Hunters on town land

Written by Administrator
 | Wednesday, 07 December 2011 14:31

Hingham resident and hunters’ rights advocate David Schutz was discovered hunting on recently acquired town conservation land last Wednesday, along with several other men. Duxbury Conservation Commission Administrator Joe Grady said the men had taken waterfowl from the area known as the Crowell Cranberry Bog off of Route 14 before being discovered. No sign yet exists notifying the public the property has been converted to conservation use.

“We’re doing some work there, so it’s not posted,” said Grady. “He got some geese and some ducks. He had three others with him. I guess he got into a big to-do over there (in Hingham) on the beach. He claims to be a hunters’ rights advocate and we want him to be.” Hingham Police Chief Michael Peraino said their department has received complaints about Shutz’s hunting practices.

“We had an incident last year with him hunting on Hingham Harbor and there happened to be a church service going on,” said Peraino. “It was legal, but not the best judgment.”

Peraino said Schutz has been cooperative and notifies the police when he’s going to hunt in town.

Schutz, president of the Hingham-based Sportsmen’s Alliance, said he had done his due diligence by notifying the Duxbury Police shift commander when and where he would be hunting the morning of his trip, and by consulting a Duxbury conservation-area map that had not been updated to reflect the Crowell land acquisition. According to Schutz, he took the additional step of scheduling a meeting with a police representative for later that day to review state laws and town regulations pertaining to hunting. He said he notifies local police before each outing to prevent any conflict.

“These are the issues generally hunters have in the field,” said Schultz. “Shots are fired, police have to respond, and they don’t always know all of the laws as well as hunters do… Misunderstandings happen and this is a perfect example.”

Duxbury Police Chief Matthew Clancy said complaints about hunters are a common occurrence this time of year, starting in duck season. He said he was made aware by the Massachusetts Environmental Police of Schutz and his attempts to assert hunters’ rights along the South Shore just three days before Schutz was discovered on Crowell Bog.

“This individual has a hunters’ rights blog,” said Clancy. “He tried to educate us on the laws and he’s not always right…We asked him to come in and check in.”

Clancy said that Schutz agreed to comply with his request and that no charges will be pressed for the November 30 incident because there was no crime and no criminal intent.

Going forward, Schutz intends to work with Grady and said he hopes to present area-wide educational workshops, in conjunction with the Conservation Commission, for the benefit of the public.

Grady said he’s been working with the Duxbury Police Department to ensure both offices have a cooperative response to confirm laws are being followed and all concerns are addressed. The Town of Duxbury owns 3000 acres, including 2500 acres of conservation land. Of that acreage, 900 may be used for hunting. Shotgun hunting is permitted to bag waterfowl along the salt marshes, said Grady, but inland, the town allows only bows.

“We’re seeing more of these conflicts,” said Grady, noting Schutz was very cooperative when approached. “He just likes to hunt and needs to know where he can do it.”