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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.


Agreed, Dustin. It's time for hunters to stop hiding behind their myth that nonhuman animals need to be killed. If they're honest with themselves, I think they will admit that hunting causes compensatory rebound, and that free-living animals can control their own numbers in relation to available food -- without any interference from us.

Ahhh, Jayson. Where to begin? Yes, I eat plants. And, no, I don't believe that plants and animals are equals in terms of sentience including the ability to experience pain, and I am 99.9% certain plants don't possess any sort of self awareness. But let's make the ludicrous case that they did: I still would not eat animals. Non-human animals already live off of plants, and to eat the animals, by your argument, involves twice the amount of killing. But just to repeat: I think that whole argument that "plants are conscious, too!" is a load of you-know-what. I am always amazed when people claim to know the point of human existence. I don't. However, I am confident that the point is not to cause endless suffering and destruction. Hunters aren't some bunch of altruistic helpers saving the world. Please. They are not stewards of nature. They kill and destroy, and it's out of pleasure -- regardless of the spin. Hunters also help throw nature and the process of natural selection out of balance; science is proving this to be true, as hunters seek out the "best" among the species they intend to kill -- which throws the process by which animals adapt and evolve completely out of whack. Hunters need to learn to be honest with themselves (forget about our opinions): hunting is sadistic, ethically repellent and downright unkind. Spare me your save-the-world rhetoric.

I take it you dont eat meat or plants. How do you survive. Everthing has a life and purpose, who is to say a plant has a life not as important than a animal, they are living to. So you better come up with a answer to surviving that doesnt involve eating living things. You are a hunter you just dont want to admit it. Dont give me a answer like the deer walk and breath and they are cute so they should live, god made animals for a reason and i think we all know what for. you hire people to do your killing every time you pay for food, and complain about the people who do it for them selves. How much money do you put in to keeping animals healthy, to rebuild habitat that you take away when you build your homes iam guessing nothing hunters do more to feed the hungry and help people in need and donate there time to help all wildlife while keeping a health balance then you ever would. So i would recomend finding a differant way of living that doesnt involve killing any living thing including plants. If you do that feel to preech. And remember when you are driving in your car you are killing living things just about every day just no one notices it was you.

There goes the dep and front paging the hunting of deer, they do this every year to get people to hunt deer. Its all BS. If you go on the dep site it warns of disease in deer so how can these so called Hunters or worse say we kill and eat the meat. Why do I see killed deer and they were not hit by cars!!!! Hunting is a trophy sport, "its cruelty". If they used birth control it would take away the hunters and money for the state. So go figure. Its mean and its for the people who enjoy taking away the lives of innocent animals.. Using attractants and feed to attract them and then kill them is not hunting. Just shows the type of people that hunt and I will not say more!! Bugs eat flowers rabbits and woodchucks eat flowers so whats next, kill them. Its all a vicious circle and its all dirty politics. As you notice the news times and the connecticut post and who knows what other newspapers put the deer hunting articles in every year. Though they seem a tad late this year. Guess hunting revenue is down so they need to advertise!!!!

"But animal advocacy groups claim that concerns propagated by land conservationists are merely designed to demonize the innocent animals." Oh Lord, is there a phobia of killing? When are vegans going to understand that death is a part of life? Exploding deer populations can wreak havoc on both nature and on human civilisation. Stop anthropomorphising animals and wake up to the facts of what they will do if their population grows too high: they will drive down the numbers of other herbivorous animals by taking away their food, and eventually once they overbreed themselves, a huge population drop will follow, because there won't be enough food for pregnant deer.

Hi Laura, I think you've got us all wrong if you think any of us here equate a flower with that of the life of a deer. I'd rather have my plants eaten any day. Better yet, if I lived in an area where there are lots of deer, and if my landscaping were super important, maybe I'd try planting something deer didn't like to eat. Just a suggestion. We are advocating for leaving the deer be, not playing god or mad scientist. Deer and other free-living animals have the ability to manage their own populations--so long as humans stop interfering. We are the ones throwing nature out of balance. We will not be able to shoot and kill our way out of this situation or any other where populations of free-living animals are concerned. If you'd like, we'd be happy to send you a free copy of our booklet, "Hunting: An Act Against Nature." I think you'd find it illuminating.

WE SHOULD START RETURNING THEM, WHAT WE TOOK FROM THEM, - NOT ADVOCATE FOR TAKING EVEN MORE. I think that we should not be part of the culture, which causes the problems (by development of the land, predator control for agribusiness, etc.) and then points at the animals: "look, they are the problem: there are too many of them, if we don't control them, the problem will become even worse, and in addition they will leave other species without food." It is us, who took their land, destroyed their food sources, destroyed their natural shelters.., who brought imbalance into nature. It is not the animals, who is the problem. If we start asking to control them "humanely" - we will accept the statement, that the animals are the problem. And we will wipe out one specie after another by "controlling" them, as that part of the culture, which is really responsible for the problems, wants us to believe, that it is necessary to control them (not ourselves). Plus very likely that it is the hunters, who mostly want to play conservationists, and it is in their interest to create a concern, that animals are the problem. If if agree with that by elaborating the idea of control, asking for different method, we will give the idea of "animals are the problem" green light. I think more likely: 1. they will still shoot the animals -not spend money on birth control (which, as I read, is very hurting in cases of using it on wild life), and 2. we will be several steps back in our work towards animals rights. We loose twice. Actually the animals will loose twice. Just like with the welfare reforms, many of us want full liberation, but the industry fooled us and directed us to fight for improvement of conditions, which on one hand is accepting of the animal exploitation and on the other hand is something we can never achieve: the reason that the conditions are so bad is that there is a huge demand on animal products and we help it to become even bigger, by comforting the consumers. I am very grateful to those, who oppose control of wildlife, and helped me to see it. I felt this way deep in my heart before, but I was acting like it was common around: I used to demand humane control instead of traps and shooting. Wild animals are there on their own, struggling to survive, we can't interfere more. We have to change our consumerism and try to return, what we took from them - not to take even more. We shouldn't interfere. I think, it is different with the pets and other animals, which we breed for our own reasons. We interfered with wild animals long time ago, domesticated some species, made them dependent on us, bred them in that direction. They are totally vulnerable in our human dominated world. With these animals we should advocate birth control, since these animals can't survive without us: they depend on us for food, shelter, medical care... They are helpless in our world. We should reduce their population to 0, come back to the point when all the animals were free, independent and lived in their natural conditions, where they can find their natural food, shelter, cure themselves, have off springs and feed them...

Well folks... Here we go again. You are all against hunting deer, RIGHT?? I can just imagine what you would say when you come across the flowers you painstakingly just planted, paid ALOT of money on, ripped right out of their spots and pots. Chewed up and left there to die. OR your precious flowering shrubs you spent alot of money and time on, chewed down to their roots in the winter, because there are too many deer not enough food in your area, dead!!! You'll be standing there swearing and stomping your feet like little babies,"GOD D*** DEER!!!!"" S.O.B.!!!" "S**T!!!" Now you have to start ALL OVER AGAIN!!! How many of you are going to go deep in the woods, carrying bales of hay, special feed or water, during the freezing cold, in blizzard conditions or ice storms. Every day, even when you are sick, to make sure they eat. ONCE you start YOU have to keep it up!!!! Its like being a farmer who HAS to go feed his animals, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER, they have to be taken care of because they are his livelyhood!!! The herds have to be kept under control, from starving themselves out, becoming sick and injured OR being hit by cars and causing problems that way. THINK PEOPLE!!! Birth control is a joke!! Thats one way to cause the species to become extinct!!!

Laura, are you under the impression Friends of Animals promotes birth control for free-living animals including deer? We do not promote it. And many of us live in the vicinity of Valley Forge Park and can assure you we do not stomp our feet like little babies because deer are eating plants. The remainder of what you've written is difficult to understand, with its chaotic punctuation.

It is nice to read these comments but I fear we are talking to ourselves in this forum. I tried to get Howard County, Maryland to stop the "Wounded Warrior Deer Hunt" (a hunt for diabled vets, i suppose) and was met with the idea we owe the hunt to our "injured boys." Ye gads. Somehow we cannot effect change and we watch, and also comment, as animals are killed for food and "sport."


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