Bill to Manage Grey Fox Turns into Legislative Battle - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bill to Manage Grey Fox Turns into Legislative Battle

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - It seems like a simple idea - a bill to manage the grey fox population in Delaware by allowing their hunting and trapping

Similar bills for other animals come up from time to time and become law.

But there's one big difference here. The grey fox is a state symbol. It's the Delaware state wildlife animal.

That's led to this bill becoming a real legislative battle.

The bill passed the state House easily back in March. But when it went to Senate, it hit a major road block in the form of an elementary school class.

Paul Sedacca's fourth grade class pushed for the state symbol designation in 2010. And his current class has vocally opposed to this bill. They came to a hearing Wednesday at Legislative Hall.

"HB 25 is totally unacceptable. It would open hunting and harvesting season on the grey fox," Sedacca said.

Sedacca teaches in Newark in New Castle County. But DNREC says the bulk of the grey fox population is in Kent and Sussex Counties.

"I think what has happened is there have been some localized incidences of property damage or threats to livestock from grey fox," said Small.

"What I'm trying to address is the management... At the same time we can help the farmers," Rep. Dave Wilson, R-Lincoln, said.

Rep. Wilson is the bill's sponsor.

"The real issue here is that we have - we're not interested in policy. We're interested in a 4th grade civic class," he said. "I'm not against the 4th grade class. I don't understand why we can't do both."

"Why are 4th graders influencing legislation? Because they're the future of Delaware. That's why," Sedacca said.

There does appear to be some agreement this level of debate wouldn't be happening if the grey fox weren't a state symbol. Other state symbols, all sea creatures, are harvested but they were all being harvested before they became symbols.

The Senate committee looking at this bill held a hearing in each county over the past few weeks. It took no action Wednesday.

Lawmakers asked DNREC to see if it's possible to manage the grey fox without killing any animals. Sec. Small says that may not be possible, but they're going to work on it.

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