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Deer hunt a done deal

January 12, 2006 | Deer
By Susan Shultz, published in The Darien Times on January 12, 2006

The town deer hunt, which was to continue until the end of hunting season on Jan. 31, was "officially ended" two weeks early, according to Rob Lucas, master of the hunt.

"The recommendation to Parks & Recreation from myself, Kent Haydock and Friends of Selleck's Woods was that the hunt was a success for the time being," Lucas said.

Lucas said that the original goal of 12 had been cut in half after the Darien Land Trust was unable to obtain the required insurance to have the hunt take place on Dunlap Woods, which would have doubled the acreage.

"That cut the area down by half, to 28 acres, so we cut our goal to 6 deer," he said.

Lucas said that the poor design of the hunt prompted him to recommend halting it, and that the most deer the hunters ever saw in a day were 7.

"I saw it as being a diminishing return, if it were to continue, the hunters would lose interest - to continue for two more weeks for one more deer is not worth it," he said.

Despite the low count of deer killed, Lucas said he would not call the hunt a failure.

"We got three does, which give birth to an average of two fawns, which means nine fewer deer next year," he said.

According to a press release from the town Deer Management Committee, prepared by Kent Haydock, all hunters were advised to stop hunting and remove their tree stands. The signs closing Selleck's Woods for hunting have also been removed and the park's normal visiting hours have resumed, he said.

The press release also indicates that the "year-long project was a productive experiment in animal control in a number of ways."

Haydock also noted that "local newspapers have provided very valuable public information over recent years on accepted medical and scientific findings which bear upon protecting the health and safety of our community and restoration of our prized woodlands." These findings, according to Haydock's press release, indicate that "the only viable way to control the exponential increase in deer population is by regular culling."

The press release also includes that "many previous local surveys plus continual 'grass roots' contacts by people involved, demonstrate that a large majority of Darien residents support this kind of action."

Friends of Animals, an international animal rights organization based in Darien, has been vocal about their objections to hunting as a method of controlling deer population.

Priscilla Feral, president of the organization, said that Friends of Animals wasn't surprised that the hunters haven't met their expected quota for killing deer on the nature preserve, but still expressed regret for the three that were killed.

"All the ink in the paper cannot bring those lives back," she said.

Feral said that the Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance and their "apologists" at the state Department of Environmental Protection have advanced "specious arguments" which she said were "railroaded" through several towns.

"What has changed is that people are starting to scrutinize that nefarious agenda, although Friends of Animals were never meant to have a voice - an open forum and public debate wasn't part of their scheme," Feral said.

Lucas said he hoped that if the hunt is held again next season, he will have learned from what they did this year.

"If we design the hunt differently, we will have different results," he said.

First Selectman Evonne Klein has said that as of now, a deer cull has not been listed in the Board of Selectmen's priorities and has not been budgeted for, so it might not happen. In the meantime, Feral said that "residents of Darien can begin thinking about respecting deer and showing our ability to live positive, creative lives ourselves."


Sue, you are wrong about it being mostly men who hunt. I don't know about the part of the country you live in but in this part of the country the ratio is probably close to 50-50. More and more women are getting involved in hunting each year. I believe if you check the statistics you will find this is true everywhere. I will make a bet that somewhere in your house you have something made from a dead animal. Some cosmetics have by-products of animals in them. Soap is made from by-products of dead animals. Rawhide chew bones for dogs are made from animal skins. Most all dog and cat food has by-products of animals in them. Do you eat sea food? Something had to die. This is America and I respect your right to have your own opinion, all I ask is that my right to my opinion and way of life be respected also. Hunting is not a sport for me I love meat especially wild meat and I eat everything I kill.

I do belive that it should be helped but i also belive in hunting im a good oder not just shooting every thing ya know

Are you merely a thing, to be hunted? Why suggest that other animals are? Lee Hall Friends of Animals

I Also see it a other way... We Hunt deer and other animals right... But Think about this just once... I understand if you dont agree with me but we hunt animals but the alos hunt us its a thing i call "the hunter is now the hunted"... Like wolves your hunting and a pack of wolves will hunt you when they see you.... and so on. [Blog editors' note: Steve, we don't hunt deer or any other animals. Nor do groups of wolves hunt people.]

ya i understand it was just an idea...

Well I guess if someone posts something that is contradictory to your beliefs you just don't post it. Especially if it may plant a seed of doubt in someones mind as to the validity of your cause. [Blog editors' note: Bob's last posting extolled the virtues of slaughter, adding nothing to the topic under which he posted. Seedy, for sure.]

My last posting extolled nothing but the truth. I believe the part you did not want anyone to see was the part about your house must be infested with rats and other pest if you do not believe in killing anything. Like I have posted before I love animals. I do hunt because I love to eat meat. I feed and care for the animals because Man in his quest for the all mighty dollar has taken away most of their natural habitat, but I am not a fanatic either way. If you could look me in the eye and tell me that you have never and never will kill any living creature than I can respect your feelings about killing animals but if you can't than you do not have the right to call me a killer because I hunt for meat. I know this won't be posted either but it will be read by you [the editor] and that is the important thing. Bob [Blog editors' note: Bob's wild predictions aside, we hope he learns to love eating carrots.]

Attention to sanitation and other preventative measures (such as applying wire mesh to any openings other than windows and doors, keeping bird seed off the ground, sealing garbage in cans with tight-fitting lids) are usually sufficient to keep rats and "other pests" out of a home. It's certainly worked for me. Well, it's true that couple of little spiders live with us, and I have to keep an eye on the cobwebs when I'm vaccuuming. With proper housekeeping and an understanding of the environment in which you live, it is quite possible to never run into these problems in the first place. I don't see why killing is always the first solution, especially when alternatives are available.

I can tell you don't live in a frame house in the edge of the woods. Rats multiply at a very fast rate. If I didn't have cats running loose outside the rat problem would be uncontrollable. I just pray my cats don't turn into vegetarians. You think it is humane to cover the garbage and all food sources so they will starve instead of killing them fast. All you are doing is keeping them away from your house so someone else can kill them. You don't have to see it that way so it is ok. As for other pest if you bring groceries home from the super market you bring roaches into the house. You can't run them out, you have to kill them. You insinuated that I live in an unclean environment. I live as clean as you, I just live in the woods instead of a crowded neighborhood in the city {Thank God}. This will be my last post on the matter. You people are so unrealistic it is pathetic. I will keep hunting and I will keep my cats to kill the rats that I cannot get to. I will keep spraying my house to kill the bugs and If a poisonous snake gets in my yard I will kill it to keep it from killing one of my grandchildren. God gave me enough sense to know what has to be done and do it. Bob [Blog editors' note: Sorry to hear you are leaving; but in turn we'll leave you with a quote. Your grandchildren might be helpful in explaining it to you, one day, if not today: “Humans -- who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals -- have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and 'animals' is essential if we are to bend them to our will, wear them, eat them -- without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret.” -Carl Sagan, astronomer and author (1934-1996) & Ann Druyan, author (1949- ), in Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 1993]

Friends of Animals recently published an article on how communities can live safely with deer in our Fall, 2005 issue of ActionLine. We encourage anyone living near a wooded community to read it and consider what alternatives to hunting exist.


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