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Deer Hunt Cancelled One Day Before Killing Was To Begin

November 15, 2011 | Deer / Hunting & Wildlife Management / Free-Living Animals

As Friends of Animals Staffers Expose Committee Activity


Since 1997, when Darien's First Selectman appointed the Darien Deer Management Committee with Kent Haydock as chair, the town has pursued deer "as Public Enemy Number 1," said Priscilla Feral, president of the Darien-based Friends of Animals.

The first organized kill took place in 2005 in town-owned property of Selleck's Woods after gaining approval from Darien's Parks & Recreation Commission, which oversees the land. Ironically, Darien Land Trust's Dunlap Woods has also allowed deer to be shot by archers, although Norwalk's Land Trust prohibits deer-hunting.

The Parks & Recreation Commission has neither questioned the moral or scientific need for killing the deer, nor pressed for pertinent data from the so-called Deer Management Committee.

"Friends of Animals is relieved that the lovely deer who reside in Selleck's Woods are spared the torment and agony imposed by hunters this year," Priscilla Feral said.

Friends of Animals staff members, including president Priscilla Feral, have met with Darien officials, requesting opportunities to speak about this issue. The advocacy organization has also organized public demonstrations, letter writing and phone campaigns. Letters to local newspapers have been published each year along with educational advertisements.

In 2011, Friends of Animals' Outreach Coordinator Nancy Rice filed a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission, on the ground that the committee and the first selectman failed to release requested information which should be public. The requested information shows that the Darien Deer Management Committee has not had a meeting in ten years. It has also failed to adhere to Darien's town charter rules, and a ruling from the hearing officer is pending.

Darien resident Peter Hawkins, who was invited by Kent Haydock to be part of the deer committee, aware of this new information, challenged Haydock and other committee members on deer-targeting decisions.

"At least 50 deer have been shot in Selleck's Woods since 2005 and others have been killed on Land Trust property and private property because of the town's deer-hunt advocacy," Feral said. "It's high time to hold comprehensive educational programs in Darien about how to peacefully address conflicts "“ and to best live with deer and other wildlife, as opposed to launching violent, Draconian schemes that treat deer like snow removal."


Quite the accomplishment - So, there are still too many deer for their own well being and also the damage to the ecosystem and other species that are affected by excess deer numbers, will continue on into the future. One question remains, where can I too get a pair of rose colored glasses you wear? Too many deer is a bad thing for too many reason to list. Just because you wish there were alternatives, doesn't mean there are any. Deer management committees are formed for a reason, they all arrive at the same conclusions. It is irresponsible to allow one species to overpopulate at the expense of all others. FoA comments: Oh, it's not the deer: Quite the accomplishment - So, there are still too many humans for their own well being and also the damage to the ecosystem and other species that are affected by excess human numbers, will continue on into the future. One question remains, where can I too get a pair of rose colored glasses you wear? Too many humans is a bad thing for too many reason to list. Just because you wish there were alternatives, doesn't mean there are any. Human management committees are formed for a reason, they all arrive at the same conclusions. It is irresponsible to allow one species to overpopulate at the expense of all others.

Then put your money where your mouth is.....bulldoze your house and give back the habitat you stole from nature. Set your pets free to fend for themselves as God intended it. Then get rid of your car before one more deer or squirrel gets run over....then you be making a good start. Then, rid yourself of things like; electricity, air conditioning, heat, medicine, dairy products, Air travel, Thanksgiving Turkey, Christmas Ham, filet mignon, baseball, hotdogs and apple pie - and get back to me. In the mean time - the rest of us will try to manage our impact as responsibly as we can. Even if that includes difficult decisions like balancing nature for the maximum benefit of all species of plants animals and leaving healthy and diverse wild areas for future generations.

Walt C: I get the impression you hunt. And you'd like to deride the non-hunting view by an attempt to reduce it to absurdity. Your point is that we all have an impact on other animals so we are all silly for opposing hunting. You are right that we all have an impact. We all live in houses, yes, on land that was once the habitat of others: native peoples, and other conscious beings. On that point you are right. But that does not relieve us of our responsibility to seek peace, and to bring humanity to a respectful place. Many members and supporters of FoA have renounced Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, and filet mignon. You'll find no hot dogs being eaten by our staff. We'd never buy pets from people who breed them. We stand up for wolves and their autonomy in nature. And as for balancing nature, well, the Game Commission is taking two positions at one time: kill predator animals and then claim there are no natural predators of deer. We are not the hypocrites here. I hope you'll think on this further. We have found solid friendships with some former hunters, Walt. My solstice wish for you: Join them; join us. Sincerely, Lee.

Lee, If you do not eat meat, then to me you are practicing what you preach and earn my respect at least for your stance. As far as thinking on this further, I already have. There is no denying the findings that deer will overpopulate and will cause damage. To love nature, is understand it (even the unpleasant parts) and manage it as best we can for the maximum benefit of all species. Pets eat meat - not tofu. Animals are used to feed pets. It doesn't matter where or how your pet was bred. I do not understand how you lose sight of that????? MY ISSUE is the constant attack on hunting when what you are really opposed to, is meat consumption. I see NO difference between a deer and a cow, except the fact that a deer lives free and has a CHANCE to die of old age. If you oppose meat consumption, then why not go fight that fight? Meat from hunting can't be more than 1 or 2% of the all meat consumed in the US. As for balancing nature, I believe it is our moral obligation as the only species on the plant capable of understanding it. Managing what we are faced with now is the issue. We can't turn every cornfield in America back into woodlands and there will never be enough predators to do the job without putting humans at risk. The idea of increasing predator populations to control deer number is completely impractical unless humans vacate North America. What we DO have are deer populations above sustainable levels that exceed there carrying capacity of the land. Beyond reasonable numbers, excess deer cause measurable damage that impact the forest diversity and other animal and bird species. To deny this, is to deny the science itself and this conversation can end now. To accept the science, you ultimately arrive at the conclusion that even "doing nothing" and leaving the deer alone, is NOT a responsible option. Deer committee after deer committee all over this country arrive at this same conclusion over and over again. It's not a conspiracy, and these committee members are from all walks of life. They are not Pro-hunting and they struggle with the realization that the most ethical solution is to reduce the deer herd size. There are lots of areas where I can agree with animal rights groups like Friends of Animals and other groups. I know you understand it but Hunters love and respect animals too. And we too do not want them to suffer unnecessarily. We can probably agree on many animals issues....except when we get to the part about hunting. Some of you would be wise to drop the personal attacks and stop calling hunting something only macho, redneck, killer types partake in. You should spend some time trying to understand the hunters respect for their quarry. This is better understood in all the times the trigger does not get pulled, if a high percentage shot does not present itself. I am not a vegan, I will not be changing my mind about eating meat any time soon. When I feed my dog, I know there is meat from other animals in that can of food. I'm OK with were I am on this issue, as most Americans are. Deer numbers NEED to be managed, even for the sake of the deer themselves. Hunting is the only viable solution to accomplish this task. I only hunt with the utmost respect for the animals I pursue and I only pursue animal that I will use. If you eat Meat - You would be a hypocrite to oppose hunting. If you do not eat meat - Even if no one ever ate meat again - too many deer is still too many deer. And the forest and other animals will suffer the consequences of our inaction's. Sincerely, Walt

Hello Walt, I am vegan and very afraid for our country and for our world. My heart breaks for all the beings - human animals and non-human animals who live lives of suffering and die violent deaths. I am concerned by the consequences of what we have for many years considered progress. It is my belief that nature need not be managed by us and will come into balance naturally but our impact has been made. My personal duty now is to make as little negative impact as possible. My hope is that one day, everyone will live in harmony with nature and have respect for all sentient beings. Sincerely and respectfully, Rena Brady

Rena - I can try to admire your conviction....but that's about it. Your hopes or dreams are not realistic. I'm a realist. Your belief is again wishful thinking at best. Nature does not balance itself. When it does, it is generally more violent and with more suffering than most of the alternatives. Starvation, predation and disease is how nature makes adjustments but they are long drawn out painful deaths. Still, if you believe your duty is to reduce your negative impacts, what about other negative impacts around you? Negative impacts to the health of our forests or negative impacts to other animal and bird species. High deer numbers are negatively impacting the land they and other animals live on. Since you can't talk to the deer and can't explain to them the need to birth fewer fawns, what exactly do you propose? You can't feed them, they will just reproduce more mouths to feed. You can't just ignore it, as knowing there is a serious problem and not responding to it, is irresponsible. You can't just hope harmony will come one day.

Walt, understanding that suffering exists in nature is part of being a realist. Nature hasn't been waiting around since life began for humans to come along and manage it. The suffering we can work end is that which we ourselves cause. Stalking other animals is a stress we impose on them; it's not only unfair to them (they're hardly in a position to fight back and there are few places left for them to escape to!) but also unnecessary: we need not do it. That's realistic. We can't tell the deer to stop having fawns, nor would we want to. That's not our business. There are now seven billion humans on the surface of Earth. Maybe we need to think about how to manage ourselves here? In the 1940s there were 2 billion of us. It's astounding how we have spread everywhere. That factor itself is overwhelming other animals. Roads are being widened everywhere one looks. And yet we continue to say other animals need to be managed. We are terribly self-absorbed; how much will we take away from others before we look up and what we are doing to this planet and the others who have a right to it? For if we have a right to it, they also have.

Lee, since you feel that wildlife management is unnecessary, what would you do if you home was full of rats? How about if a family of rabid coons made a dwelling in a middle of a play ground. What if you found rattle snake den under your porch that you frequently lounge on? Do you utilize any animal products such as leather, furs, wool? Do you eat meat?

Justin, I decided to stop using leather, fur, wool, and meat 28 years ago. I don't find this a problem. Two cookbooks are available from Friends of Animals and if you were to try one you'd find a whole world of cooking - wonderful, delicious, hearty - with no need for animal products. It's 2011 and we live in a developed society. We do not face a choice between beating other animals into submission or dying an early death. In the case of Darien there are some deer. These deer are not threatening anyone; people were just finding them mildly inconvenient, or wanting to justify their roles in controlling (erasing) these animals. We questioned that. The plan's been stopped. Isn't it wonderful that they can experience this winter season in peace? It's their home. Let 'em roam.

To say managing nature is unnecessary and we do not need to do it - showed me that you have never actually researched this issue.


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