State must reduce deer population

Maggie Shaw, Newtown

Letters to the Editor: NewsTimesLive
State must reduce deer population 

Nov 28 2006

A 1999 survey by Danbury Hospital regarding health concerns of area residents ranked Lyme disease No. 1 among callers for five consecutive years.

Last year, the number of Lyme disease cases in Connecticut dramatically increased by 34 percent.

An out-of-control deer population means an increasing number of people will contract Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, most in their own back yard.

A presentation by Kirby C. Stafford III, chief scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, states "for adult female ticks (who can lay 2,000 eggs or more) to lay eggs, they must have a blood meal from a large mammal. Here in our area, the host is commonly the white-tailed deer. This is the basis for the close link between deer and Lyme disease in Connecticut.

"In the past 15 years, there has been a dramatic rise in deer population in Fairfield County and this has been accompanied by a rapid rise in the cases of Lyme disease."

Most of the other efforts listed to reduce tick populations, such as the deer 4-poster device and mouse bait boxes, will, as Stafford states, "have no effect on the exponential growth of deer population here, which is the most important factor underlying the current Lyme epidemic."

We, as communities, must organize and investigate management and control to decrease the deer population.

We should consider models, strategies and science used by other towns that are realizing the impact of the overpopulation of deer on its residents and environment (such as Ridgefield, Redding, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton, Weston and Greenwich).

Lyme disease is a public health crisis in Connecticut left unchecked by our state Department of Public Health. Instead of decreasing, it has escalated to a critical point.

We can no longer afford to allow this disease to run rampant. The health and safety of our children, families and communities is at stake.

Maggie Shaw