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Wanted: Hunting on Private Property

Wilton's Deer Committee hopes to connect private property owners with local hunters.

Deer-inundated landowner seeking responsible, conservation minded hunter.

It's not quite eHarmony, but linking private landowners with hunters is the goal of the Wilton Deer Committee. It's ecological matchmaking designed to reduce the deer population.  And ideally, any relationships forged will be long-term.

"This year we're working with private residences to allow hunting on their property," said Pat Sesto, Director of Environmental Affairs for Wilton. "But we're not advocating everybody go out and get a hunter. We are not facilitating recreational hunting."

Those hunting on private land must agree to the same time commitment as hunting town-owned land. This is the only way to effectively reduce the deer population from the current 29 per square mile to the recommended ten per square mile, said Sesto.

The Deer Committee recommends landowners interview hunters before granting access.  Both parties must know Connecticut's hunting regulations, including seasons and legal times for hunting.

There isn't a minimum acreage for bow hunting, but there is a ten-acre minimum for rifle. People should walk their property with potential hunters; not every property is suitable for hunting.

Many Wilton hunters donate extra venison to area food banks, so if you do allow hunting on your property, you may be doing good for the community in more ways than one.

Joe Tucker, a hunter who lives in Oxford, has worked with the Fairfield County Deer Alliance. Tucker founded "Hunt to Feed" in 2005. Last year the group donated more than 2,000 pounds of venison to the East Haven-based Connecticut Food Bank.

"People like taking care of the hungry and taking care of a natural resource that's out of control," Tucker said.

Aside from controlled hunts on private and public land, Wilton will consider sharp shooting, Sesto said.

Sharp shooting can benefit towns with an over-population of deer, according to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. The average deer density is 60 deer per square mile in Fairfield County, according to the most recent DEP aerial survey. Wilton has an average of 29 deer per square mile.

To perform the cull, sharp shooters work closely with local law enforcement. They use suppressed firearms and shoot only over bait in selected areas.

Overpopulation is directly linked to Lyme disease and deer-on-vehicle accidents. Moreover, too many deer threaten the biodiversity of forests.

"Wilton is really good about understanding the importance of lowering the deer population. We need to bring the eco-system in check," Sesto said. "We're not supposed to have this many deer. We are the last predator and we have to do our jobs as predators."

Eustace Tilley December 09, 2011 at 09:10 PM
My property abuts conservation land. There was a herd in my back yard a few years ago. One magnificant 14 point buck that could have pulled Santa's sleigh on his own...had a harem of 5-7 doe. Also a lonesome 12 point. Now I have a couple of chipmunks stuffed with acorn and a pack of howling coyotees off in the distance. No antelope to report
Kurt December 09, 2011 at 09:45 PM
And I'm not sure it is necessary to shoot deer. You know what I often hear from the hunters - that they hunt to save the wildflowers. That's right. Deer eat the flowers and these tough guy hunters are, I guess, suddenly interested in saving the poor defenseless flowers. Nature lovers they are. Except for the part where they shoot the deer.
Tony Silva September 17, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Hi my name is Tony Silva I'm a bowhunter for more than 15 year I hunt with my friends Brian Mucha and his fiance Amanda dupuis we all have all the courses for safety hunting. I'm a handyman and my friend are welder by trade and Amanda is a teacher of welding. If you want that we hunt your private land please give me a call at 1-413-682-4529 or a text my E-mail is tonysilva19680@gmail.com thank u very much and God bless you
peter veccharelli October 21, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I've been Archery hunting in Wilton for over 20 years now. Near route 102/Route 7 and the decline in deer is over done. The controled hunts are out of control. The deer needed to be thinned out at one time, but now I'm not so sure. I would see 6 to 10 deer 1 or two times every 3 hours of posting in a tree stand. Now I have been out 10 days strait, sometimes twice a day and I have only seen 2 deer. A Doe and her Fawn. My trail cameras also verify the decline in deer. The Hunts need to be slowed down in some areas and I'm sure increased in others. The problem I have with all controled hunts is the groups are so tight liped and in my opinion are keep to small groups that just want prime hunting area. I WORKED VERY HARD FOR MY PRIVATE PROPERTYS. HAVE YOU. I'm a retired Fire Fighter and I Hunt all over the country and have more time than most to hunt. So when I say I see a decline you should understand how I get my facts. Its from my time in the woods. I have 9 tree stands out and rotate through out them. All the same Wilton, Ridgefield, Easton, New Canaan and also Westcherster NY. If you need to get hunters on private property to manage deer then have the state place ALL hunters on a list, New students also and have that list used. Not private groups and clubs. If a test is need for shooting skills have it be done by the state. email pjveccharel@snet.net
john j devico December 31, 2012 at 04:27 PM
looken for help. i need a spot to hunt in conn.zone 10 & 11 for the january hunt.with the bow. my name is john j devico i am 52 years old been hunting for 30+ years.love to hunt i can get ref.in ny&conn.this is for deer & coyote if you can help call 845-590-0483 or email me at devicoj@ymail.com than you.have a good new year

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