My Turn: Hunters needing written permission isn’t unreasonable


Friday, January 19, 2018

First and foremost, this is a LEYDEN SAFETY BYLAW, with which I agree. This bylaw is the result of irresponsible hunting circumstances that occurred on private property.

The bylaw is asking hunters to get written permission from landowners before hunting on such land. This is not a new concept. There are currently 22 states in this country that require written permission. When this permission is given, everyone knows who should be where and when. A landowner can have the expectation of safety year round if they choose.

The hunters who live in Leyden, own property and are registered voters in this town should have no problem giving their neighbors this respect and courtesy. We had a town meeting on Dec. 4. There were at least 30 men dressed in camouflage who did not live in town nor own property here. They were allowed their show of force, to express their opinion and more importantly, intimidate Leyden residents. Leyden residents could not even get seats at our town meeting. I listened to nonresident hunters sitting beside me state to each other that if they did not like where we put our no trespassing signs, they would rip them down.

This is why written permission is needed; posting is not respected. Town residents were afraid to speak for fear of retaliation. People should not live in fear in our town. I do not know any hunter who does not plan his or her outing ahead of time. So it would not be necessary to knock on someone’s door at 6 a.m. to get permission. You should already have it.

This goes back to respect and courtesy for your neighbor.

I realize that hunting is a generational tradition. But another realization is that fewer people are becoming hunters. The majority of Leyden residents do not participate in this tradition nor are future generations. Our decision to not allow hunting on our land provides us with the safety we need to enjoy our property. You may not like it; it should be respected.

Leyden residents should be able to come up with a compromise that satisfies everyone.

I feel a resident is someone who lives in town, owns property, pays taxes, and is a registered voter. I have lived in town for 14 years. I have worked in the western Massachusetts community for the last 21 years. I love this town as much as any other resident. The only people necessary for this discussion are Leyden residents and the experts, i.e. fish and game, that we request to be present. No one else’s presence is needed.

Elizabeth Kuzdeba has lived in Leyden for 14 years.