“You wake up in the morning at 6:30 and there are gunshots and it takes a minute to get your bearings to realize it is just the hunters,” said Andrea Dobras with the Friends of the Quinnipiac Meadows Preserve.
Hunting in boats on the river off the Quinnipiac Meadows Preserve is legal but neighbors say it’s too close to their homes.
Claudia Elferdink added, “Especially a lot of people who do birding go out early in the morning and that’s the most dangerous time because that’s when they are hunting birds.” Justin Elicker with the New Haven Land Trust said, “We have residents walking their dogs here. Enjoying our trails. We have a lot of school groups that are visiting the preserve. Residents added there’s no safe direction for hunters to shoot.
Dobras added, “If you are shooting to the east you are shooting at the condos. If you are shooting to the west you are shooting to front street where there’s a playground where children play.” Elferdink added, “For parents knowing that hunting is allowed anywhere near they are not going to want their kids to come here and the teachers are not going to want to bring their classes here.”
There are rules about how close hunters can be to specific areas. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection routinely patrols the preserve and says:
Waterfowl hunting is permitted in tidal areas provided hunters remain at least 250 feet away from occupied structures. DEEP EnCon officers routinely patrol areas where hunters gather to ensure they are properly following all state statues. The agency is willing to meet with local residents to address concerns they may have concerning safety related to hunting activity.
The New Haven Land Trust is asking DEEP to change the boundary zone for hunters so it’s safe for everyone.
Elicker added, “We’ve had a number of hunters come into the area via boat and shoot ducks and simply moving the prohibition line further north out of the way of potential problems with residents is what we are asking.”