Patricia Sesto

Town of Ridgefield Official web site: www.ridgefieldct.org/government/committees/index.htm

Deer Committee: http://jackfsanders.tripod.com/deer/

Update September 22 2007
Town allows deer hunts
By Susan Tuz 

RIDGEFIELD -- A controlled deer hunt has been approved for a second year in Ridgefield.
On Wednesday night, the town's selectmen approved the hunt in a 3-2 vote.

Selectwoman Di Masters voted against the hunt because she only approves of gun hunting. Selectwoman Barbara Manners voted against it because she is opposed to hunting in general.

"This is a sensitive area, but there are significant cases of Lyme disease in Ridgefield," said Selectwoman Joan Plock, who voted for the hunt. "We all love deer. They're pretty to look at, but people matter more."

The controlled hunts will take place on four parcels. Bowhunting will occur on three parcels -- Levy Park (morning only), Canterbury Turtle Court and Spectacle Swamp -- from Oct. 15 to Dec. 18.

A shotgun hunt will be held at Hemlock Hills from Nov. 14 to Dec. 5. and a muzzleloader hunt is set for Hemlock Hills from Dec. 5 to 18.

Tree stands will be used by bowhunters, who will shoot from about 15 to 20 yards.

Tom Belote, chairman of the Deer Management Implementation Committee, which oversees the hunt, said from this range and with the "sophisticated" bows and arrows used by approved hunters, "deer do not run a distance (after being hit with the arrow). Often they collapse on contact."
"Bowhunting is considered an effective and humane way of doing this," Belote said.
Belote stressed, as with last year's controlled hunt, hunting will not occur on weekends or when children are out of school. Residents who live around the affected parcels will be notified, and spotters will be on hand.

Stefano Zandry has been named hunt master again this year. He and Belote, as well as Ridgefield police officers, will patrol the areas of the hunts.
Participating hunters will be screened by the Department of Environmental Protection, the Deer Management Implementation Committee, and Ridgefield police.

A vote held in fall 2005 drew more than 700 residents who approved the hunt by a 5-to-1 margin, but there is still some opposition.

"Last year, I was dismayed and disappointed in the vote to allow hunting of one of the most peaceful creatures in the world," Lynn Schneider wrote First Selectman Rudy Marconi. "Last year, I was appalled as the sound of gunfire broke the peace of my sanctuary where I hike every morning. "How disturbing it would be for me to see hunters up in trees aiming at a deer, or watch an arrow take its mark ... or see a hunter dragging his prize back to his car," she continued.

Wildlife biologist Howard Kilpatrick of the DEP said hunts -- both bow and firearm -- are the best way to reduce deer herd overpopulation. He cited early DEP-managed hunts, like one at Groton Long Point in 1999, when only 22 deer were taken in an archery hunt.

"We learned from that (the) deer realized the areas that were closed to hunting and migrated there, away from the hunters. We learned that if you want to maximize the outcome, you have to expand the area hunted," Kilpatrick said.

"That's why, two years later, we added Mumford Cove to the hunt and it was effective, reducing the deer herd by 88 percent in 10 days of hunting both with bow and firearm." Lyme disease fell in that community by 83% as a result of the deer population reduction.


The Ridgefield
Deer Management

The findings of the Deer Committee

Minutes of Deer Committee meetings

Contact us



Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance reports.

A Ridgefield High School ninth grader does a research paper on deer in town.

Talk by Dr. Georgina Scholl

Audubon Greenwich's deer management plan

What's planned there?

State's official information on White-tailed Deer(PDF file).

State Health Department information.


Information on Ridgefield's government.

The Ridgefield Deer Committee
Page updated June 8, 2006


The original Ridgefield Deer Committee, which had its first meeting Sept. 29, 2004, was established by the Board of Selectmen to determine the extent of the overpopulation of White-tailed Deer in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and if and how the town should deal with the problem.

On June 27, 2005, the committee voted 17 to 1 to approve a report that contains many recommendations, including controlled hunting on town-owned property. The report, viewable through a link at the left, was presented to the Board of Selectmen Wednesday, July 6.

The selectmen then created a smaller deer management committee to implement some or all of the recommendations in the committee's report. Its first recommendation was to allow controlled hunts of deer on certain town-owned open spaces.

On May 31, 2006, more than 700 Ridgefielders attended a town meeting and voted overwhelmingly to permit controlled hunts on open spaces, to be determined by the committee and the Conservation Commission.

The first controlled hunt may take place in September 2006.

To learn more about the about the issue of deer, visit the links at the left.

If you are a hunter who feels qualified to be considered for the controlled hunts, send a letter with your background to: 
Ridgefield Deer Management Committee
Town Hall
400 Main Street
Ridgefield CT 06877

Questions and comments on the deer issue may e-mailed via the link ("Contact Us") at the left. Do not send hunting requests to this address.