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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."


Well he killed a baby deer saw him dragging it and putting it in his truck. How disgusting to let this happen in front of my eyes or even happen at all. Plus he broke the permit laws by getting there way before sunrise. Such useless killing . Laws need to be changed in regards to private land hunting. What use to be a country road is now like a city. Yet hunting is allowed?? I doubt the people have ten acres plus I'm sure these hunters use this "private property" as a back door to the Nature preserve bordering this property. Do you think the DEP checks to see if there is enough private property? I do doubt it. There are A LOT of houses around now and hunting laws need to be changed for private property. IT SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED!

So, your harvesting these poor animals, just so there will be fewer animals in the area? what happened to tranquilizers, and transporting the animals into a new enviroment!?! It is good that the hunt was cut down, but it still seems like quite a few deer to be killed for less than 30 acres of land, you could have simply moved them! [Blog editor's note: The deer didn't need to be transported anywhere; just left alone. After the hunters chased as many as they could feed and find into the Nature Preserve, three were shot and killed. Two more likely fled to the highway and were found hit by automobiles. Wish we could transport the hunters to another environment.]

These hunters are just a bunch of screwed up individuals. They need to feed their sport so killing innocent animals is all they know. How sad! It has nothing to do with cutting down the deer population, we ALL know that is a bunch of bull. Here again they use excuses to feed their own habit. Shame, shame. We all wonder why deer run into the streets with arrows still stuck in them and a slow painful death or being wounded and running to die or just running from these blood hungry animal killers/haters. I would NEVER be friends with a hunter.I don't know how hunters can live with themselves, but killers I guess do! All they say is,we are going to eat the meat and we are going to do this and that. All I see are dead or wounded deer left to die, where is the hunter who shot him/her. As I said he was just killing or trying to for his Trophy and sport. How pathetic is that?? Also I feel hunters are cheating by feeding to attract them and killing them while they eat. They are not hunters at all. Just KILLERS of wildlife. How sad.

How come Hunters "cheat" to Kill? I'm in Bethel CT. The lady on the street lets the hunters go through her property and into the Nature Preserve which their land borders. Thats against the law is it not? It makes me sick to see these hunters who "supposedly" are hunting on her property come out with dead deer. These deer live there its their home what gives these hunters the right to go into the nature preserve. Its funny the sign on the other street where the nature preserve is says Wildlife preserve. Yeah right. These hunters are using a backdoor to the preserve. Hey John I doubt you love animals if you hunt, You are just a killer of animals.You disgust me. Its like devils den in Weston Ct. It was the Deers home until "the killers" needed something to kill. So they lay food out and then slaughter the deer while they eat in their home area. What pathetic people. How they can live with themselves is beyond me. But Killers do!

Hunting season provides hunters to have a sport on trying to get a deer, I know it's sad but it does help from deer over populating. It is cruel if some one hunted a deer and left it there to die, yes that is wrong, than using the deer up. Nature has a balance and it must be preserved. I am a true animal lover. I hate to see dead animals either wild or domestic but I always say to myself I hope they had a good life and they are not in pain. Some people who hate animals don't understand that and they never will. I know people have different opinions and everyone will just turn there rage on me just for typing this message but that is your problem.

Well, I think you raised a problematic contradiction here, Jamie. On the one hand, you say Nature has balance, yet on the other you say the deer are overpopulating. Assuming the latter is even true, clearly there's another influence keeping Nature from doing its work, and it's probably our constant intervention and harrassment. But, more to the point, when an animal's freedom is less important than a human's mood, their "sport" if you like, then our priorities are profoundly jumbled.

hunters also have total disregard for the permit laws. There is a hunter who hunts on private land on my street, he's there now and he was there WAY before sunrise(half hour before is the rule)! I know the rules, does he? I'm sure he does and is hunting for his own sport and satisfaction. Rules mean nothing to him. Slaughtering deer as they feed is all they care about. Then he can tell his buddies" Oh i got a deer". That is not hunting!! Most hunters do not know how to hunt they will kill any way possible. What a bunch of sickies!!!

I am not a hunter, and I don't claim to know everything about hunting. But I don't argue something if I don't know the facts. 1st: It is completely legal to get into your treestand before daylight, you just can't load an arrow or bullet until a 1/2 hour before sunrise. That is the law! 2nd: You can't translocate deer in CT, the whole state is overpopulated. Some areas have 100 deer per square mile! And nature has no balance in CT, without the top predator (wolves), there is nothing but disease or starvation to keep the deer population in check.......or hunting. Is starvation more humane than a bullet through the heart (average time to die = 20 seconds vs. 20 days of starvation)? I think not! So who is being inhumane? Those arguing for starvation, or for a 20 second death? I love animals, and I want what is best for them in CT......which is hunting. Somebody prove me wrong! And please don't say birth control! [Blog editors' note: While you say you don't hunt, your ideas are identical to those who do. We suggest you visit our Web page on Hunting, listed under Programs. No one at Friends of Animals advances birth control for deer or other free-living animals. Moreover, deer don't need management. Controlling ourselves is a progressive thought, as our impact on the environment is excessive.]

I love animals. I have a backyard full of feeders for all kinds of birds and animals. I have several acres of wooded property and there are foodplots and natural habitat for animals all over it. These animals are never hunted except with a camera and to keep the population down so they won't become over populated. Over population of wildlife in any area causes inbreeding and starvation. Inbreeding is the number one cause of desease that wipes out hundreds of animals and it is a slow miserable death. I am also a hunter. If you had ever witnessed nature's way of controling wildlife you would understrand about conservation. I have seen the inbred starving animals in the wild {I spend a lot of time in the woods} because I love nature and time spent in the woods just walking and looking or with my camera or with my rifle is quality time for me. I completely understand that everyone who goes into the woods with a gun or bow is not concerned with conservation. I do not have a single mounted animal on my wall and I have been hunting for over 50 years but I do have wild meat in my freezer and we eat it regularly. If you radical people really want to help the wildlife start a campaign to stop the large timber companies from destroying the habitat. Thousands of Baby squirrels, raccoons, O'Possums etc. are killed each year because the trees that their nests are in are cut and hauled off to the mills with the babies still in the nests. Call me a killer if you desire but I save more wildlife than I kill and I think God knew what he was doing when he put man at the top of the food chain. In closing I would like to say if you don't believe in killing animals don't go the store and buy any kind of meat [someone had to kill an animal for the meat to be there.] Also don't wear leather shoes, coats, or carry leather purses [someone had to kill an animal for the leather goods to be there for you.]

I do agree BOB about the Timber companies. I use to live in the country, now everything has been cut down and I have houses on top of me considering I have 3 acres and I moved here (23 years ago) because it was such peaceful country and street. Now there are speeders, screaming kids, it's terrible. All of these builders are sucking up so much land, it's taking away from wildlife. No wonder why there is so much animal kill in the road. These poor animals have to scramble out of the way and find new homes. Something has to be done to save the open land. These builders have total disregard for wildlife. All they see is money. As do the towns that allow it. I do not eat meat and do not wear leather, fur etc. I still do not believe in hunting and find it interesting why it's mostly men who do hunt.


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