This year's controlled deer hunt in Ridgefield will be getting underway soon. 72 deer were culled from the herd in Ridgefield last year through a controlled hunt. The controlled hunt was started in 2006 as a way to try to reduce deer-borne ticks that spread Lyme Disease, to manage woodland destruction and lower the deer-car accidents.
First Selectman Rudy Marconi says the town has noticed a reduction in the number of deer-auto collisions, and a return of the understory. He says it was devastating to the town's open space and that was a big reason the hunt was started. Marconi says the deer were consuming and destroying the understory that supports other habitat.
Two parcels used last year, were removed from this year's inventory. The Deer Management Implementation Committee says 12 open space properties in Ridgefield will be hunted from October 12th through January 12th. Spectacle Swamp and the Scodon Drive/Phesant Lane have been removed from the hunt because few if any deer were taken on the properties. It was recommended that there be at least a year of rest from hunting those parcels. Three new sites were added: Stonecrest Open Space, Ridgebury Farms/Turner Hill and Prospect Ridge. They will be archery hunting only. Prospect Ridge was approved for only weekday morning hunting. The Prospect Ridge property lies between the Rail Trail and recreational sites such as soccer fields, the skating center, and the dog park.
Linden Road will also only be archery hunting this year.
A flyover with the state showed about 45 deer per square mile, if not greater. The goal is to get down to 20 or 25 deer per square mile, though Marconi says he doesn't know if the town will be able to achieve that.
The remaining sites approved by the selectmen were all properties hunted last year:
• Levy Park (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader) mornings only
• Laurel Lane (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader)
• Linden Lane (archery)
• Between Old Trolley and Shadow Lake (archery only)
• Reed park (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader)
• Keeler Court (archery)
• Ledges Open Space (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader)
• Shadow Lake (archery, shotgun, muzzleloader)
• Ridgefield Golf Course (archery, limited muzzleloader)