Connecticut Deer News

Newton, Deer Survey Is Flawed April 25, 2015 Connecticut, VoiceNEWS 
...  a Forward Looking Infrared survey to determine the deer population in Newtown ... average of 11.41 deer per square mile should be compared to the estimated 33.5 deer per square mile or 2,000-4,000 deer claimed by the DEEP [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection]  for 2015... By sampling only fractions of the town, the DEEP surveys can only reliably report the number of deer in those fractions [more details in stories below] ...

Moose sightings on the rise in Connecticut April 17, 2015 Connecticut, New Haven Register
... “If you’re going to see moose in Connecticut, there’s a good chance it’ll be in the Northwest Corner,” ... Connecticut’s moose population in 2004 was estimated at 63, and between 2000 and 2007, at least 40 calves were born in the state ...

Bobbex Reports: As More Deer Move to Suburbia, Homeowners Seek More Effective Deterrents April 16, 2015 Connecticut, marketwired.com
... the most effective deterrent to keep deer out of suburban areas is a scent-aversion repellent, according to Dr. Scott C. Williams of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. "Our research has proven that this kind of repellent works to protect plants from damage by deer and other animals." ... See test results here  
... The town’s ad hoc deer committee is pulling together information they hope will sway more property owners in town to let bow hunters help manage the population ...

Tick-Borne Diseases Symposium Set for April 21 April 10, 2015 Connecticut, Westport Now
... Speakers will include Kirby Stafford III, chief entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station ... research focuses on natural, biological, and integrated management methods for tick control ...

    Scot Sanford of Redding sent these comments to Kirby Stafford, State Entomologist involved with the deer and tick study underway: "irregularities with the CAES (Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station) test sites in Redding, CT are disconcerting to say the least. In spite of clearly stated parameters for these test sites there was shooting occurring 1/2 mile outside of test sites, test sites boundaries were moved and expanded during the ITM (Integrated Tick Management [PDF]) study ... In 2015 White Buffalo was authorized to start culling deer as of 1/16/15 by the DEEP. The CAES stated through an IR survey conducted on 1/15/15 that the Pheasant Ridge test site had 47 Deer + 4 possible deer, yet White Buffalo harvested only 11 deer over a 5 day period, 6 of which came from the Pheasant Ridge test site ... The private FLIR showed 12 deer (filmed) on Pheasant Ridge and the CAES IR is suspected to have only shown 13 deer on film (it was reported as 47 definite deer and 4 possible deer yet in reviewing the film it appears that there may have been multiple counting of the same deer); yet White Buffalo removed 6 deer in this test site thereby reducing the total to 4-6 deer... This would be under the specified 10-12 deer for both test sites the ITM study required ... "

Ridgefield, Deer count shows dense population March 24, 2015 Connecticut, The Ridgefield Press 
...  a minimum of 45 deer per square mile in Ridgefield, according to a long-awaited aerial count by the state ...  the Ridgefield deer population was among the highest found in any survey,” state wildlife biologist Michael Gregonis said in a brief report on findings... “In years past, we’ve talked about 20 to 30 per square mile is a good goal,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said...

Ridgefield, Trends in Deer Population March 24, 2015 Connecticut, Glen Ekstrom
     Ridgefield, Connecticut`s deer population is down by 52%; by the CT DEEP`s own transect numbers over the last 6 years, hunter harvest is also down 50%;  24% in the last year alone.  Ridgefield has approximate 15 dpsm or 516 deer in their town.  The CT DEEP saying that Ridgefield, CT has 45+ dpsm or 1,548+ deer is mathematically impossible with its current downward trend.  By sampling only fractions; 6.53% or ( 6 small transects ) in the town of Ridgefield, CT; the CT DEEP survey can only reliably report the number of deer in those fractions; they attempt to extrapolate them as town-wide numbers and as a result their numbers are grossly overstated... wildlife seek out preferred habitat in a town and will never be equally distributed in any town...
     With the Ridgefield town hunting programs are targeting the last pockets of local deer, specifically female does; the deer herd will collapse in the next several years; just like their neighboring town of Redding, CT.

Bill would allow bow hunting of deer on Sundays March 24, 2015 Connecticut, theday.com
... The bill, which would maintain the ban on Sunday hunting on public lands, is supported by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection ... More than two dozen animal rights activists and the Humane Society submitted testimony opposing the bill ...

Hunters, scientists dispute deer count March 18, 2015 Connecticut, The Redding Pilot
... In 2012, four Redding neighborhoods were selected to be part of the research project to reduce the risk of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases... Mr. Sanford, a Redding resident, and Mr. Ekstrom, a Newtown resident, paid ... to do a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) flyover survey...  Based on Dr. Williams’s numbers, there are 29 to 30 deer per square mile, and Mr. Sanford said based on Vision Air numbers there are 7.42 deer per square mile. [see related stories below] ...

... after reviewing and comparing the Vision Air FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) survey and IR survey done by Davis Aviation provided through FOIA (Freedom of Information Act).   Davis IR survey film shows 13 viewed deer becoming 47 + 4 on his final report to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) CAES (Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station) ITM study report for the test area of Pheasant Ridge, Redding, CT.  Vision Air's FLIR survey showed 12 deer for the same 1 square mile test area only 5 days prior.
      [Comments about the reliability of Vision Air that conducted a privately funded survey of Redding]:  “Vision Air Research is the leader in the application of infrared imagery for wildlife monitoring. Their work in numerous types of settings from remote wildlands to major cities has demonstrated the adaptability and effectiveness of this technology. For remotely-sensing populations of small to large animals, monitoring with infrared has numerous advantages for generating reliable surveys.” (Jonathan Hauffler, PhD., CWB, Past President, The Wildlife Society, Executive Director Ecosystem Management Resource Institute, Seely, Lake MT 59868)  
     “During my tenure as the wildlife biologist for the Pennsylvania DCNR, Vision Air Research successfully completed what may have been the largest aerial deer survey ever. It was a monumental effort providing valuable information.” (Merlin Benner, President, Wildlife Specialists, LLC, Wellsboro, PA 16901) ... [The Vision Survey counted significantly fewer deer in the town than the survey done by Davis Aviation which was submitted to the Center for Disease Control related to research on Lyme disease. ]

Redding,  Results and Description of the Redding Aerial Deer Survey 3 March 2015 0830-1130 Hours [PDF]  SC Williams, P Helicopters - 2015 for CAES and DEEP
... Sharpshooting had commenced before the flight;  11 deer had been removed … These numbers were added to the corrected density to determine pre-sharpshoot density estimates (2015 Density).  It should be noted that pre-sharpshoot corrected densities reported here (38.3 deer/m2) are virtually identical to mean raw pre-sharpshooting deer counts within the 4 one-square mile areas reported by Davis Aviation in their downward-looking infrared survey (38.8 deer/m2), which has superioir detectability of deer on the ground...
     Comparison to Privately Funded Forward Looking Infrared Survery (FLIR) Done by Vision Air Research, March 14, 2015 Connecticut, Glen Ekstrom
     The privately contracted FLIR survey covered the entire town of Redding, CT and so it truly represents both the total number of deer in town and the deer density per square mile for the town.  By sampling only fractions;  ( 3-13% ) of the town of Redding the CAES (Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station) and DEEP surveys can only reliably report the number of deer in those fractions; they attempt to extrapolate them as town-wide numbers and as a result their numbers are grossly overstated...  wildlife seek out preferred habitat in a town and will never be equally distributed in any town.  This is why the numbers are in such disagreement; their repeat surveys merely demonstrate that you can repeat the same error multiple times and get the same wrong answer... [The FLIR survey showed 234 deer in the town compared to the estimate of 1200+ from the CAES and DEEP] See also

Bethel, How Many Deer in Bethel, CT ? March 5, 2015 Connecticut, Bowsite.com discussion
... By using 2015 CT DEEP transects for Newtown and Redding, CT; and then comparing those results to the privately-funded FLIR surveys ... [an] estimate of the deer population for Bethel, CT; is likely to be around 170 deer in total with a 10.12 dpsm [deer per square mile] ...

Groton, Annual Bluff Point deer cull nears end March 4, 2015 Connecticut, theday.com
... a thinning of the herd that has taken place there annually since 1996... the deer population has been particularly stressed by a poor fall crop of acorns ... and the deep snow this winter...

Shelton Deer Committee loses 1,200 deer, online discussion February 26, 2015 Connecticut, Bowsite.com 
     The recently disbanded Shelton Deer Committee had a hard time deciding just how many deer they actually had ? One minute it`s 800 and the next it`s 2,000. Last year in 2014, Shelton cooked the books on their deer population by 65.5% ( 925 to 1,531 / CT DEEP Transect Survey ) stating they had to use the " larger numbers from 2009 "; when in reality they have approximately 300 deer... The Shelton deer committee says they need to get their deer population down to 8 -12 dpsm; they will be very happy to hear; they are already there ! ... 

... An ad hoc committee established to look into how the deer population is impacting Shelton has recommended allowing bowhunting on “a small number of suitable city open space properties.” ... The report  says studies indicate a deer population needs to be reduced to 8 to 12 deer per square mile to have a significant impact on the tick population and associated illnesses. [Much of the recent research indicates a deer cull is generally not effective against Lyme disease, see also an article related to the Shelton Deer population]

Redding, Tick study enters final year February 20, 2015 Conecticut, The Redding Pilot 
... The study is funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  In the four test areas, different treatment combinations are being tested ... a company called White Buffalo comes to town and removes deer in two study areas using guns... Some hunters were also vocal about their disapproval of White Buffalo culling deer in the off season and they believed that the numbers reported by Dr. Williams are inaccurate... [related information below]

      On January 11th and 14th, 2015, residents of Newtown, CT contracted with Vision Air Research for a Forward Looking Infrared ( FLIR ) survey to determine the deer population in Newtown, CT. This survey was conducted between the hours of 1500-2000 (3-8pm) on the dates given and the results of this survey showed on average 11.41 deer per square mile; a total of 689 deer were located in 296 groups.  This survey covered all Newtown's  60.38 square miles and therefore represents a true census of Newtown's whitetail deer herd.   The CT DEEP transect survey for 2015; is based on surveying 1.5% of Newtown, CT;  the privately funded FLIR surveyed the entire town of Newtown, CT.  Appendix A - Page 7; as been removed from this report showing the deer group locations and size throughout Newtown, CT.

Aerial Infrared Deer Survey Redding, Connecticut – January 2015 [PDF] February 17, 2015 Susan Bernatas, Certified Wildlife Biologis, Vision Air Research, Inc
...  A total of 234 deer were located in 102 groups (Appendix A – 1). I delineated the two blocks requested over the area flown. The eastern most block had 6 groups and 12 deer while the western block had 5 groups and 11 deer (Appendix A 2 and 3). Most deer were found in forest settings. Deer group size ranged from 1 – 8 individuals. Groups were found across Redding....

Shelton, There's push to limit deer population in Shelton February 11, 2015 Connecticut, NBC 2
... , it's illegal to hunt in Shelton on city-owned property, but the city is weighing its options. The reason is simple because some say there are just too many deer...  The board will determine which if any of the recommendations the city of Shelton will take up...

Winter Storms Impact Connecticut Wildlife In Different Ways January 31, 2015 Connecticut, Hartford Courant
...  "prolonged periods of deep snow can lead to high over-winter mortality" for deer populations.  One study cited by federal authorities found a 12-inch snowfall could make 97 percent of potential food "unavailable to white-tail deer" in our region...

Redding, Hunters Express Concern About Redding Deer Cull January 26, 2015 Connecticut, Bowsite.com
     It has come to the sportsmen's attention that the State of CT DEEP has issued a permit and CAES have begun shooting at night in Redding in their continued effort to destroy the relatively small yet remaining deer herd. The final deer kill of the CAES Study was slated for February and March 2015 after the close of the archery deer season at the end of January. It was also promised by Rick Jacobson of The CT DEEP that an aerial survey would be done to insure the herd was not reduced below a level of 10 deer per square mile in the test areas. While it is believed the state did the required survey it was found that this was done over baited areas that will artificially inflate the deer counts in the test areas. The sportsmen self funded an FLIR survey in the hopes of establishing a starting point in a discussion with CT DEEP on proactive deer management... With deer populations dropping by approximately 75% in less than five years and Lyme cases increased by close to 62%, it will be hard for the state to explain their actions...

Severed Deer Head Found on Wesleyan Campus January 24, 2015  Connecticut, NBC Connecticut
... Public safety officials are investigating after a severed deer head was discovered in a crosswalk at Wesleyan University in Middletown ...

   Last week an FLIR [Forward-looking infrared] deer survey was completed in Redding, CT. The survey covered all of Reddings; ( 31.5 ) square miles and was done using current FLIR technology by VisionAirResearch.Com ... While there can be "pockets" of stable deer populations there has been a growing trend (as reported here by experienced bow hunters) of a steady decline in the deer herd, especially in Fairfield County. ...[Hunters discuss Issues related to this survey and Connecticut deer populations]

Westport, Deer rescued by firefighters in Westport January 9, 2015, Connecticut, 6 WECT
... Firefighters were able to rescue a deer that was stuck in a fence in Westport on Friday morning...

Redding, Deer Reduction = Increased Lyme January 2, 2015 Connecticut, Bowsite.com
...  From 2009-2014 the deer harvest rates in Redding; town owned open spaces plummeted by 95% ( 141 to 7 ) and town wide by 78% ( 321 to 70 ). In sharp contrast reported cases of Lyme increased by 62% + over the last 4 years despite this drop in deer harvest numbers. In comparison, Greenwich and Westport have stable populations of 25+ deer per square mile and Lyme disease rates remains low, even with deer populations nearly three times that of Redding.

Coyote sightings shouldn’t be a surprise, according to wildlife officials December 30, 2014 Connecticut, monroecourier.com 
... Coyotes were not originally found in Connecticut ... first reported in Connecticut in the mid-1950s ... eventually expanded their range throughout the entire state ... 

Bridgeport urban deer hunt enters final week December 25, 2014 Connecticut, theet.com 
... The city’s Urban Deer Hunt Committee will likely review the five-year program to see if it’s having the desired effect, [Mayor] Greer said. “We’re five years into it, and it’s probably time to revisit it and see if we’re having the impact we’d hoped to have,” ...

Redding Deer Population and Harvest Down 80% December 19, 2014 Connecticut, ReddingNews.com
... 2009 to 2014 we see the Redding deer population and harvest rate go down by approximately  80%. [321 to 63] ...They are no longer taking about ticks as reported cases of Lyme increased by 62.5% + over the last 4 years in Redding despite the significantly decreasing deer population... When will the CT DEEP step in and put a stop to the over kill of deer...

... according to the DEEP website “Coyotes were first reported in Connecticut in the mid-1950s. For the next 10 years, most coyote reports were from northwestern Connecticut,” the site states. “Coyotes eventually expanded their range throughout the entire state and are now a part of Connecticut’s ecosystem.” ...

My compliments to Davy and Daniel December 8, 2014 Connecticut, Meriden Record-Journal
... The original black powder season in Connecticut was intended to promote the use of primitive firearms to take a deer with. You were limited as to the type of muzzleloader that could be used and many things that would benefit the user were frowned upon.  

Connecticut Deer Herd Numbers December 6, 2014 Outdoor Escapes
... It will be interesting to see what the harvest numbers look like for the season. My guess is they will be down quite a bit from recent years. Talking to several friends they are all experiencing the same thing while out in the woods. Less deer sighted per day...

How deer have decimated our woodlands November 29, 2014 Connecticut, Suffolk Times
... Over the past 10 years, studies in the Pine Barrens, at Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island and at various Southold properties have documented the nearly complete loss of our understory [Over this period, the Connecticut deer population has plummeted according to deer researchers.  The loss of understory cannot be inferred as a problem of deer overpopulation without adequate research .. acid rain, global warming ... ] ...

Ridgefield, Town considers use of guns for deer hunt at golf course November 24, 2014 Connecticut, The Ridgefield Press 
... The damage is not limited to greens. Also affected are tee complexes, fairways and many shrubs ... some 236 deer were killed by hunting in Ridgefield last year ...

A-hunting We Will Go November 22, 2014 Connecticut, theday.com 
... According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the number of licensed sportsmen hunting and fishing in Connecticut each year has declined from about 300,000 in the early 1990s to about 200,000 today...

Open season on deer in Connecticut November 20, 2014 foxct.com 
... Hunters in Connecticut can kill two deer per season, and only one of them can be a buck. But, due to overpopulation in Fairfield County, hunters there can take an additional two does for a total of four deer...

Moose Spotted in North Haven November 20, 2014 Connecticut, NBC Connecticut
... Authorities said the moose was trying to cross Route 22 near Interstate 91 and it's possible this is the same moose spotted in Cheshire last week.

Weston,Devil's Den to close weekdays for annual limited deer hunt November 13, 2014 Connecticut, The Redding Pilot
... The Nature Conservancy will hold its annual controlled deer hunt at Devil’s Den Preserve in Weston ... held each fall since 2001 ... 

Connecticut's Extremely Efficient Deer-Killer October 27, 2014 Connecticut, CT Now
... DeNicola estimates he's been responsible for the deaths of about 10,000 deer since he began his Connecticut-based nonprofit wildlife control company in 1995... He does not consider what he does to be hunting ...  plastic bag was placed over the head of the animal to keep blood and brains from spreading across the park playing field where the deer was killed...

More land, legal changes boost Conn. bow hunting October 25, 2014 Connectictut, CT Post
... With firearms, one needs to be at least 500 feet away from a house. There's no such restriction with bows... A crossbow bolt is nowhere near as fast as a bullet, and deer move at the twang of a string, which can cause a missed shot ...

Deer hunters' antler obsession all nonsense October 13, 2014 Connecticut, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
... "You can't eat antlers," Nishan often explains. He hunts to stock his freezer and could care less if a deer made the Pope & Young or Boone & Crockett record books. In fact, he'd prefer a doe, yearling, or button buck for superior flavor and tenderness... We develop obsessions for big antlers, which are barometers of our skills. Old deer are smart deer — usually outwitting us at every turn...

DEEP Announces Opening Days of Firearms Hunting Seasons October 4, 2014 Connecticut, The Ridgefield Press
... The statewide firearms deer hunting season begins Wednesday, November 19...  The 2014 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide ...  on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting.

Wilton, Controlled deer hunt begins again in Wilton October 4, 2014 Connecticut, The Hour Online
... “On average, Wilton has about 200 deer harvested, with 50 taken in the controlled hunt,” ... We have to take the deer from town because deer don’t migrate... We need to take out about 300 deer annually, over seven to 10 years ... Sesto also wants residents to consider allowing hunters to use their properties in town for bow and gun hunting...

Ridgefield, Selectmen approve deer hunt October 2, 2014 Connecticut, The Ridgefield Press
... state officials had told them the town would have to continue to reduce the herd by about 300 deer a year in order to see a significant population decline, or to be able to change  from aggressive culling to a maintenance operation.  “You’re saying you have to hunt 300 deer forever,” said Selectwoman Barbara Manners ...

Connecticut Data:  An unofficial estimate of 60,000 deer in the state in 2014.  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. The first statewide deer hunt in recent history was opened in the 1970s. 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.

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