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Voters Reject Ban on Weston Bow Hunting

As a result, the town will continue to allow bow hunting on town-owned land.

By a majority, town meeting voters rejected a citizens' petition to ban bow hunting on town owned land.

The town of Weston made the announcement on its official Twitter feed at 10:10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15. As a result, hunters will continue to be allowed to hunt on five parcels of town-owned land. 

The vote comes after the Weston Conservation Commission recommended continuing the bow hunting program which is intended to curtail the burgeoning deer population in Weston. The program started in fall 2012 when five parcels of town land were opened for hunting by town-approved hunters.

"If deer are allowed to proliferate unchecked, Weston’s forests will lose hardwood saplings, spring wildflowers, and low growing shrubs. This impoverished ecosystem, in turn, will adversely affect numerous other wildlife species, including ground- and shrub-nesting song birds, amphibians, and insects," the Conservation Commission said on its website.  

In 2012, hunters reported killing 18 deer on town-owned land, including 10 does and eight bucks. 

The Weston Board of Health also supports continuing to allow bow hunting saying it would help prevent and curtail Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, according to the town website. 

Opponents of bow hunting, however, have cited several factors for allowing the program. Weston resident Isabella Jancourtz, previously objected to town officials backing what she called a "bloody slaughter." Another Weston resident has said allowing bow hunting could pose a danger to anybody who lives near designated hunting areas.

Isabella Jancourtz May 16, 2013 at 03:59 AM
It's a sad day for Weston. Cruelty to animals is the law of the land, and our town forests are no longer a sanctuary for man and beast, but a bloody killing field. There is no good reason to do this, and so many good reasons not to. We will revisit this issue next year, God willing.
Tom Anderson May 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM
I agree it is a sad day. I would add it is sad because of the horrendous misrepresentation of the information by the ConCom. I support a Democratic process. Our representatives should present the information accurately and fairly to allow the townspeople the opportunity to make an informed vote. They shouldn't hide the truth. Our town deserves better representation.
William Crum May 16, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Regardless of how you feel about hunting, the Weston Con Com obviously needs new leadership. Meeting minutes have not been posted since 2/19/13, there are no hunting regs on the webpage and the Hobbs Brook Dam remains unrepaired since March, 2010 with a request upcoming for an extra $150,000. Your tax $ on vacation! Last night's bowhunting debate shed more smoke than light and failed to address the folowing points: 1) There is no real evidence that Weston has anything close to 24 deer per square mile or a serious deer problem, 2) the 24 deer car collisions were less than 6% of the 408 traffic accidents in 2012, which could be reduced by people driving within the speed limits and not using their cell phones, 3) per the Con Com's posted deer hunter log summary, 25 hunters spent 306 hunter days to kill 18 deers. That means it took 17 hunter days per deer, which leaves a lot of time for wood whistle whittling in the blinds! At that rate, to reduce the deer density 60% from a fictional 25 per square mile to 10 on 17 square miles 425 - 170 or 255 deer would have to be killed, requiring 4,335 hunter days and 354.2 hunters or 20.8 per square mile. (This is on top of the existing attrition from private hunting, car kills, other predators, old age, etc..) and 4) The "proficiency" hunting test is a joke and hunting should not be allowed before sunrise or after sunset because it is too dark! William C. Crum
robert dalton May 16, 2013 at 01:10 PM
The sick comment "richly deserved" on Weston Deer Friends Facebook page in regards to a hunter that was stabbed by an antler says it all. These people will say or do anything to further their animal rights agenda. They will put their cause ahead of motorist safety, human health, forest health and the health of the animals themselves. This is about those who buy in to the Walt Disney version of nature and those of us who have a more healthy and practical view of our place as an "active" participant in nature. Mrs. Jancourtz these are not your "deer" and these are not your "forests". If this was your land, you could mis-manage it to death if you wanted. This is public land that belongs to all townspeople. The town has a responsibility to be good stewards of the land under their control and that is exactly what they are doing. I believe in diversity and that all user groups can enjoy the woods together and that is what is going to happen this fall much to the dismay of a few who want to impose their view of man's place in nature on others....Great day!!!
Gail Bayer May 16, 2013 at 01:16 PM
The saddest part other than the tremendous pain this causes the deer is we are telling our children that violence is the right and only answer. We lead by example and this is flawed leadership. If we have a severe deer problem, we should be open to trying other means of reducing the population, especially when we could have had a FREE pilot program that was offered to our town last night by the Human Society. Shame on Weston!
Gail Bayer May 16, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Why don't you leave your name Conservationist???
robert dalton May 16, 2013 at 01:25 PM
It is really pretty simple and numbers don't matter. The deer need an additional pressure on the population. The lower the population at the start of the program the better. Hunting every year indefinitely will make a dent but it may take years. Bow-hunting always turns out to be a non-issue with people that actually use the lands during hunting seasons. Bow-hunters and other user groups always get along well. I hike on many lands where hunting takes place and have many conversations with hunters. On a Trustees of Reservations property I frequent, the hunters park and interact with everyone dogwalkers, bikers, geocache people...ect. There has never been a complaint in seven years. Hunters can walk anywhere they want in the woods. Just because you see a hunter close to your house does not mean he is hunting. He has every right to be there and is probably walking in or out to his stand or tracking a deer. Safety is not an issue, the stats speak for themselves. It is the hunters land too, just as it is the dogwalkers and bikers.
robert dalton May 16, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Because many of the terrorist in this country are animal rights extremists. This is the only legal option and a good source of free range organic meat for residents. Deer always die slow painful deaths in the wild, this is reality. Deer grind their teeth down and die of starvation, they break a leg and get disemboweled by coyotes while they are still alive, they get hit by a car and hobble off into the woods to die a slow and painful death which usually ends in being eaten alive. The notion the deer will live this idyllic life if they are not shot by a hunter is false. The quickest way a deer will die is being shot by a arrow or being hit by a car.....this is the way it is. Hunters love nature too and feel if you are going to eat meat this is the most humane way to procure it. Hunters care as much as anyone about the welfare of animals. Wild deer get to live free and unconfined and has a chance to live to old age unlike domesticated animals. My family eats some wild game and my kids enjoy the healthy benefits that wild game provide.
robert dalton May 16, 2013 at 01:44 PM
It wont work and is not legal anyway. Deer are controlled by Mass Wildlife and it would not be approved. Plus, people eat deer they shoot on private property and that are hit by cars so you may poisoning them.
Deva May 16, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Well said Conservationist.
Sonia Zighelboim May 16, 2013 at 04:49 PM
We are not terrorist! The statement is so preposterous that does not deserve an answer. I do want to point out, that the debate was NOT about hunting per se, but about the question "is hunting going to solve any problems"? The answer to that question is a resounding NO. However, when you don't want to see the evidence, there is little that we can do to make you understand scientific facts. By the way, I do not hide behind fake names. I am Sonia Zighelboim, have a doctorate from Cornell University, I do not eat meat, and I do love nature and its creatures.
robert dalton May 16, 2013 at 05:21 PM
The evidence is clear....throughout the state of Massachusetts. Everywhere in this state that hunters have access the deer pop is under control. The only parts of this state that have severe deer issues are places where hunting is limited. Theae areas are Northeast and Southwest mass and the islands. In the rest of the state the deer pop is healthy. Two examples of hunting as a success are Cranes beach and the quabbin region of central mass. The only state I look at is this one and Mass wildlife has done a fine where there regulations are allowed to work through hunting access. Besides, this is the only "legal" option anyway. I may be for bringing in sharpshooters to initially bring down the pop, but then regulated hunting would be the best option to maintain desired levels. Your doctorate does not impress. I know many blue collar types who are brilliant. I also know many hunters and other folks with the same degree you do who would adamantly disagree. A degree does not make a person an expert in everything. Arguing this topic with the animal rights crowd is like arguing religion with Al-Qaeda.
Tom Anderson May 16, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Unfortunately, Conservationist does not want to focus on the facts. By the way, numbers do matter. There is a famous saying, "Don't let the facts get in the way of my opinion." If you really are a conservationist, then you should focus on the facts and stop using bullying language and name calling. You should be as appalled as I am that the ConCom misrepresented the facts and did not share all of the information and research with the townspeople. This is not a pro-hunting/anti-hunting issue. It is about solving a specific set of problems. The facts and research are clear. Bowhunting in Weston will not work. It has never worked in a location like Weston and all of the legitimate, non-special interest research shows it clearly. The only instances of this having a positive impact on the problems the ConCom claims it is trying to solve is when it is done on an island or peninsula. Even the ConComs own expert on Lyme Disease (who I talked with at length) said that Bowhunting was the least effective of the options he mentioned and had almost no chance of working unless all of the communities in a large radius around Weston took on an aggressive program for many years. This is shameful.
NWBL May 16, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Deer hunters try to justify their hobby as humane and ecologically sound. Face it, it's basically recreation for them, a day out with the guys, a 'trophy' to post on social media at the end of the day, and a few venison dinners. Deer hunting isn't permitted in any of the surrounding towns so they flock to Weston. I wish that the ConCom had done a more effective job.
Hunter May 17, 2013 at 01:38 AM
No I look at deer hunting as way for me and my family to eat organic meat. I grow my own vegetables, honey. I produce more then I consume. The grocery store is a place where I buy things I can't produce myself. I understand the scarfice of the foods I eat. My children do too. One harvested deer = around 70 to 100 pounds of venison for my family. NWBL it's obvious that you don't spend time in nature because if you did you'd know that all towns around Weston allow hunting. People have been hunting in Weston for over 400 years.
robert dalton May 17, 2013 at 03:04 AM
In Massachusetts... the towns, conservation groups, Professional foresters, botanists and biologists that have come before Weston in addressing this issue have all come to this same conclusion....hunting. These are the professionals who are out in the field every day and know the woods intimately.....I will side with the professionals. Hunting should be allowed anyway as the woods belong to all townspeople. This is the only activity that directly benefits the forests. The safety is not even debatable, the stats speak for themselves. This is the only legal option.
robert dalton May 17, 2013 at 03:12 AM
There are no facts relative to a deer population only estimates. This is what has been stated by the Cons-Com and Massachusetts full time deer biologist. In every town within a region the population varies somewhat. Within a individual town the pop varies as well. The lower the better before it gets beyond being able to control.
Laurette Ullian May 17, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Having listened to both sides of this argument (and being an unapologetic deer lover), I will grudgingly agree that perhaps there is a rationale for reducing the number of deer in Weston. It just seems that there has to be a more humane way. These razor arrows are designed for deer to bleed out, more often than not hitting the animals in an area of the body where they will not immediately die but will suffer a period of pain while they bleed to death. Is it not worth the time and effort to pause and consider an alternative? Shame on all who voted no.
matt May 17, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Since when is hunting evil? Let's all rely on others to produce and supply all of our food for us. Which lesson is evil to teach kids again? You people are beyond out of touch. Even with nature despite your self righteous opinions of yourselves
robert dalton May 17, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Hunters do not want to inflict unnecessary pain on an animal. When hit in the lethal area which is the size of a pie plate, a deer dies very quick and does not even know it until it drops dead. I have seen this first hand they will keep carrying on like nothing happened then drop over. It is like when you cut yourself with a knife, your body numbs the pain with endorphins. The notion the deer will live this idyllic life if they are not shot by a hunter is false.....nature is cruel. Deer always die slow painful deaths in the wild, this is reality. Deer grind their teeth down and die of starvation, they break a leg and get disemboweled by coyotes while they are still alive, they get hit by a car and hobble off into the woods to die a slow and painful death which usually ends in being eaten alive. The quickest way a deer will die is being shot by a arrow or being hit by a car.....this is the way it is. If you were a baby songbird in a nest less than three feet off the ground, a deer would eat you not talk to you. the other options were looked at and they are not legal. All options were looked at and a few of you are unhappy because you disagree based on personal beliefs. You are in the minority in weston and everywhere else this has been proposed for good scientific and practical reasons. I am also an unapologetic deer and nature lover and do not kill any bugs in my home. I let them go out the window.
kevin crowley May 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Why attack the bowhunters? Hunting has been allowed and should still be allowed. Just because you do not enjoy hunting does it make it right to try and take this away from someone that does. There is allot of things I dont like that you might but I do not try and take that away from you.
Kim Reichelt May 20, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Was the vote close?
robert dalton May 20, 2013 at 07:43 PM
75% of the residents voted in favor of the hunt. Democracy has spoken.
William Crum May 20, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Wrong! Less than 7% of the residents attended last Wednesday's Town Meeting. Democracy was awol as usual. Attendance in 2012 averaged only 3.1%.
robert dalton May 20, 2013 at 10:35 PM
That's the normal attendance at most town meetings at all towns. I would rather have a board of selectmen that represent the residents making decisions than a lone city manager calling the shots. The residents have the final say at town meeting. Yes, you do have some special interests showing up, but for the most part the residents that show up are educated on the issues. Democracy at its finest.
robert dalton May 20, 2013 at 10:36 PM
All the elected boards were in favor of the hunt.
realist May 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM
If you eat any meat you should not be against hunting. More humane than coach grill animals were treated...
Kim Reichelt May 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM
There is no hunting in Wayland.
robert dalton May 24, 2013 at 04:08 PM
No hunter I know feels the need to justify hunting. You are out enjoying nature with the hope of bringing home some healthy and environmentally sound food. Hunting and fishing dollars support the agencies that protect wildlife for all and preserve thousands of acres of land each year. Yes, it can be a social event just like any other activity.....nothing wrong with that either. The deer mount that some hunters put on the wall is considered art and it was attached to a body that provided healthy food for some. No other group in this state even comes close to the amount of land that sportsman have protected for all to enjoy.

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