Hunting at The Trustees. The Trustees of Reservations Policy on Hunting

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1 Hunting at The Trustees Contents: The Trustees of Reservations Policy on Hunting Pg. 1 Regulations Pg. 3 Hunting Implementation at TTOR Properties Pg. 4 Bow Hunting Proficiency Instructions Pg. 7 Writtem Permission (template) Pg. 8 Why Bow Hunting Pg. 12 Deer Hunting Talking Points Pg. 13 The Trustees of Reservations Policy on Hunting Policy developed by: Planning and Stewardship (L. Vernegaard & R. Hopping) Reviewed by Regional/Program Directors: March 22, 2007 Approved by Field Operations Committee: June 27, 2007 The decision to allow or prohibit hunting will be evaluated on a property-by-property basis and will be guided by the following factors: 1. Public Safety: Where visitation is high and/or concentrated (e.g., where programming regularly occurs or in areas around a visitor center) or where a reservation occurs within a densely populated area, hunting will only be permitted if safety concerns can be mitigated through such means as temporary property closures or allowing only certain types of hunting. 2. Donors wishes: Wherever possible, The Trustees honors wishes expressed by donors of land; in some cases, these wishes address the desire to allow or prohibit hunting. 3. Ecological Resource Protection: Overabundant populations of any animal in a natural setting can negatively impact the ecological integrity of an area. For example, throughout much of Eastern Massachusetts deer populations frequently exceed desirable densities and the ecological consequences of this overabundance have been well documented. Science has shown that when deer become abundant, overbrowsing of vegetation can alter ecosystems by preventing forest regrowth or eliminating plant species altogether. Overbrowsing can threaten rare and endangered plant species and reduce the overall biological health of our reservations. The Trustees considers hunting as part of a program of best management practices for managing deer at its properties. 1

2 4. Other management goals. At an overabundant level, animals may also negatively impact other significant features of a property. For example, deer can damage historically important plantings in a designed landscape or seriously damage agricultural crops. In these cases, The Trustees will work to apply a number of solutions, including deterrents, but values hunting as an important management tool as an option to consider. 5. Human health: Several diseases are transmitted to humans by deer ticks, which depend on deer for a part of their life cycle. Lyme Disease is typically the best known but others include ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. Research has shown that maintaining deer populations at or below a habitat s carrying capacity may help reduce the population of deer ticks which carry tick-borne diseases. 6. Visitor Experience: While not all users choose to hunt, The Trustees tries to honor traditional uses at its reservations where such uses complement our mission. 7. Local Regulations: Town bylaws and ordinances that pertain to hunting need to be reviewed and considered before hunting is allowed. For example, some communities have passed ordinances that prohibit the discharge of firearms. 2

3 Regulations If hunting is prohibited or restricted at a property, The Trustees will assign and post one of two alternative hunting regulations for a particular property: Hunting is prohibited (e.g., Brooks Woodland Preserve) Hunting is prohibited except with prior written permission of the Superintendent (e.g., Crane Estate) This alternative allows The Trustees to place conditions on how hunting takes place (e.g., bow only and what species may be hunted). These conditions should be spelled out in the management plan (e.g., Weir Hill). Where unrestricted hunting is allowed no regulation stating this fact is necessary. However, when hunting is allowed, information and/or warning signs explaining the status of hunting on a given property will be posted at key locations. As needed, educational material will be provided explaining the role of hunting at a property. 3

4 Hunting Implementation at TTOR Properties Background: The decision to allow or prohibit hunting is evaluated on a property-by-property basis and is guided by such factors as: public safety, donor s wishes, human health concerns, ecological considerations, visitor experience, and other management objectives (TTOR Hunting Policy). In many cases The Trustees limits hunting at its properties to bow hunting for deer only to prevent and/or reduce the threat to natural resources from overabundant deer. Deer overabundance is a statewide problem that is growing, especially along the urbanrural fringe and in protected open spaces where hunting is excluded. The Trustees of Reservations believe that hunting is vital to maintaining deer populations at levels that protect public and ecological health; habitat/landscape resiliency will be important as we experience a changing climate. Hunting at TTOR - Implementation: There are three options for hunting on TTOR properties: No Hunting Property is open to general public for hunting default to state hunting regulations and municipal restrictions Hunting by Permission Only If hunting is prohibited the following actions will need to be completed annually before October: Post No Hunting signs at entrance points and boundary as needed and maintain annually (See sign developed by C&M) No hunting will be clearly displayed on the property bulletin board or equivalent No hunting will be clearly indicated on the property page on the TTOR Website If the property is open to hunting the following actions will need to be completed annually before October: Post signs at entrance points and maintain annually. (See sign developed by C&M) Hunting is allowed will be clearly displayed on the property bulletin board or equivalent Hunting is allowed will be clearly indicated on the property page on the TTOR Website 4

5 Anyone hunting at the property is subject to both the state hunting regulations and any additional local hunting restrictions (e.g., written permission required). If the property is hunted by permission only then: A: If municipality requires written permission or a portion of TTOR property is open to general hunting (e.g., Rock House): Superintendent provides written permission (including a map if only a portion of a property is open) Property is signed according to that for open to hunting above B: If TTOR limits hunting to deer only Hunting will be limited to Bow Hunting for deer unless otherwise specified (e.g., shotgun at Crane Estate) Hunting by Permission Only signs will be posted at all property entrances/access points (use template) Hunting by permission only and any other pertinent information (zone maps where only a portion of the property is open) will be clearly displayed on the property bulletin board or equivalent with appropriate dates. Hunting is allowed but with permission only will be clearly indicated on the property page on the TTOR Website and Property Guide prior to hunting taking place. Hunting will occur during open hunting seasonsas determined by the state (bow hunting is allowed during Archery, Shotgun and Primitive Firearm seasons). Check MassWildlife website annually for dates and additional regulations Hunting is prohibited on Sundays (state law). Only those hunters given permission to hunt the reservation by the superintendent will be allowed. All hunters must pass a shooting proficiency test see standards. All hunters must posses a valid MA hunting license, Zone appropriate doe permit issued by the state and written permission from the superintendent (use template) Areas hunted will be determined by following all state setbacks and other TTOR considerations (e.g., safety) and mapped as zones. Work with GIS before September to develop. The regional ecologist and superintendent will make a recommendation, in conjunction with the operations manager, to the regional/center director to open a property to hunting or when changes to the hunting program are considered. Changes should be conveyed to other staff (e.g., Marketing for changes to web) as needed. Hunters should be encouraged to become members. Superintendent will notify local police department and environmental police about hunting program by October during the first year a property is opened to hunting 5

6 For hunters: All hunters must provide a copy of their hunting license, license plate number and contact information to superintendent Written permission from superintendent should be carried at all times while hunting on TTOR property and produced upon request from Trustees staff and visitors. Hunters will receive a property map to be carried at all time while hunting on TTOR property. All hunting will take place from elevated tree stands within designated areas (see map) and locations approved by superintendent. Tree stands will be placed a minimum of 25 yards away from marked trails and their general location must be approved by the property superintendent. Hunters that fail to follow state hunting regulations and The Trustees rules will be prohibited from hunting the reservation. Hunters must report any kills to superintendent within 24 hours numbers should be recorded annually by superintendent using TTOR Annual Hunting Log. Care and discretion for other property users should be used when field dressing and removing deer from property. Tree stands will be removed within 30 days of the close of hunting season. Hunters must be courteous to all property users and make a genuine effort to inform others about the hunting program when encountered. The Trustees must be notified of negative encounters with visitors as soon as possible. The Trustees must be informed as soon as possible about any injured deer that are not relocated. Hunters need to report approximate hours spent hunting at end of season to superintendent hours can be counted as volunteer hours. Bow Hunting Proficiency Instructions Each hunter should be tested initially for proficiency with the bow annual testing is not necessary. Tests should be conducted at 25 yards and each hunter is required to land 3 out of 5 arrows in a 6X6-inch area. If they fail hunters can repeat until they succeed. Note: typical ranges include 20, 30 and 40 yards so the 25 yards is chosen intentionally since it is likely outside of hunters practice/comfort zones. A standard (store bought) archery target is suitable with a bright colored or white (as long as it contrasts with background) cardstock used for the 6x6 square. Each hunter gets a fresh square and their square can be saved in a folder. It s a good idea to keep a folder for each hunter. While accuracy is important also look for any concerns how hunters handle the equipment, paying attention to safety issues. 6

7 Arrows: either field or broadhead are fine Tests should be conducted in a safe location, think of where an arrow will travel if it misses the target. Staff should schedule a set time(s) for hunters to shoot. Consider hunter availability since most hunters do work. Also, have the hunters come to you. Hunters should be encouraged to be members at the family level at a minimum. 7

8 Bow Hunting Only permission Letter October 18, xxxx To Whom It May Concern: The Trustees of Reservations has granted permission to, of, for bow hunting deer on the premises of xxxxxxx Reservation, located in xxxxxxxx, for the xxxx season. All state regulations are applicable, in addition to all rules set forth by the Trustees below. Permission can be revoked at any time at the sole discretion of The Trustees of Reservations. Sincerely, xxxxxxxxxxxx Superintendent The Trustees of Reservations Xxxxxxxxxxxxx Management Unit Xxxxxxxx Street xxxxxxxx, MA xxxxx TTOR rules: All hunters must provide a copy of their hunting license, license plate number and contact information to superintendent 8

9 Written permission from superintendent should be carried at all times while hunting on TTOR property and produced upon request from Trustees staff and visitors. Hunters will receive a property map to be carried at all time while hunting on TTOR property. All hunting will take place from elevated tree stands within designated areas (see map) and locations approved by superintendent. Tree stands will be placed a minimum of 25 yards away from marked trails and their general location must be approved by the property superintendent. Hunters that fail to follow state hunting regulations and The Trustees rules will be prohibited from hunting the reservation. Hunters must report any kills to superintendent within 24 hours numbers should be recorded annually by superintendent using TTOR Annual Hunting Log. Care and discretion for other property users should be used when field dressing and removing deer from property. Tree stands will be removed within 30 days of the close of hunting season. Hunters must be courteous to all property users and make a genuine effort to inform others about the hunting program when encountered. The Trustees must be notified of negative encounters with visitors as soon as possible. The Trustees must be informed as soon as possible about any injured deer that are not relocated. Hunters need to report approximate hours spent hunting at end of season to superintendent hours can be counted as volunteer hours. 9

10 Hunting Permission Letter October 18, xxxx To Whom It May Concern: The Trustees of Reservations has granted permission to, of, for hunting on the premises of xxxxxxx Reservation, located in xxxxxxxx, for the xxxx season. All state regulations are applicable, in addition to all rules set forth by the Trustees below. Permission can be revoked at any time at the sole discretion of The Trustees of Reservations. Sincerely, xxxxxxxxxxxx Superintendent The Trustees of Reservations Xxxxxxxxxxxxx Management Unit Xxxxxxxx Street xxxxxxxx, MA xxxxx TTOR rules: All hunters must provide a copy of their hunting license, license plate number and contact information to superintendent 10

11 Written permission from superintendent should be carried at all times while hunting on TTOR property and produced upon request from Trustees staff and visitors. Hunters will receive a property map to be carried at all time while hunting on TTOR property. Tree stands (if used) will be placed a minimum of 25 yards away from marked trails and their general location must be approved by the property superintendent and removed within 30 days of the close of hunting season. Hunters that fail to follow state hunting regulations and The Trustees rules will be prohibited from hunting the reservation. Hunters must report any kills to superintendent within 24 hours numbers should be recorded annually by superintendent using TTOR Annual Hunting Log. Care and discretion for other property users should be used when field dressing and removing deer from property. Hunters must be courteous to all property users and make a genuine effort to inform others about the hunting program when encountered. The Trustees must be notified of negative encounters with visitors as soon as possible. The Trustees must be informed as soon as possible about any injured deer that are not relocated. Hunters need to report approximate hours spent hunting at end of season to superintendent hours can be counted as volunteer hours. 11

12 Why Bow Hunting: Safety is our first priority as we manage for both public use of our properties and their health and resiliency to threats. It is for this reason we only allow bow hunting for deer on our properties where we allow hunting by permission only: Bow hunting is conducted from stationary tree stands located away from trails and heavily utilized public areas (e.g., parking lots, gardens, buildings, activity areas). This zoning limits the number of bow hunters per property at any one time. Bow hunters shoot down, allowing released arrows that miss their target to embed into the ground. Bow hunting is only effective at close range, yards, requiring clear identification of deer before shooting. Bow hunters see and hear visitors and dogs approaching typically long before they are in range. Only authorized bow hunters are allowed to hunt on TTOR properties; this generally displaces illegal hunting Authorized hunters are required to carry written permission at all times while hunting TTOR properties. The safety of bow hunting allows other recreational uses simultaneously use of shotguns will require closing properties. There has never been an incident or accident involving a bow hunter injuring a non-hunter in Massachusetts. Is bow hunting inhumane? While we may all have our opinions and some may have strong personal beliefs, The Trustees have tried to minimize the number of wounded deer by requiring all hunters take a shooting test to demonstrate their proficiency with bow and arrow and ensure they can hit their target. Hunters unable to pass the test are not allowed to hunt on TTOR properties. Hunters do not want to wound deer or see them suffer. 12

13 Deer Hunting Talking Points Updated: October 12, 2011 Our primary reason for permitting hunting on select properties at select times of year is to help reduce the deer population and to improve the overall habitat health of our properties and surrounding areas. Deer and the Ecosystem With few natural predators in the region, the deer population in Massachusetts is well beyond its natural level. It is well documented that an overabundance of deer negatively impacts the health and resiliency of our woodlands, both hindering forest re-growth and endangering certain rare plants and flowers. Deer and the Lyme Disease Connection Research shows that it is also true that reducing deer populations may, in some cases, reduce the abundance of deer ticks, which can carry Lyme disease, and therefore improve public safety. Visitor Safety The Trustees main goal is to manage public safety on our properties at all times. The Trustees manage public safety where hunting occurs through a variety of approaches, including on-site and website property advisories, property or trail closures, distance requirements for hunting activity from residences and trails, and limits on the types of hunting allowed such as where bow hunting-only is permitted. The Trustees currently permit authorized bow hunting on 27 properties. An additional 28 properties, mainly in the Western part of the state, are open to the general public during state-regulated hunting season. 13

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