Deputy Deer Warden
(203) 948 2844
REDDING'S CONTROLLED DEER HUNTS
The Conservation Commission requested and approved managed deer hunts on certain Redding public lands in 2005 at the request of residents hoping to significantly reduce the deer population of Redding. A deer warden was appointed to oversee these hunts. While progress has been made in protecting these individual parcels from deer damage, these hunts have been insufficient to prevent a further rise in town-wide deer population levels.
The Town's current goal is to reduce deer from the excessive levels (around 75 deer per sq mile according to the 2011 flyover by the state’s DEEP Wildlife division) that are causing destruction of the woodlands with loss of plants and birds, high numbers of deer-vehicle accidents and the spread of Lyme disease. The aim is to reduce deer numbers to a level that is compatible with balance in the forest, protection of water quality (deer damage to plants causes erosion in watershed areas), reduction of road accidents with deer and the halting of Lyme disease. Studies across New England have shown that deer densities of 10 – 12 per sq mile will not allow the successful breeding of ticks or the spread of Lyme disease.
We recognize that this is an ambitious plan but one that is essential to the preservation of healthy biodiversity in the woodlands, and of public health and safety. This goal was adopted by the Town Planning Commission as part of our 10 year Town Plan of Conservation and Development in 2008 (see page 19 or page 22 in the online version: http://www.townofreddingct.org/Public_Documents/ReddingCT_Planning/Redding_Town_Plan_2008.pdf) and endorsed by the Board of Selectmen in 2010.
The Board of Selectmen then invited the Connecticut Dept of Environmental Protection (now the DEEP) in early 2011 to advise the Town on how to achieve this goal. The DEEP designed and implemented a very thorough mail survey of residents over the spring and summer and are currently analyzing the results in preparation for making recommendations in October.
Managed bow hunting of deer will occur again on Town parcels this year from September 15, 2011 until January 31, 2012, pending the recommendations of the DEEP in October 2011. Each parcel will have notices posted that hunting is in progress at that time.
The safety of this program is of primary importance. The entrances to these Town properties are all posted with red/orange warning signs (see example on web site). The areas will not be closed to the public during the hunts but walkers are advised to stay on the trails and to keep dogs on the trails if within these areas. The management effort takes place in select areas of the parcels, away from the edges, away from trails and from any neighboring residences. Bow hunting takes place from elevated portable tree stands set up in trees 15 ft or so above ground with the hunters shooting down directly at their targets. The hunters participating in the controlled hunt are giving their time and effort as volunteers, performing a valuable community service.
VENISON DONATION PROGRAM
A proportion of the venison obtained from Redding's town hunts and from private property harvests will again be donated to a "Hunters for the Hungry" program that allows donations of venison for distribution to local charities and food pantries. To help facilitate this and allow hunters to continue deer control instead of spending time processing the meat, we ask that private donations of any amount be made to cover the cost of professional butchering ($70 per deer). Checks can be sent year round made out to "Venison Donation Program, Town of Redding" and sent to Venison Donation Program c/o, Stephen Gniadek, Controller, Town Hall, P.O. Box 1028 Redding, CT 06875-1028
PRIVATE LAND DEER MANAGEMENT
Hunting will also continue on private land from September 15, 2011 pending any suggestions resulting from the DEEP survey. As 70% of Redding is private residential land and only 5% is town owned, access granted by private landowners is extremely important to the success of the deer reduction program. Choosing a hunter who is motivated to remove as many deer as possible, particularly female deer, is also important.
If you have a parcel that routinely hosts a number of deer and has suitable trees for siting an elevated tree stand in a secluded area, please let the deer wardens know. There is no minimum acreage required.
Any questions or concerns and to take part in the effort to save our woodlands and stop Lyme disease, please contact Redding’s representative to the regional Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance (203) 423 0840 or the Redding deer warden's office: (203) 948 2844