- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey legislative committee advanced four bills Monday that could expand hunting opportunities and anger animal-rights activists.

Each 3-2 vote of the Senate’s environment committee came after significant debate, perhaps a sign that it won’t be smooth sailing for the measures to become law.

State Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, joined the committee as sort of a substitute member while Sen. Richard Codey, also a Democrat, was absent. While the alliances shifted from measure to measure, Sweeney supported all four bills.

Here’s a look at what the bills would do, why proponents like them and why environmental and animal-rights groups do not:

___

The proposal: Allow apprentice hunting licenses so children as young as 10 could join licensed adult hunters without first passing a hunting safety test.

Supporters say: It’s a way to introduce more young people to an activity that is seeing diminished participation. It would let people decide whether they like hunting before taking the time to get a full license.

Opponents say: It’s not a good idea to have children with no formal safety training in the woods with guns.

Where it stands: An identical bill has been introduced in the Assembly but has not advanced.

___

The proposal: Allowing hunting with firearms on Sundays.

Supporters say: The restriction against it came as a way to protect the Sabbath for Christians, an outdated idea. Hunters who work all week should be allowed to hunt all weekend. It would help the business of outfitters and game preserves, and it’s fair because bow hunting is already legal on Sundays.

Opponents say: Some people go hiking, bird-watching and mountain biking only on Sundays during hunting seasons because they know they won’t have to contend with the sounds of shots ringing out, and they don’t want to be shot by accident. They say nonhunters should have full enjoyment of the outdoors, too.

Where it stands: The measure has not been introduced in the Assembly.

___

The proposal: Allow bow-hunting on federal military installations on Sundays.

Supporters say: This is mostly a technical bill. Bow-hunting is already allowed elsewhere on Sunday.

Opponents say: Bow-hunting is especially inhumane because some animals are wounded but not killed by arrows. Also, they say it could be a national security threat.

Where it stands: It was already passed in an Assembly committee.

___

The proposal: Allow regulators to set annual limits on how many people can receive licenses to trap beavers. There is now a cap of 200 permits.

Supporters say: The beaver population has boomed and the creatures cause flooding by felling trees. Currently, the permits are awarded through a lottery system that does not always allocate permission to trap in the places with the biggest beaver problems.

Opponents say: Beavers create habitats that are important to the survival of other species. Kill one beaver and another will just move to the same area, if it’s a desirable spot. Also, they say there are ways to use systems of pipes to move water despite dams built by beavers.

Where it stands: An identical bill has been introduced in the Assembly but has not advanced.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide