A state lottery that has handed out deer hunting permits for city water department land is going to be done by a private contractor this year unless the city opts to take on the job itself.
The change may make no difference to hunters or residents, but opens the door to headaches or fees that haven’t been a problem in the past, officials said.
Water Superintendent Robert Longo said Monday that 150 deer hunting permits are issued annually for the extensive watershed holdings owned by the city in Bristol, Plymouth, Harwinton and Burlington.
Last year, he said, hunters killed about 32 deer on the land, a process the superintendent said is necessary to keep the animals from destroying vegetation and causing potentially harmful runoff.
The Water Board will consider how to handle the lottery change at a workshop slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the water treatment plant at 1080 Terryville Ave.
Longo said he’s not sure that hunters will notice much change if the city decides to take on the lottery itself.
Though the state Department of Environmental Protection doesn’t charge a fee for participating in the lottery, and doesn’t plan to impose a fee when the private firm takes over the job next year, Longo said there is some concern about having a contractor handling the task.
Michael Gregonis, a DEP wildlife biologist, wrote in a letter to the city’s water department that Bristol needs to make a decision about how to proceed before the 2010 hunting and trapping guide is sent to print.
As long as the city doesn’t impose a fee on hunters, state law frees it of any liability for accidents or problems caused by hunters on its property.
Gregonis said the city has to make a choice between participating in the deer lottery program or selecting hunters on its own. It can’t do both, he said.
Longo said the city has relied on the DEP’s lottery program for many years.
It issues 75 permits to hunt on Bristol watershed land for each of the two deer hunting seasons, Longo said.
The city sets the areas where hunting is allowed so that hunters are not near residences or the reservoirs. Bristol owns hundreds of acres of forests surrounding its reservoirs.
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