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Senate panel kills bear hunting bill

deer bill moves forward

April 04, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS - A Senate panel defeated legislation Tuesday that would have permitted residents of far Western Maryland to kill nuisance bears but advanced a separate Sunday deer hunting bill.

Without debate, the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted overwhelmingly to kill legislation crafted to help Garrett County residents who testified they are being terrorized by bears.

The bill, which passed the House of Delegates earlier this session, would have allowed residents to get a permit from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to kill a nuisance bear. Bear hunting has been banned in Maryland for 48 years.

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On deer hunting, the committee agreed with the House of Delegates to extend the firearms hunting season from 13 days to at least 21 days. Hunting would be allowed on the first Sunday of the season, but only in the rural counties.

A narrow 6-5 vote sends the measure to the Senate floor, where it's expected to face some opposition.

Committee member Sen. Alex Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, supported both proposals as tools to manage the animal population.

"You better control the deer population by hunting before we end up controlling it by hitting them with our cars," Mooney said.

Opponents of the deer hunting bill tried to make changes to the bill, which would have thrown up another roadblock to its passage by requiring another vote in the House.

Both bills were backed by House Speaker Casper Taylor Jr., D-Allegany.

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