.

I wish to enjoy my land, for which I pay taxes, with my horse without fear of being shot. Even with roughly 350 signs on the property, hunters find their way in. I realize there are many ways to enter the property … railroad tracks, power line for example; but something must be done. Incidentally, with reference to the power line, in many sections it is not owned by National Grid. In my case, and in numerous others in the area, when New England Electric wanted to put up holes and lines, landowners could either sell or grant an easement. That is what my father did over 50 years ago; that easement is still in effect and means that only the power company (National Grid at present) and landowner have the right to be on those access roads; everyone else is trespassing.

I am enclosing a letter from a neighbor and one of my own which will detail a few hunting issues from 2012, which, in addition to this letter will be made available to the council.

Dan Roca February 28, 2013 at 01:20 PM
That's not asking for hunting restrictions. This is simply asking for others to respect private property. Though, it seems that a new law might not be necessary, only that the land owner posts "no trespassing" and give warning and/or prosecute the violators.

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