Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CONNECTICUT NEWS: Local Deer Management Committees Address Overpopulation

Deer hunting will go on six days a week in the Bennett’s Pond open space this fall.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that Bennett’s Pond State Park will be open to archery deer hunting throughout the statewide season from Sept. 15 to Dec. 30.

The property will still be open to hikers, according to DEP Spokesman Dennis Schain, but will be posted with signs informing the public that bow hunters could be using the property. “We typically post signs at trail heads, with information about hunting,” Mr. Schain said.

Bennett’s Pond State Park is a 460-acre property off Bennett’s Farm Road, known for many years as the IBM property. The town acquired the land through eminent domain from the developer Eureka V LLC, and then sold it to the state in 2003, recouping about $4 million of the $11.5 million cost. The property is managed by the DEP Parks Division.

There is also a “controlled hunt” planned later in the fall on the town’s nearby Hemlock Hills open space, a 320-acre tract. That hunt, organized by the town’s Deer Management Committee, will go on from Nov. 16 through Dec. 19, and will involve selected hunters, using firearms, on weekdays.

Dale May, director of DEP’s Wildlife Division, said the work of the town’s deer management committee — and the blossoming deer population the committee is attempting to address — had been a factor in the state’s decision to open Bennett’s Pond to hunting.

“The locally abundant deer population has over-browsed much of the understory vegetation at Bennett’s Pond. Permitting archery deer hunting on this land will contribute to local deer management efforts and will assist in our stewardship of the property. It will also contribute to reducing deer population growth in Ridgefield.”
Over the past 10 years, he noted, Ridgefield has consistently ranked as the town with the highest number of reported deer-vehicle accidents.

Ridgefield is one of several towns in Fairfield County that have appointed a local deer committees to assess the deer population problem, review options, and provide deer management recommendations. Other towns that are having organized hunts include Wilton, Darien and Greenwich.

© Copyright 2006 by Hersam Acorn newspapers

ONTARIO NEWS: Season Liberalization in Response to Overpopulation

The Sunday gun hunt is coming to Ottawa.

The Ontario Government is expanding Sunday gun hunting rights to about 99 municipalities and townships across the province this September. The new rules will allow hunters, providing they abide by local bylaws, to hunt on Sunday's this season.

Minister of Natural Resources David Ramsay says the province is looking to hunters to help control the deer population. Ramsay says an explosion in the deer population has led to increased crop damage and a spike in vehicle collisions. According to the Ministry of Transportation, Ottawa leads the province in the number of vehicle collisions with wildlife per year.