Weston Selectmen OK Controlled Deer Hunt

Hunting season kicks off Sept. 15.


To help curb the spread of Lyme disease and other ticke-borne illnesses, many argue controlling the deer population is necessary. At its regular meeting on Thursday, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to allow controlled bow-and-arrow deer hunts to take place on two parcels of town land in Weston to do just that. 

"I always have an emotional issue with killing these innocent animals, but at the end of the day I do feel that we do have to look at what’s good for the greater good and I do agree with what you’re trying to accomplish by having the controlled hunt," First Selectman Gayle Weinstein told before siding with Selectmen Dennis Tracey and David Muller to approve the hunt.  

Harper told the selectmen there's an overpopulation of deer in Fairfield County and that Weston needs to do its part to help control the problem.

"We've been successful every year," he said. 

Hunting takes place on the Fromson-Strassler property and at the transfer station, Harper said.

Tracey asked Harper whether residents should be concerned for their safety or the safety of their pets.

Harper said he requires hunters to go in tree stands which are elevated 15 to 20 feet above the ground, forcing them to shoot at a downward angle with no ricochets.

"The places that we hunt are off the beaten trail; no one is walking through there," he said. "We haven't had any run-ins with anyone over the last five years. It's been a good, successful, safe operation."

Weinstein said there would be no more than three hunters allowed at the transfer station and no more than four allowed at the Fromson-Strassler property at any given time. 

Last year, Weinstein said she met with all the hunters before signing off on their permits for the first time.

"I spoke to the hunters and found out a little about their background and made sure I felt comfortable," she said. "We definitely put some good controls in place."

Tracey also wondered if there'd be signs put in place to warn people of the hunts taking place.

Harper said area residents would be notified at least five days in advance of the scheduled hunts.

Hunting season begins Sept. 15 and lasts through the end of January. 


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Chuck E. Arla September 14, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Ellen L. Are you channeling Linda Joan . . .or did she beat you in posting your obviously supplied talking points?? The point remains: Do you think the deer stop at the town line???
Jean Marie Wiesen September 14, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Hunting in 2 tiny parcels of land will accomplish squat for the entire town of Weston. It's not like the deer congregate in those particular areas and that's it; they go where they please, they don't require permits. I've had 2 family members who've dealt w/ Lyme disease, so when I'm in the woods, which I am on a daily basis, I take precautions. I have pets and I take the same precautions w/ them, as we all should: it's what's known as checking yourselves. In short, taking responsibility for one's actions. Well, there's a nifty concept! As for deer vs. car, here's a thought, slow the hell down and pay attention to the sides of the road especially now w/ rutting season coming upon us. When a car coming in the opposite direction is flashing their lights, it's not b/c a cop is sitting there waiting to give you a ticket, it very well could be b/c several deer are crossing the road. There are many responsible hunters and some who are not. I've met the angry ones who are pissed off when they come out of a hunt empty handed and then are quite willing to shoot at just about anything, including dogs and apologize later. I've also run into hunters who've intentionally gone into non-hunting areas, poaching and told me to 'eff off, and these are guys w/ permits, so please don't spout off about how they're all responsible, b/c they aren't just b/c they've got a permit. Doesn't fly. No different than a driver w/ a license being responsible. Good drivers & bad drivers.
Peter September 14, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Implementing a hunting program indicates that the Town government is impotent to resolve perceived problems in the human-wildlife dynamic. Towns choose it because it convinces the public that "something is being done." There is no evidence that any Fairfield County town has meaningfully reduced its deer population through hunting, nor impacted its LD statistics. Statewide, deer populations are stable, but LD incidence is rising. You can crush LD incidence tomorrow: with some simple education about "check yourself" within the first 24 hours after possible exposure (IF the tick was infected). Kids are the easiest to teach. And kids wouldn't endorse killing animals to solve problems. There isn't much science in these comments, just a lot of hostility and foolishness.
Linda Joan September 14, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I wish deer did understand town lines and could all leave Weston during the hunt! Having said that with all of these towns allowing hunting, certainly county-wide we would see a deer population decrease and subsequently lower rates of Lyme if hunting were the solution to the problem. Which obviously has not been the outcome.
Chuck E. Arla September 14, 2012 at 05:37 PM
If only the deer were impotent, too.
Chuck E. Arla September 14, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Well if you really believe in the balance of nature what Fairfield County is lacking are predators for the deer....over and above cars and the once in a blue moon authorized culling hunts. What do you say we import a few wolves? We're already witnessing a growing coyote problem....let's go all the way. Nature's rules, so Nature Rules!
Alexander Davis September 14, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Many studies have shown that reducing the deer population reduces the tick population. However, the deer population must be reduced to 6-8 deer per square mile and maintained at that level. Many think hunting alone cannot achieve this and that the best solution is clover traps, fenced-in areas into which deer are lured by food and shot by sharpshooters. Ideally this should be done on a regional basis so that deer from neighboring areas don't move in.
Alexander Davis September 14, 2012 at 11:04 PM
As I mentioned above, to meaningfully reduce tick density, (as noted by Cornell wildlife expert Paul Curtis in The New YorkTimes 5/30/12), deer populations must be reduced to 6-8 per square mile and maintained at that level. This has not been done in the areas you mention. Picking off a few deer here and there is useless. Meanwhile lives are being ruined by these hideous diseases. It's a health crisis.
Alexander Davis September 14, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Just because you've been lucky so far doesn't mean this will continue. Most people never see the tick which infects them, which is usually the poppy seed-sized nymph. Many also miss the rash which can be small and in an obscure place or non-existent. People may not know they've been infected for months or years by which time they may be untreatable. The age group at highest risk is those 5-14. Many believe dowsing children with pesticides is harmful in the long run. The deer may be graceful and all that, but they have deprived us of enjoying nature. Furthermore they come crashing out onto the road and hit even the safest drivers. Obviously you've been lucky so far there too but this also might not last: the deer population can potentially double each year.
Alexander Davis September 14, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Do you realize how difficult it is to find a poppy seed on the scalp (assuming the person isn't bald)? I suppose that's the next thing the deer will require: all children must shave their heads. Kids will not endorse killing animals, but do they endorse killing people? Deer ticks carry not just Lyme but also babesiosis and anaplasmosis, both of which can be fatal. The August 7 Annals of Internal Medicine refers to a study showing "tick checks" don't reduce the incidence of Lyme. The best prevention is avoiding areas where ticks are. This means avoiding areas where deer are. The higher the deer density, the higher the tick density.
Jean Marie Wiesen September 14, 2012 at 11:46 PM
According to your theory, Alexander, I can't go out my front/side door, since the ticks are in my yard. Oh well, guess I shall live the remainder of my days, indoors. Wow, that's gonna be a long time. Do you realize how uninformed that sounds? Hope so. Thus far, I've either been lucky or excellent at checking myself following my daily hikes. I'll go w/ the latter. I've found ticks & removed them w/ no difficulty. You're incorrect in that if they're found within 24 hrs. of biting, according to the WWHD, they do not cause LD as opposed to years later as you stated. You might want to get your facts straight. We all know they carry other diseases, too. Media's been great about informing us, but thank you. Stupid statements, such as what deer require really aren't helpful, but I suspect that was to incite and not to assist. Thus far, deer haven't deprived me of anything, sorry you're in such a state to not enjoy nature. Thanks, A Schuyler and Peter for your comments.
Alexander Davis September 14, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Because you have escaped so far you seem to have no concern for those whose lives have been ruined by the deer tick. Don't be so boastful because one poppy seed-sized tick can ruin your life. On Monhegan Island Maine the wise residents ended their Lyme epidemic by removing all the deer. Careers have been ended, childhoods missed, and lives wasted because of this disease. It's disgusting that some people think we must live with a deer epidemic and give up enjoying the great outdoors.
Jean Marie Wiesen September 15, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Apparently, Alexander, your comprehension skills are rusty, I stated, earlier that 2 family members had experienced LD. Your implication that I do not care for my family is < disgusting. I enjoy the outdoors on a daily basis, as I've said, repeatedly, but you apparently missed that, as well. Bless you, dear troll.
Alexander Davis September 15, 2012 at 01:27 AM
It is sad that you have either forgotten or never known what it was like before the deer invasion. I grew up in rural CT spending my childhood happily exploring woods and fields, never seeing a deer or a tick. We enjoyed nature in a relaxed peaceful state of mind. There were no potentially fatal or devastating illnesses lurking under every leaf. I do have my facts straight. Since most Lyme victims never even see the tick that infects them, it's clear that a lot miss early treatment. It's also sad to see children having to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts on hot days and having to be dowsed with potentially harmful pesticides. You think life in Lymeland is wonderful. I do not.
Alexander Davis September 15, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Really, Schuler, your primitive language matches your thinking. Also, you don't really believe you contracted Lyme in a city do you? Pamela Weintraub, author of "Cure Unknown", moved to New York City to escape her woodsy, deer-infested, tick-infested yard and has been quoted as saying that if there were a $20 bill on the lawn in her old yard she would let it stay there. Such yards have been described as toxic dumps covered with the millions of tick eggs deposited there by your friends the deer.
Jean Marie Wiesen September 15, 2012 at 01:47 AM
It's been taken care of, A Schuyler, so don't reply to him anymore, okay. Have a great evening :)
Linda Joan September 15, 2012 at 02:12 AM
I have a suggestion. How about trying to figure out a way to kill the ticks and not the deer!? Do we kill dogs to get rid of fleas? I think we need to look at the real enemy here and focus our efforts accordingly!
Alexander Davis September 15, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Your comparison of deer to dogs is faulty because we have Frontline for dogs but not for deer. The 4-posters which kill ticks on deer are very expensive and serve to maintain or increase the deer population. Deer should be confined to isolated preserves where they cannot spread tick eggs around neighborhoods and where people are warned to venture at their own risk.
Peter September 15, 2012 at 06:13 PM
The "Frontline" applied through a 4-poster device is intended to repel/kill ticks, not to "maintain or increase the deer population." What a ridiculous statement. Neither do deer "spread tick eggs" because ticks lay their eggs on the ground.
Alexander Davis September 15, 2012 at 07:44 PM
The 4-posters feed the deer. Feeding deer serves to maintain or increase their population. 95% of egg-laying adult ticks are hosted by deer. Deer host thousands of adult ticks per season, and each female tick lays up to 3000 eggs. Thus deer are the tick-egg spreaders.
Peter September 16, 2012 at 02:37 AM
The 4-poster is a device used to impart the insecticide/repellent to the deer. The method to attract the deer to the device itself is to provide a food, (generally corn). To assert that the 4-poster is therefore a device to "maintain or increase" a deer population is plain idiocy, as is the subsequent assertion about "tick-egg spreaders," and this "debate" has de-volved into pointlessness.
Alexander Davis September 16, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Obviously the 4-poster kills ticks as I noted in my comment yesterday. However along with killing the ticks it also feeds the deer.
Alexander Davis September 16, 2012 at 09:16 AM
It is not pointless to point out the deer's key role in spreading tick eggs. Estimates are that ticks from one deer per season can produce up to a million eggs. As the deer parade through our yard they drop off the swollen pregnant female ticks who then coat the yard with tick eggs. These eggs develop into ticks which can infect us with potentially fatal diseases right in our own yard. The animal rights mafia protects the tick-egg-spreaders' right to infect us.
Justin Reynolds (Editor) September 16, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Two comments have been removed from this thread for violating Patch's Terms of Use. It's okay to be passionate about something, but let's remember to be civil. To view the terms of use, visit http://weston-ct.patch.com/terms
Peter September 16, 2012 at 09:02 PM
The 4-poster has a specific purpose. Refusing to acknowledge the science and biology of this issue makes a reasoned and reasonable discussion impossible. It's amazing that some are so consumed with hostility and the desire to punish and avenge that they will advocate killing rather than a simple "tick check" within 24 hours after possible exposure, or, to investigate many of the readily available remedies or methodologies for clearing a "yard" of ticks. Oh well. The statement "The animal rights mafia protects the tick-egg-spreaders' right to infect us" speaks for itself. Have the last word if you want, but that sort of bluster makes hunting advocates cringe, even if you don't want to admit it.
Jean Marie Wiesen September 16, 2012 at 09:27 PM
http://21stcenturydeer.org/Alternatives.html Here's a link to an article that I think everyone should read, as it points directly to what Peter's been talking about, the 4 poster insecticide. Great stuff, Peter! It also specifies that culling hunts are redundant and cyclical, meaning that all it will accomplish is making room for additional deer to move into the vacated areas that the killed off deer have left. Please read it. Stick around, Peter, you've got wonderful insight.
Alexander Davis September 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Peter, in my comment 9/14/12 11:21PM, I specifically stated that 4-posters kill ticks on deer. Indeed their development proves the point that the ticks spread by deer are of utmost importance in causing tick-borne illness. However, they are expensive to buy and maintain. Moreover, these devices lure deer by feeding them. This serves to maintain or increase the population. Regarding tick checks, the August 7 Annals of Internal Medicine refers to a study showing that tick checks do not reduce the incidence of Lyme disease. They are of course recommended but are not the answer.
Alexander Davis September 17, 2012 at 12:29 AM
This pro-deer article you cite is highly flawed. The truth is that the denser the deer population, the denser the tick population, and the higher the incidence of tick-borne illnesses, as well as vegetative damage by deer and deer/vehicle collisions. The article states that killing deer will not decrease the incidence of deer/vehicle collisions. In some parts of the country there are 200 deer/square mile. To say that lowering this to 6 deer/square mile will not decrease deer/vehicle collisions is nonsense. The article promotes the 4-posters. Obviously their purpose is to decrease the ticks on deer which are spreading tick-borne diseases (which the article says doesn't happen). Consider the map of Maine. In some counties there are many deer and a high incidence of Lyme disease. In other counties there are just 1-2 deer per square mile and almost no Lyme disease. Deer may not harbor Lyme bacteria as mice do, but ticks from deer produce the eggs from which the ticks on mice develop. Without ticks, infected mice are zero threat to us. Consider ticks to be like dirty needles. Deer are the source of 95% of the tick eggs.
Alexander Davis September 17, 2012 at 09:08 AM
Renowned entomologist Dr. Kirby Stafford explains in this one minute video the importance of the deer in the tick life cycle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_fNtkOLdvc
Bill Johnson September 21, 2012 at 08:31 AM
Here's the question you need to ask: Is Gayle Weinstein a vegetarian or a hypocrite?


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