Proposal to extend hunting

A bill in front of the delegation that would extend hunting on private property on six Sundays during hunting season drew opposition from the equestrian community.

Residents opposed to the bill said they believe that six days a week is already enough for hunters to hunt.

"Can't we have one day for people who just want to go out and enjoy [trails] without fear," said Lisbon resident Pat Oliva, an avid horseback rider.

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The proposed bill would remove Howard County from the list of counties in which deer hunting on private property on certain Sundays is prohibited.

It would add one day of firearm hunting and five days of bow hunting, according to Jim Raine, a Carroll County resident, who asked Del. Gail Bates to submit the legislation.

Bates district was changed recently during redistricting to include parts of Carroll County.

Raine said the legislation is similar to laws recently enacted in Frederick and Carroll counties.

He believes it would be an "important step for Howard County" by helping to reduce the number of deer deaths on the roadway and controlling the county deer population.

Oliva was one of more than 10 residents to testify opposing the proposed hunting legislation.

Residents opposed to the legislation said they wanted to be able to enjoy the outdoors on a Sunday without be worried about hunting accidents.

Bates, representing district 9A, said she is neither for or against the legislation as is, but brought it before the delegation for discussion.

Following public testimony, Bates said there is "probably room for change" in the bill based upon resident's comments.

"I haven't quite decided where I will go on this," she said.

At one point in the hearing, Del. Guy Guzzone asked residents for and against the legislation to each stand.

More than 20 residents stood in opposition, while nine stood in favor of the legislation.

The county administration has not taken a position on the hunting legislation, Nitkin said.