Connecticut Deer News

White Birch Reviewed - One Year Later February 12, 2016 Connecticut, link to Bowsite.com
     Summary from the hunting group:  "The CT DEEP and the CAES's systematic campaign of misrepresenting the outcome of Mumford Cove is the principle driving factor for deer eradication throughout Fairfield County, CT., Zone 11.  Posing that outcome as "proof" that a drastic reduction in deer numbers (using inflated deer counts) will translate to a significant reduction in Lyme disease incidence represents a deliberate effort to prey on the fears of well-intentioned citizens (soccer moms) to achieve a desired outcome.
    The principle parties involved are fully aware of the fact that this correlation has yet to be demonstrated in open settings (not to mention the fact that many open settings show the exact opposite effect) yet they conveniently omit mention of these facts while peddling this misrepresentation from town to town."

   Use the link above to follow a discussion between local hunters and Dr. Scott Williams of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station related to the effectiveness of conducting community deer culls to reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.  The group provides this summary of their position: 
      "For the past few years a vocal group of hunters has been telling state of Connecticut (CT) officials (CAES, CT DEEP) that the Mumford Cove study [see bottom left of this page] has been misrepresented as the "answer" to CT's Lyme disease epidemic.  What we have shown is there is no evidence to support those findings in open settings like Redding, CT and in fact there is evidence to suggest the contrary is true; more deer equals less Lyme disease (see graphs below of Westport, CT statistics).  This manipulation is not limited to just the non-hunting public; hunters are being misled into thinking this deer eradication approach will translate into increased opportunities for them.  The reality is to get to the deer densities advocated by the CAES it will require the use of sharpshooters at a considerable cost to the taxpayers and to the exclusion of CT's hunters."
     [Information provided by participants in the discussion]:  Westport, CT has seen a dramatic decline with their Lyme casesfrom 2005 (57) to 2012 (6) cases.  Westport has a stabile deer population of approximately 600 deer per a recent FLIR survey conduceted in 2012 and does not allow hunting in their town.  Redding, CT, on the other hand has used a "destroy all deer" mentality to try and eradicate Lyme with little success.  Redding's Lyme ases in 2005 were (18) cases and in 2012 (10) cases.  More complete information in PDF.
    Dr. Williams comments that as the information in the graph below shows, Lyme disease cases have "dropped precipitously in the last 15 years" when there was no hunting in the town of Westpoint based on "credible" data from the department of health:  [Below the long term graph, 2000 to 2014, of the number of reported cases of Lyme disease in Westport, CT, where the deer population has been relatively stable because the community decided not to cull their deer]

The CT DEEP is charged with the management of wildlife, [deer density not correlated to Lyme disease] January 18, 2016 Conneticut, ReddingNews.Info
... The town of Westport, CT does not allow hunting and surveys, one as recent as 2012, have shown that Westport has a stable population of approximately 600 deer, or a density of 26.8 deer per square mile. Interestingly enough, the city has seen a steady decline in the number of lyme disease cases, going from 57 cases in 2005 to just 1 confirmed case in 2014... Redding has seen an all-out siege on its deer herd the past four years resulting in a decrease of 80% in the deer herd, yet Redding has seen an increase in the number of reported cases of lyme disease...

Connecticut's 2015 Reported Deer Harvest January 15, 2016 Whitetail Trophy Room
...  total number of deer harvested was 8,007 from all of the combined deer hunting seasons ...    . In 2013 harvest reports revealed a total of 12,549 deer ... In 2014 the harvest numbers fell again to 11,394 ... the 2015 Report

Newton, Deer Survey Newtown, Connecticut January 15, 2016 ReddingNews
... In the last six years, Newtown has lost nearly one half of the deer we had in town... The DEEP attempts to extrapolate the results as town-wide numbers and as a result their numbers are grossly overstated ... read the current aerial survey [PDF] ... follow the discussion about this issue among concerned hunters [an excerpt from Bowsite.com in story below dated January 5]

Head to an outdoors show during the slow season January 6, 2015 Connecticut, Norwich Bulletin
... high mast production (acorns plus other nuts, seeds and to some degree crops) generally meant reduced hunter success. When acorns are abundant, deer find an oak grove, feed, move a few yards and bed down. Movement is minimal, so the opportunity for a hunter to ambush deer between bedding and feeding areas is dramatically reduced...

[a comment taken from this thread] ... The CAES ground truthed 11 deer over the next 3 days and billed the tax payers $20,069.22 for their services. The 11 deer were taken over a 3 square mile area ( 2 ) test sites and in doing so negated a $950,000 study by over harvesting what was in the test sites areas. Vision Air had FLIR surveyed both test areas prior to the Davis survey and found only 23 deer and the CAES had been baiting the test ares prior to the Davis survey. By the CAES taking 11 of the 23 remaining deer that were left in the two test sites they were under their test site parameters by 8 deer. The test sites were to have 10 deer remaining per site and were stated to be 1 square mile each; when in fact they were just over three square miles combined, a 50% increase in size thus negated the test study again. And how do we know this, We were there and ground truthed it... [more information about problems in the deer count]

Hartford, Hunting, Trapping Survey By State DEEP Ignites Online Debate December 31, 2015 Connecticut, Hartford Courant
... While some commenters have posted statements about hunting and trapping playing an important role in wildlife management, others have fired back, arguing the activity is immoral and there are nonlethal options for wildlife management, such as sterilization. The online debate at www.cttownhall.org has become heated at times ...

Big changes from state could hurt deer hunting December 17, 2015 Connecticut, Newbritainherald
... For next season, within zone 2, antlerless deer tags will NOT be valid during the private land firearms deer seasons, including muzzleloader... Only a bit over 7,000 deer have been reported. Last season’s total harvest numbers were a bit over 11,000 deer... Deer numbers are down in many areas...

A Growth Year in the Northeast [not in Connecticut] December 15, 2015 Connecticut, Field and Stream 
...  as of December 14, 7,533 deer had been taken. In that same window in 2014, 8,847 whitetails were shot—reflecting a 17-percent decline. He blames acorns. “In 1993, when acorns were most abundant, hunter success was one of the lowest recorded ...

Deer With Can Stuck On Head Rescued December 8, 2015 Connecticut, Patch
... slipped a leash around the deer’s neck and secured it to a tree ...

Deer population seems to be on decline lately December 2, 2015 Connecticut, Newbritainherald
...  think that deer numbers are down this year, especially in Litchfield County. Maybe it has to do with the severe winter of last year...  fawn predation by bears and bobcats has further lowered deer numbers in the northwest part of the state...

CT state trooper caring for 2 young deer November 30, 2015 Connectictut,
... “Unfortunately two baby deer were left without a mother and there were no rescues available for them,” police said in a Facebook post...

Local vet and Vista Fire aid deer November 28, 2015 Connecticut, Lewisboro Ledger
...  Dr. Jeffrey Hubsher at the South Salem Animal Hospital ... sedate the trapped deer, which allowed him and the firefighters to free the animal...

 The Nature Conservancy will hold its annual controlled deer hunt at Devil’s Den Preserve ...  the controlled hunt, which has been held each fall since 2001 ... 

By the Numbers: The Rut So Far in the Northeast November 13, 2015 Connecticut, Field and Stream
... For statewide archery, 2,865 harvest reports have been filed so far this year as of November 12, down 337 from last year in the same time period. But—and this is a big but—this is the first year in which Sunday hunting has been allowed on private land ...

Deer Roadkill Declining November 10, 2015 Connectcut, Hartford Courant
... In the early 2000’s more than 15,000 deer vehicle accidents occurred annually, while this past year, approximately 6,500 deer were killed [decline in accidents proportional to decline in population]

 ...11,394, most killed on private land...

New hunting opportunities at Mohawk State Forest October 27, 2015 Connecticut, WTNH Connecticut News
... The Ziegler parcel in Goshen will allow firearm deer and turkey hunting, archery for deer and turkey, small game and waterfowl. The Clark Pond parcel in Cornwall will allow deer and turkey bow hunting...

Ridgefield, Deer hunting season a tough one October 25, 2015 Connecticut, The Ridgefield Press
... Local deer culling is meant to supplement the regular deer hunting that goes on at state park lands in town... Last year they shot 79 deer and this year they hope to bag closer to 100 of the whitetails...

New England Deer Forecast October 21, 2015 Connecticut, Game & Fish
... Many Nutmeg State deer hunters complained that there were fewer deer available in 2014 ...

Hunting Season is in Full Swing October 19, 2015 Connecticut, Litchfield County Times
... not a fan of the Connecticut Hunting and Fishing website. It is doesn’t offer easy access to simple information like seasons or accompanying regulations... Connecticut’s deer hunting season started with archery on Sept. 15 and, depending on the area you plan on hunting, it can extend all the way to Jan. 31. State land archery season usually ends on Dec. 31...

Deer mating season leads to warning for drivers October 14, 2015 Connecticut, WFSB
... Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimated that drivers across the state struck and killed almost 6,500 deer last year....

Low Deer Numbers, But Plenty of Food in Northeast October 8, 2015 Connecticut, Field and Stream
...  Connecticut is four years into a fawn recruitment study in the northwest corner of the state. They look at 90-day fawn survival and in the past three years it’s ranged between 0.66 and 0.40 fawns per adult doe. This year it’s down to 0.22. That’s one fawn per 4.5 does...Just 15 years ago there were very few predators outside of deer hunters, now the state is crawling with record numbers of coyotes, black bears and bobcats...

Delightful Deer and the Damage They Do October 6, 2015 Connecticut, Redding Nursery
...  This blog provides information about how to protect your landscaping from deer damage ... Redding Nursery has been protecting Fairfield County landscaping for nearly 35 years with a professional-strength taste deterrent, DeerPro™ Winter Animal Repellent...

Resurgent Bobcats Prompt State To Study Habitat, Population September 27, 2015 Connecticut, Courant 
... Then the deer rolled and Lazine could see a bobcat, its fangs and claws clamped on the deer's neck and skull, pulling its prey's head back at a cruel angle. The 35-pound cat had leapt from the top of the bank, taking the deer by surprise... Once hunted almost to extinction in Connecticut, bobcats have made a comeback over the past 40 years ...

Weston selectmen approve deer hunting on town property September 25, 2015 Connecticut, Weston Forum 
... The Weston Board of Selectmen unanimously approved Animal Control Officer Mark Harper’s request to bow hunt deer on town property in an attempt to cull the deer population in town...

Ridgefield expands hunt area to control deer population September 18, 2015 Connecticut, News-Times 
... The whole periphery around one side is hiked, and then the other side is an entire soccer complex,” Kozlark said at Wednesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. “I don’t want to hamper the hunters to do their job, but I don’t want people to ever have a risk of an arrow coming there way.”..

Ridgefield, Selectmen approve 12 sites for controlled deer hunt September 18, 2015 Connecticut, The Ridgefield Press
... The controlled deer hunt managed by the deer committee was started in 2006 as a means of control the town’s burgeoning population of deer. It is conducted by a select group of experienced hunters approved by the deer committee... 

Archery season opens for deer, turkey in CT September 16, 2015 Connecticut, The Hour Online
... "The outlook for the 2015 hunting season is good," said Rick Jacobson, Director, DEEP Wildlife Division. "Although there are deer hunting opportunities throughout most of Connecticut, they are best in the southwest corner of the state and many of the shoreline towns provide the best opportunities, especially for bowhunters...

Fall archery deer, turkey seasons open throughout Connecticut September 16, 2015 Connecticut, The Register Citizen
... A summary of white-tailed deer information for 2014, including changes in deer management regulations, harvest statistics, research activities, and population dynamics of Connecticut’s deer population is available at ct.gov/deep/hunting.

New law allows bow hunting to be legal on Sundays September 16, 2015 Connecticut, The Weston Forum
... “You’re shooting a bow and arrow ... it’s not uncommon for a deer to run 50 or more yards after being shot with a bow. That means a wounded deer could die on someone’s property that doesn’t want hunting on their land. That type of situation requires a call to Harper and his crew so they can get rid of the animal...

Redding deer controversies lessen September 15, 2015 Connecticut, Danbury News Times
... The town took over management of the hunt last year after firing a volunteer warden who officials felt was not forthcoming with information about the program. Meanwhile, hunters were complaining deer numbers had been depressed by culling undertaken to learn more about tick-borne illnesses...

Deer season begins for archers ... September 14, 2015 Connectictut, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
...  in 2003, they legalized hunting over bait where extreme population problems warranted it. At the same time, they extended their archery season an extra month into January... 2014 wasn’t a vintage year for the deer harvest, though 11,394 whitetails were legally taken ... 9.2 percent below the 2013 harvest...

Dead deer’s head left in Yale audition room in New Haven September 9, 2015 Connecticut, New Haven Register 
... The animal’s head was left in a box Saturday at Timothy Dwight College, apparently by a non-Yalie ...

Highstead Foundation: Getting data on your backyard eco-system September 1, 2015 Connecticut, The Redding Pilot
... Just beside the Redding Country Club ...  a focus on long-term ecological studies .... one on deer impact that has been running for 17 years... Some exotic species benefit from deer browsing and some do not. Japanese barberry does better in areas where deer can graze, but burning bush and oriental bittersweet do better protected... , there is greater diversity of native shrubs inside a deer exclosure... greater diversity of native herbs outside the deer exclosures...

DEEP identifies locations for Sunday bow hunting for deer August 23, 2015 Connecticut, WRAL.com
... The new law also requires such hunting to take place at least 40 yards from blazed hiking trails. Hunters must have written permission from the landowner...

Sunday Bow Hunting To Be Allowed Oct. 1 August 18, 2015 Connecticut, Courant
... The last time DEEP experts attempted to make a statewide estimate was in 2006 when they put Connecticut's deer population at about 126,000. Some hunters dispute those figures as inflated ... some areas containing more than 40 deer per square mile. [40 deer per square mile is the target deer density for the state of Delaware] ...

Sunday deer hunting with bows now legal August 18, 2015 Connecticut, monroecourier.com
... “Sunday hunting is expected to increase – by a small percentage – the current annual harvest of about 10,000 to 13,000 deer for all hunting seasons,” said Jacobson...

... The new law authorizes the DEEP to establish a season for Sunday bow hunting on private property during the fall archery season, in areas of the state with an overpopulation of deer...

Friendly deer visits neighborhood barbecues July 29, 2015 Connecticut, WIAT 42
...  in Bristol, Connecticut, one deer has the whole neighborhood talking... The deer isn’t bothered by pooches either...


State Forest Logging Called Good For Forests, Taxpayers July 27, 2015 Connecticut, Hartford Courant
... In 2008, experts at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies  ... estimated that ... the state could triple the timber being taken without damaging the forests...  close to $1.5 million in timber revenue.  Martin said the reason for doing any logging at all is to improve woodlands for recreation and natural habitat for wildlife, not to make more revenue... The primary reason for the dramatic decline, according to several experts, was a major reduction foresters at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection...

Metro-North train service resumes after deer strike July 15, 2015 Connecticut, CT Post
... Metro-North’s Waterbury Line was disrupted for a couple of hours Wednesday morning after one of its trains struck a deer on the tracks...

... On average, scientists found about 27 percent of ticks tested positive for the Lyme-disease bacterium. "However, this year, we are early in the season, and we have found that nearly 34 percent of these ticks are infected with Lyme disease [the deer population is trending down while the percent of infected ticks increase] ...

... Over the last decade, the state has done a lot to cull deer populations. It's increased bag limits, created longer hunting windows, and a January crossbow season, but in certain areas of Connecticut, the deer still flourish...  Jacobson said the target deer population is about 20 per square mile...

Let sleeping babes in wilderness lie June 7, 2015 Connecticut, Meriden Record-Journal
... A column pertaining to baby wildlife is now a yearly happening simply because, each year, baby wildlife comes closer and closer to human beings. More and more homes are being constructed in areas that wildlife had been living in... And then the young are born and when they are come upon by humans, the first thought is that they were abandoned by their mother...

Sunday bow-hunting passage ends a political saga June 3, 2015 Connecticut, The CT Mirror 
... a 20-year story of close calls, colorful personalities and hardball politics, concluded Wednesday with final passage by the Senate of legislation allowing the bow hunting of deer on private property on Sundays... The Senate voted 28 to 8 to approve the bill. It now goes to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ...
     ...  one of the main opponents of the measure in past years, former state Sen. Don Williams, is no longer the Senate president, he said. Three years ago, the state lifted its long-standing ban on Sunday liquor sales, leaving the hunting ban as one of the few remaining Sunday restrictions...
     Connecticut OKs Sunday bow hunting June 3, 2015 foxct.com
     ... Sunday deer hunting by bow and arrow on private property in certain deer management zones in Connecticut beginning this October ...  hunting with a bow and arrow on private land in overpopulated deer management zones ...
     Connecticut OKs Sunday deer hunting, sends bill to governor June 3, 2015 San Francisco Gate
... The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection ... estimates 11 are currently overpopulated, which means they have at least 20 deer per square mile... "... They've been arguing it reduces Lyme disease. I think that's irresponsible and reckless to say that because it's not true," ...Annie Hornish ...

Bloomfield, Drivers beware after moose sightings in Bloomfield May 29, 2015 Connecticut, foxct.com
... Drivers in the area of Park and Blue Hills avenues in Bloomfield are warned to be cautious because a moose was spotted in that neighborhood ... Connecticut has a resident moose population estimated between 100-150 animals...

... The state House of Representatives has voted to allow Sunday deer hunting with some restrictions. It could only be conducted with a bow and arrow, and on certain private land...

Connecticut Data:  An unofficial estimate of 60,000 deer in the state in 2014.  This estimate is also consistent with the decline in deer vehicle collisions from about a decade ago.  Because of lower deer populations no antlerless deer tags will be issued in 2016 in central parts of Connecticut.  Deer populations are highest in the southwest.  Although the state no longer makes a population estimate, given the difficulty of getting to a reliable number, the agency does track deer density in some particular areas. The last official estimate was 126,000 in 2006.  In 2014, a state expert (Scott Williams) concluded that the deer population has plunged.  Increased predation by  coyote and bobcat populations are thought to be the primary factor for the recent deer population decline, the first measured since the early 1900's when deer were very scarce from over hunting and conservation measures were implemented.  Fawn recruitment in a 2015 study was 0.22 per doe; the population will decline significantly as a result.  Peak of the rut around the last two weeks in November, begins in late October and runs through early January.  An important deer count in the Redding and Newton area related to a Center for Disease Control study became a controvery in 2015 when a local hunting group challenged the DEEP's count and hired an aviation firm that found substantially fewer deer. 
    The deer harvest declined by 9.2 percent in 2014 to 11,394.  Overall hunter success was 23 percent.  Most deer are killed on private land.  See the 2014 Deer Program report.  The number of deer killed in vehicle collisions, which approximately follows in proportion to the deer population, fell by more than half from the early 2000's to 2014.  In 2014 there were 1,081 deer vehicle collisions reported [page 20].
    The first statewide deer hunt in recent history was opened in the 1970's. Now, deer densities of 30 per square mile are not uncommon in the state.  Hunting data approximately tracks the deer population.  In 2014, hunters could take two deer, but only one can be a buck.  In Fairfiled County, including suburban areas where deer are considered to be over populated, hunters can take four deer but only one buck.
     Moose  An estimated 100 to 150 moose in the state, mostly in the northeastern and northwestern wooded areas.  Estimated at 63 in 2004.

Other useful links:
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (also the Connecticut Division of Wildlife and the Connecticut Fisheries Division)