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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