Connecticut Deer: A state estimated in 2021 for a three year average deer population of 101,000. A rough estimate from the state that put the deer population at about 100,000 in early 2016 and mid-2017, but an analysis by a private group puts the number at 50,000 in 2016. Another state expert notes that the population has plunged. Mild winters and abundant acorn crops in 2016-17 and 2015-16 have benefited the deer herd with the population increasing into 2017. The state estimated recent peak population was about 126,000 in 2004.
What makes coyotes so prevalent January 22, 2022 Connecticut, StamfordAdvocate
... migrated eastward into the state about 70 years ago ... Federal programs today now kill about 500,000 coyotes annually. Colburn said hunters and trappers in Connecticut kill 400 to 600 a year — about a 10th of the 4,000 to 6,000 coyotes in the state...
Deer rescued from ice of frozen pond in Connecticut January 6, 2022 UPI.com
... The Wolcott Police Department said in a Facebook post ...the deer was spotted stranded on the ice of the frozen pond ..
Connecticut Data: The state estimates the deer population at about 101,000 for 2019 through 2021. The big drop in the 2021 archery hunt was attributed to weather and a good acorn crop. The deer kill has been trending slightly lower over the period. The 2018 population benefited from recent mild winters, but faced a lower acorn crop.
Mild winters and abundant acorn crops in 2016-17 and 2015-16 benefited the deer herd. 2020 Deer Summary A a rough estimate from the state in early 2016 and mid 2017 of about 100,000. A state estimate of 126,000 deer in 2006 .
A hunting group observes that Connecticut had 62,189 deer (per statewide aerial deer survey) in 2007; since then Connecticut has seen a decline in the deer population and harvest of approximately 20%; leaving Connecticut with an estimated 50,000 deer or 10 dpsm in 2016. The lower estimate is more consistent with the decline in reported deer vehicle collisions from about a decade ago. DVC s (deer vehicle collisions) in Connecticut in 2000 were 3,089 and in 2015 there were 749; a decrease of 76% over 15 years. The 2015 harvest was 66.2% percent of the peak in 2004. The increase in the 2016 harvest is attributed to a poor acorn crop that forced deer to more around more as well as several mild winters increasing fawn survival.
The record acorn crop in 2015 reduced deer movement and contributed to the lower harvest, but the legalization of Sunday hunting increased the number of hunting days which would increase the harvest. Hunters reported reduced deer in 2015. A 2015 study put the 90-day fawn survival rate at 0.22, down from 0.66 and 0.40 in the previous three years, related to the increase in predators. The last official State estimate was 126,000 in 2006; yet the last State aerial survey showed only 62,189 deer statewide. Connecticut has made a habit of using the 2X factor on their deer population over the last 15 years to estimate from survey. In 2014, a state expert (Scott Williams) concluded that the deer population has plunged. A population of about 120,000 around 2001. Most deer hunting is on private land.
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. 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 controversy 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. An estimated 3,700 deer killed by vehicles in 2016. In 2014 there were 1,081 deer vehicle collisions reported [page 20].
Historic deer harvest and permits from the DEEP 2020 Deer summary
History 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. Unregulated hunting from about 1700 into the early 1900s reduced the herd to just a few deer.
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) first reported in the state in 2017, usually found to the south, but a likely result of climate change.
Coyotes migrated eastward into the state about 70 years ago. In early 2022 an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 coyotes in the state. The eastern coyotes are larger, having some dog and wolf DNA.
Other useful links:
- Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (also the Connecticut Division of Wildlife and the Connecticut Fisheries Division)