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Deer hunting season opens today

November 17, 2010 | Deer / Hunting & Wildlife Management

The Hour

Hour Staff Writer

"The idea that we're going to shoot our way out of all of our problems, that ain't going to happen," said Priscilla Feral, president of the Darien-based nonprofit Friends of Animals.

Beginning today, the Devil's Den Preserve in Weston will be closed to the public on select days while deer hunting season gets under way statewide.

The Nature Conservancy has been coordinating the Devil's Den deer cull since 2001 in an effort to thin the animal population and protect the ecological habitat of the 1,756-acre preserve.

"The basic issues are the impact that deer have on our ecosystem," said Howard Kilapatrick, wildlife biologist with the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The high density of deer in Connecticut has been associated with an increased incidence of deer-vehicle accidents and Lyme disease cases, he said.

When the state began controlling its deer population in earnest 10 years ago, deer-vehicle accidents had peaked at about 3,000. Kilapatrick said the number of accidents involving deer has dropped by more than a third to about 2,000 collisions in 2010.

The Nature Conservancy says an overabundance of deer in southwestern Connecticut has contributed to the gradual loss of native flowering plants and tree species, which are unable to regenerate because the animals favor the acorns and samplings.

But animal advocacy groups claim that concerns propagated by land conservationists are merely designed to demonize the innocent animals.

"The idea that we're going to shoot our way out of all of our problems, that ain't going to happen," said Priscilla Feral, president of the Darien-based nonprofit Friends of Animals.

Feral, a Rowayton resident, has been among the most vocal animal advocates in the area. Each year, her agency organizes protests and encourages boycotting of the Conservancy and the Darien Land Trust, which oversees the limited deer culling in Selleck's Woods.

"I think it's a vulgarity that really keeps me up at night," Feral said of deer population management. "That I live next door to where this goes on infuriates me."

Controlled deer hunting began at Selleck's Woods last week and continues until Dec. 9, or until a total of nine animals have been tagged.

The Nature Conservancy will close the trails at Devil's Den Preserve to the public Nov. 17 - 18; Nov. 22 - 24; Nov. 29 - Dec. 2; and Dec. 6 - 7.

Inclement weather is expected to keep turnout low on the opening day of shotgun and rifle season, Kilapatrick said.

Permitted shotgun and rifle shooting continues for three weeks, until the beginning of muzzle loader season, which ends the annual hunting season at the end of December. Archery hunting also begins Thursday and runs through the end of January.


Michigan has seasons , bow, firearm, muszzle loader almost 6 months out of the year,plus ban on feeding in winter months. reminds me of wiping out the Buffalo.

Ever notice that they can't just say KILL? Oh no, goodness no they are "thinning" the herd. That's a relief. The DNR can't be too rich, and the herds can't be too thin.

The Nature Conservancy is just one group of people who advocate killing. Here in Maryland (I think I sent you the announcement) the government encourages it. The deer don’t have a chance! Rich

Nature Conservancy, indeed! Look what they've done in Hawaii for years - snaring wild pigs and letting them die cruel and agonizingly slow deaths.... However, there's no danger in having deer hunted to extinction! State wildlife agencies "manage" wildlife, making absolutely sure that however many deer hunters murder will replenish by the next hunting season through compensatory rebound! They wouldn't cut off their noses to spite their faces and lose their only clients that provide their salaries. No matter how many they kill, which is obvious from data in all CT zones, deer numbers never really go down - it's by design - not coincidence. That's why there's such a push by a few big mouths in Westport to overturn the no-hunting ordinance. Westport is a thorn in the DEPs side side because it is proof that no hunting creates a low and stable deer herd. The only reason for those special hunts is to supply their clients with more and easily obtainable deer to kill - more hunting opportunities, that's IT! Hunters are becomign so lazy (I suggest reading some of their blogs) that if they have to stalk deer, they're not happy - they want plenty of deer to walk right up to their baited tree stands..real sportsmanship!

Dustin. Why would hunters want to destroy the very thing that they appreciate? Hunters are not death mongers that get ultimate pleasure from taking an animal's life and to sum it up like that would be an utter insulting lie. Most hunters have a very deep appreciation, love, and unwavering respect for wildlife and the habitat that they call home. How can you, not being a true hunter, presume that hunting is "an act against nature" and continue to accuse hunters of killing and destroying out of pleasure. That is uproarious, so I would like to invite you to come share in a hunt with myself and friends to see that hunting actually is not this absurd facade you believe it to be. -John

Jay Tutchton, who at one time would have shared a hunt with you, wrote this - an excerpt from ON THEIR OWN TERMS: BRINGING ANIMAL-RIGHTS ADVOCACY DOWN TO EARTH (book available for purchase through this site). [QUOTE FROM JAY TUTCHTON:]It was the wisdom of my children that pulled me around and reminded me what I had forgotten and overlooked in my philosophy. Each in their own way; my two sons cried at the “game processing” butcher because the elk, hanging on hooks, gutted and with their hides removed, were “naked” and missing their heads. They remarked, “Dad, this is really sad,” as they examined the beautiful tail feathers of a bunch of pheasants I was preparing to cook...Still, I thought, they were just too young to understand. It was my daughter who broke me. I had taken her to Rocky Mountain National Park to see the elk bugling in the fall. We spotted a herd from the jeep. She knew I hunted elk and tried to feed them to her by hiding them in spaghetti sauce and sausages. As I pulled her out of her car seat to get a better look at the herd, she said, simply and defiantly, “Daddy, if you are going to hurt the elks, I am not getting out of this car.” I tried to explain that I wasn’t going to hurt them today, that I really loved the elk, that I spent my days and nights and weekends filing all sorts of lawsuits to protect elk and the wildlands they needed to survive. She began to cry and asked, “Daddy, why? Why do you hate the elks?” By then in my legal career, I had advised countless law students, struggling over what do with their lives and their powerful new degrees, to follow a guide I had used: “Try to explain your job to a child and see if they understand.” It was a simple test to determine if you were being true to the ideals that had led you to law school. It was my own test. And I was failing it. I stopped hunting. By my own standard, it followed that I should stop eating meat. But for a time, I made exceptions. I ate meat when friends cooked and I didn’t want to give insult. Finally, when some friends dragged me to a famous barbeque shack in Kansas City, surrounded by a gluttonous orgy of meat eating, I became physically sick looking at the flesh of unknown type and origin on my plate. I stopped eating meat completely. Dairy products and eggs continued to be part of my diet—largely because I was an uncreative, lazy cook. I could have used the vegan cookbook, Dining With Friends, Lee co-authored with Priscilla Feral, but I hadn’t met them yet. I did know some vegans, friends I had represented in environmental lawsuits. They were delightful, caring, thoughtful, people. They invited me to their tables. I began to read books they recommended. We talked about ethics, health, the “carbon footprint” of meat-eating and the effects of animal agribusiness on the environment, the free-living wildlife that we loved and the endangered species that we fought to save with legal protection. Their vegan lifestyle made sense to me and I joined them.

One man's story still does not address why you can justify that hunters kill and destroy for pure pleasure. How can you assume that. Even Jay Tutchton said he had respect for the wildlife, and its not that hunters believe that "non-humans NEED to be killed" it is that they can be used for food and clothing. I know that I will not change your mind, nor will you ever change mine..I just want to get a little understanding from both sides. FoA comments: None of the animals killed "NEED" to be used for either food or clothing so it is perplexing why hunters kill them if not for pleasure and enjoyment -- what other reason is left? And you are wrong. Most animal activists have changed their minds. They were brought up in the same "humans are superior to all animals" culture that you were. But they were able to change their minds when they realized they were wrong. Agreed, you cannot change yours.

Let us not only speak about animal agriculture; I am talking about hunting in regards to disruption and the fact that you do, by consuming/using any kind of grain or other agricultural product, disrupt animals. FoA comments: Yes, growing grain to feed cattle is disruptive to the natural habitat of other animals. It is also unnecessary. No one needs to eat meat, but humans need to eat and a vegan diet is the least disruptive and most respectful, healthy, environment-friendly diet there is.

I hope that you have taken into account that the crops grown for vegan and non-vegan diets are also taking over animal habitat and forcing animals' patterns to change more than hunting makes them. We all, by living on this planet, are ultimately changing or effecting something in nature and one group of people cannot act like or put upon another group that they do not or do negatively affect an animal in some way. If you really want to help animals put your budget toward abused/abandoned/shelter animals that I, along with a majority of the people on this earth, have sympathy for and believe they need to be helped. FoA comments: Animal agriculture is far more disruptive than vegan agriculture is to the habitat of animals. Much more land and water is needed to raise "livestock." So if you are encouraging us to be vegan, we already are. And as it is possible to be a vegan without any sacrifice, how does anyone justify eating animals? Friends of Animals has operated a low-cost nationwide spay/neuter program for dogs and cats since its founding in 1957.


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