Neighbors, Ducks Rewarded With Reprieve

Ian Christmann PhotoMallards, pintails, goldeneyes, scoters, mergansers, even geese — the constituents who will benefit the most — made no appearance at an announcement that might save some of their lives.

That’s because waterfowl will no longer be targets for hunters on the shores or marshes of the Quinnipiac River between the southern tip of the New Haven Land Trust’s Fargeorge Preserve at the mouth of Hemingway Creek to Lombard Street to the I-91 overpass.

That news emerged at a press conference convened Thursday morning at the Clifton Street boat launch, where State Senate President Marty Looney announced a state-mandated one-year moratorium on duck hunting in that area. State environmental Commissioner Robert Klee ordered the moratorium at the request of Police Chief Anthony Campbell and said his department will use the year to investigate concerns about neighborhood safety. Anyone found hunting there risks a misdemeanor arrest.

The land borders an already prohibited area adjacent to it leading south down to the mouth of the harbor. That was created in 2009 after neighbors of the growing number of riverine condos in the Fair Haven area complained of gunfire in the increasingly dense area.

A new crew of neighbors called Friends of the Quinnipiac Meadows Preserve has arisen in the last year in response to the same urgent safety and quality of life concerns

Allan Appel PhotoLed by local activists Ed Schwartz and Andrea Dobras, among others, they formed a campaign to extend the prohibited area.

They gathered signatures and made their case at community management team meetings. They pressed State Sen. Looney and State Rep. Al Paolillo Jr. about gunfire in the densely inhabited areas near the river. They pointed out that a stray bullet might inadvertently strike a walker, birder, or the growing number of kids visiting the preserve.

Police Chief Anthony Campbell, who wrote a letter of support based on neighbors concerns and the use of public safety resources, said the one-year moratorium will enable us to “hear both sides and find a path forward.”

However to activists and to Looney that path clearly leads to a bill in the next legislative session that will frame a permanent prohibition.

“Hunting is inappropriate in this area,” Looney said. “It’s become a public safety concern when people hear shots and don’t report it because they think it’s hunters.”

“Hunting within the city limits doesn’t make sense,” said Quinnipiac Avenue resident Ian Christmann. “People aren’t against hunting. A quarter mile up the river the marsh is full of ducks,” he said.

Campbell said his public safety argument to DEEP traced how in the beginning people call in shots fired, but when it turns out to be hunters, people stop calling in, and that’s a problem.

“I go to management team meetings,” he said, and there he hears Fair Haveners in the area say, “‘I hear shooting and I’m not reporting it, it’s hunters. We don’t want to hear that, and then find a body,” he added.

“It’s a good start,” said Schwartz, “but it’s not finished.”

“I’m happy we’re going to have a winter of peace,” said Dobras.

And presumably the local ducks will be happy as well.

No waterfowl were available for interviews.

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posted by: SpecialK on June 6, 2018  3:24pm

Public safety? There has not been one single documented incident in New Haven in regards to hunters being a public safety issue. Maybe the Chief should be more focused on the shooting gallery the rest of his city is becoming rather than hunters who have committed absolutely zero violent offenses.

posted by: Brian McGrath on June 6, 2018  4:16pm

This is so cool. America’s politically correct governement at work. Both sides to this controversey are correct. One side wins, in a practically meaninglesslway although the majority of people are
satisfied by administrative fiat, and the duck hunter side loses a measly duck or two over time and the votes for future candidates do not change, I do not have a big problem with this borderline irrrelevant fake news waste of internet electrons. I eat duck soup from Ivy Wok all the time but I know they are farm raised. I love the Q River more than you all know for reasons that cannot be explained here in the space allowed, I love it when everyone is right and no one is wronged—too much.

posted by: Ian Christmann on June 6, 2018  9:59pm

I am happy to hear this. The area in question is comprised of residential properties, park spaces and the nature preserve. When hunting here, hunters are either shooting towards a residential area or towards the preserve, where there are public hiking trails. There is also a very active playground at Dover Beach which is alongside the hunting area. Hunting from boats provides limited sight lines and additional concern based on a boats natural instability. As well, the sound of gunshots in a highly residential area is a big concern. The police have enough on their hands than to respond to hunting gunshots on a Saturday morning. I’m not against hunting, but shooting from the edge of a nature preserve towards houses and a playground within city limits seems like an accident or tragedy waiting to happen. Moving the boundary line a 1/4 mile to I-91 still provides plenty of hunting opportunities north of 91 and thus would have little impact on the hunters but a big benefit for public safety.