Beginning November 9, 2010 and continuing 3 days a week through mid- December, Darien Land Trust Dunlap Woods and Town of Darien Selleck’s Woods will be closed to the public so that bow hunters can mercilessly mutilate and slaughter deer once again. This is an unnecessary assault on deer who live in the last remnants of undeveloped land in Darien. The killing began in 2005 and the perceived problems that are behind this dangerous, thoughtless plan have not changed, yet deer- hunting continues ““ unchallenged by town officials.

Please contact the following people ,and ask them to halt the wrong- headed scheme before any deer are killed this year:

Friends of Selleck’s Woods
Chris Filmer, President
10 Harriet Lane, Darien, CT 06820

Darien Land Trust, Inc.
Shirley Nichols, Executive Director
P.O. Box 1074, Darien, CT 06820

David Campbell, First Selectman

Darien Parks and Recreation Office

Friends of Animals acknowledges the inherent value of deer in Fairfield County, as well as their participation in the ecology. This means transcending the reliance on hunting and other forms of human management and control over deer populations.

Rather than talk up perceived problems, then continue a cycle of expense, force, and harm, we believe that Darien can and should commit to the sensible and responsible approach. This would involve understanding the natural tendency of deer to balance their numbers.
If tension related to deer is a problem for Darien, the best answers begin by acknowledging that hunting contributes to the imbalance.

The call to manage is historically a product of practices that manipulate deer for the benefit of shooters who want targets. They are part of the problem, not the cure. As for bow-hunted deer, they have been seen bleeding with arrows stuck in their flesh for two miles before the arrow’s owner can climb down from a tree stand and catch up and finally cut the panicked animal’s neck. When New Canaan allowed bow-hunting, Friends of Animals took telephone calls from shocked residents with bleeding deer struggling on their lawns.

No wonder hunting is losing its appeal in our state ““mirroring a country-wide trend that has seen the hunting community wane for two more decades. Follow the money to understand why such a hobby gets backing from Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection.
The agency benefits from hunter licensing fees and federal excise taxes on weapons and ammunition.

Fewer than 1 percent of Connecticut residents hunt. According to the national Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 12.5 million U.S. residents purchased hunting licenses in
2006 ““ a decline of 10 percent from 1996. In contrast, 71 million U.S.
residents identify ourselves as people who love to observe and photograph birds and other free-living animals.

Since it’s no longer widely acceptable to call hunting recreation, hunters invent social benefits to justify deer control. We hear about the need to defend wildflowers from over-browsing. We hear about heading off collisions between automobiles and deer. We’re told hunters feed the hungry. We hear that hunters protect our communities form Lyme disease.

• Does the deer population need to be controlled? Nature ensures that the deer population is limited by available food, territory, and winter weather conditions, which restrict both food and range. Well- fed deer naturally have more fawns than those living where food and leafy shelter is less plentiful. As the size of the deer community increases, there is less food and leafy shelter available for each deer. Numerous studies have shown that both the reproductive rate and the survival rate of deer will then decrease. Thus, a natural balance.

• Do deer cause deforestation? Generally, no, as deer eat only plants within about two yards from the ground. Also the range for deer is limited because deer need trails and openings to get to plants. The major cause of deforestation is the human population.

• Do deer transmit Lyme disease? No. Lyme disease is transmitted by the black-legged ticks that carry the disease when immature, on smaller host animals than deer such as songbirds and mice. The transmission of disease depends on the tick, not the deer. Deer do not carry or transmit Lyme bacteria either; they are simply one of many food sources for the adult ticks, including humans and dogs.

• How can we prevent the tragedy of deer being hit along roadways?
Prevention techniques include driving more slowly and staying aware of surroundings, towns/cities installation reflectors along roadways, regular road maintenance and speed limit reduction.

• Will killing deer result in fewer car collisions? The logical answer is NO. In 2002, Friends of Animals surveyed state wildlife departments regarding these collisions. Our findings indicate that hunting deer exacerbates the movement of deer during the November mating season, and that deer-car collision are most prevalent from October ““ December hunting season as hunters prompt deer to flee without caution.

Many thanks,

Priscilla Feral

Friends of Animals