New Canaan, along with other towns in Fairfield County, is working to manage the deer population in a way that will see less of the typically gentle beasts scampering about town.
Not only can deer carry ticks that spread Lyme disease, they are also quite expensive animals to have around, according to Fairfield County's Deer Alliance.
Deer are expensive:
Given that New Canaan is approximately 22 sq. miles (excluding bodies of water), and that there are, conservatively, 66 deer per square mile, there are 1,452 deer in New Canaan. Divide $6,182,538 by the estimated New Canaan deer population, and it turns out that each deer in New Canaan costs $4,258 in damages—and that’s the conservative estimate.
Maryann Kleinschmitt of and the Deer Committee says the estimate could be more around 68 to 72 head of deer per square mile.
"If we could get that down to 10 or 12 head of deer per square mile, we would be able to get rid of lyme disease 100 percent," estimated Kleinschmitt.
Kleinschmitt backs this theory up with an incident on an island off the coast of Maine with a whopping 13 percent of their population suffering from Lyme disease. The community voted to decrease the number of deer heads on the island from 100 per square mile to zero and, withing five years, the number of cases of Lyme disease too dwindled to zero.
According to Kleinschmitt, the most effective means of deer management at this time is hunting them.
"It would cost close to $2,000 per deer to be able to try to secure a deer and give them a shot so they wouldn't reproduce. It's just not cost effective and this is from Cornell University research," said Kleinschmitt.
Residents who wish to have a hunter come to their property to hunt deer are encouraged to contact Kleinschmitt, who profiles archers that must first provide their archery permit, hunting license and driver's license to Kleinschmitt. Only residents whose homes are situated on 10 or more acres of land are elligible to have hunter come to their property with a firearm.
Kleinschmitt estimated that around 40 people have requested a hunter on their property so far this season. She says that the three main issues involving deer in New Canaan at this time are: lyme disease, deforestation, and deer vs. vehicle accidents.
Hunting season officially begins on Sept. 15 and lasts until Jan. 31.
Kleinschmitt, who has been with New Canaan Animal Control for 12 years and currently serves on the deer committee, can be reached for further information on deer management starting July 9 at (203) 594-3510.