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Annual Controlled Deer Hunt Begins in Brookfield

According to estimates, each deer costs Brookfield residents $4,320 annually, or $4,718 per household.

With autumn comes the beginning of the annual controlled deer hunt in Brookfield — regulated bow hunting on town properties designed to cull the herd, which has gone from an estimated 10-12 per square mile in colonial times to more than 60 per square mile in Brookfield today.

To give an economic perspective of the impact this can have — from motor vehicle accidents to treatment and prevention of tick-borne diseases — a study from the Fairfield County Municipal Deer Alliance (FCMDA) estimates that overpopulation costs Fairfield County towns almost $180 million a year and an estimated $5,132,759 for Brookfield residents, or $4,718 per single-family household. [See chart attached.]

At approximately 19.8 square miles (excluding bodies of water) and, conservatively, 60 deer per square mile, there are some 1,188 deer in Brookfield. Divide $5,132,759 by the estimated deer population and each deer in Brookfield costs $4,320 annually in damages.

Deer not only eat shrubbery and cross roads unexpectedly at night, they are also breeding grounds for ticks, which carry diseases like Lyme and, more recently, Ehrlichiosis (Anaplasmosis) and Babesiosis, both of which have seen a recent up tick in reported cases, according to Brookfield Health Director Dr. Raymond Sullivan.

“We are seeing less and less Lyme disease and more and more of the other two,” he said. “There has been a big shift.”

Reported cases of Lyme in Brookfield dropped from 22 to 14 from 2010 to 2011, while instances of Ehrlichiosis tripled, from seven to 21, and cases of Babesiosis almost quadrupled, from four to 15.

The spread of these diseases is directly relatable to ticks and their ability to spawn on the growing deer population.

During their reproductive cycle, ticks need a steady supply of blood from a mammal and deer are the perfect hosts, Chairman of the regional HVCEO Lyme Disease Task Force and Brookfield resident (and former first selectman) Jerry Murphy explained, with 200-300 ticks in the average deer’s ear alone.

By controlling the deer population, Murphy is optimistic that the related tick-borne illnesses will go away, too.

“If we can get them down to 10 per square mile, tick diseases go away,” he said.

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The FCMDA estimates approximately $543,206 is spent annually treating Brookfield residents suffering from the short- and long-term effects of Lyme disease alone. That figure rises to over $19 million for all of Fairfield County.

“Fairfield County has a really big problem,” said Brookfield resident Russell Cornelius, founding member of the Brookfield Lyme Disease Task Force and local representative to FCMDA, who has been working to educate residents and communities about the dangers of tick-borne illnesses and the need to control deer populations.

There are three options when looking to reduce the population: relocation, contraception or hunting.

Relocation is not a viable option, according to Cornelius, as 40-50 percent tend to die in transit due to stress and areas to relocate the herds to are now almost non-existent.

Contraception is a more humane method, however it can be incredibly time consuming to track and spay or neuter enough deer to make a difference and is cost-prohibitive at over $1,000 per animal.

Brookfield has opted for the third option since 2008 with an annual “controlled hunt,” allowing bow hunters to set up in certain areas of town-owned property during the hunting season.  (No firearm hunting is allowed on town property.)

The hunts are “controlled,” Cornelius explained, since the hunters are “as cautious and safe as possible,” positioned in the trees and shooting at a downward angle (“Not running around the forest shooting at anything that moves”) and attract the deer to specific areas using feeders.

“If you were just walking through the woods — to the untrained eye — you wouldn’t even see them,” he said.

They are also required to carry insurance and registered with the town for a permit.

Cornelius said the hunters take approximately 50-60 deer during an average season.

“It’s little more than a token effort,” he admitted, “But it’s something.”

Cornelius said he would like to see the town’s deer population managed by a professional entity, such as the U.S. Department of Wildlife Services or private companies like White Buffalo that specialize in ecosystem management.

Until that time, Cornelius welcomes any interested hunters to contact him about hunting on his private property in Brookfield (775-8010) or any of the 800 acres of town land open during the season.

Hunting season started September 15 and runs through January 31.

Steven DeVaux October 27, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Why? Post the land as No Trespassing and shoot anything that does. More than reasonable notice and most fair. After all, a man's home and land is his castle!
Natalie Jarnstedt October 27, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Monhegan Island is a joke - there are signs on the trails STILL warning hikers about watching for the blacklegged ticks that STILL transmit the spirocehet bacterium because dozens of small mammals carry it. Mumford Cove is just that, a cove...limited access. Hunting on open land is a totally different story! Killing deer is not the answer because in their absence, ANY mid-sized mammal will do for the ticks' final last meal prior to laying eggs. Studies have shown this to be true - but what the heck, who cares about science and studies when one can just blabber away about things without proof.....
jim lumento January 06, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I am sure you will agree that murder is murder. I am sure you will be in the front of the line extending your grief to the families of those who parished as a result of a tick infection or a fatal accident caused by a wandering deer. "Innocent Creature", You may want to look up the definition. In closing, please make your check payable to the state to compensate the residents of Brookfield $4700.00 for the damage an out of control deer population causes each year.
jim lumento January 06, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Steven, pull them out. Dig them out. Are you for real?
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 05:53 PM
A medium yield thermo nuclear device could clear out the deer, the ticks, lyme disease, homosapien over population, assault weapons and invasive plant species all in one very neat move taking mere seconds if you're worried about efficiency. And the EMP should solve any radio usage as well. And it wouldn't discriminate politically either.
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Was I factually incorrect regarding the removal of the projectile used to terminate said deer? Oh great. Now they'll be seeking a ban on assault arrows.
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Andrew is right! We need a effective weapon to kill off all the mice. Release the cats! And when the feral felons overpopulate, release the hounds!
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:12 PM
For the Vegans, the government has introduced Agent Orange as a containment of choice. Good luck.
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:13 PM
The Indians did it...West, not East.
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Two and a half months latter, the answer now appears to be guns and mental illness. The ends justify the means apparently for some.
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Rob, I think those cell-phone wielding women need to be incarcerated for a minimum of 1 year for the all the deaths and damage they cause. The evidence is clear as looking at their cell phone record to gain a conviction. Personally a ban on cell phones will keep the deadly devices in check and help save lives and prevent the slaughter of innocents by these cell phone wielding parents! I wish I could help you with the old men. Sorry.
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:22 PM
...well it's three months later and they didn't take my suggestions. Anyway add: Ban Guns, knives, bows and arrows, bowling balls and shoelaces Incarcerate suspected mental defectives Prosecute cell phone using drivers who attempt to kill people with inattention
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Anything worth doing is worth regulating.
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:28 PM
See what happened when they took your advice?
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 06:37 PM
And there is the Right to Mental Illnes folks. Have to defend their right, no?
Lucia January 06, 2013 at 06:40 PM
jim lumento - I can see that you are truly an animal lover. You certainly do over-react to comments made that you do not agree with. It would probably be your wish that all wildlife be extinguished. If you're so worried about ticks you will have to slaughter all birds since they also carry dear ticks along with mice, shrews, chipmunks, voles, raccoon, opossum, squirrels, cats, dogs, horses, cattle and human beings.
Lucia January 06, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Rob Gianazza, let's call it what it is - killing innocent animals. If it were "culling" it would be something picked out from others, especially something rejected because of inferior quality. When hunters hunt, whether or not they are even qualified to do so, they do not pick out the "inferior" animals, they want the big buck with a great rack. Don't try to sugarcoat what is really going on, there's no culling involved.
Atuno January 06, 2013 at 07:37 PM
jim lumento - there's no reason to mock "murder" - and for the record, that supposed amount that Brookfield residents have to "supposedly" dish out for deer damge - have you even any idea whence it came? I bet not - there is no such amount established.. The "study/research" was done in NJ a few years ago, a questionnaire was sent to about 350 people who have had deer conflicts - then this so-called study was used by the FCMDMA to blanket the CT area, extrapolating the data, based on town/city numbert of residents, making everyone believe that each town/city had done research in their communities - NOT! So, before you cite any such bogus amounts of damage, do your homework.
Atuno January 06, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Response to tickhunter, who sees no problem with "managing" deer for the purpose of hunting. Are you for real? Do you understand that while "managing" deer in order to keep their numbers at a nice high level for hunters to enjoy, the samer people (DEEP) are talking from the other side of their mouths, that there are too many deer that cause accidents and Lyme disease. And, since they are the ones who "manage" deer for the hunters, shouldn't they be also responsible for any damages incurred from car accident, Lyme disease, and people's tulips being eaten?
Steven DeVaux January 06, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Who owns these deer anyway? Should some legislator simply pass a leash law?
Rob Gianazza January 06, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Lucia, many people make that same argument about abortion. That it is the killing of innocent children.
Rob Gianazza January 06, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Thank you for your kind words Steve, but I love and support freedom. It is not the fault of the cell phone. It is the fault of the driver using the cell phone that failed to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. We already have laws against distracted driving. We cannot legislate common sense, nor can we legislate all of our problems away.
Cole February 04, 2014 at 09:21 PM
Does anyone know if this program is still in effect? If so, I would appreciate a call with any information you can provide. I live in Milwaukee and would love to find some local hunting, as well as help out the community. 608-225-7888.
Lucia February 05, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Cole, stay in Milwaukee, we've got enough idiots to content with here in Brookfield.
Cole February 05, 2014 at 10:39 AM
Lucia, I haven't read all the above comments but from browsing over them see this has turned into a debate. I'm not looking to get into that, nor am I an idiot. I am a respectful, responsible hunter who simply loves the outdoors...and yes, hunting. I also see the value in this program. I work in Brookfield and several nights a week a co-worker or myself almost hits a deer leaving work. In addition, this program allows people who love hunting but have limited means and time to do so locally. So if anyone has any useful information on how to get involved, I'd appreciate you letting me know. Thanks, Cole.
Atuno February 05, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Cole, if you live in Milwaukee and work in Brookfield, isn't that quite a commute? Can you make up your mind where you belong? I would agree with Lucia, and I also recommend that you stay in Wisconsin and away from Fairfield County (we have enough yahoos ) - I understand that they have lots of hunting opportunities.
Rob Gianazza February 05, 2014 at 12:05 PM
Cole, I apologize for the rudeness of some of the people who post their opinions. This is Brookfield, Connecticut not Brookfield, Wisconsin. You have to understand that many people here are afraid of guns, gun ownership, hunting or anything at all related to firearms. Hence they make immature and rude comments. These are the anti-gun zealots that you've undoubtedly heard about. Again, I apologize, I can't tell you how embarrassed I am that these people will likely form your opinion of our town.
Atuno February 05, 2014 at 12:16 PM
Rob, Fairfield County is prominently mentioned in this article - what are the chances of there being a Fairfield County in WI, pray tell? I do believe that gun use does take away some gray cells.....
Cole February 05, 2014 at 01:17 PM
LOL well folks, I apologize for the confusion. I was referring to Brookfield, WI. A friend sent me the link as we were talking about this type of thing the other day. Atuno, your comment actually made me laugh...very classy. I'm sorry if you've had a bad experience with a hunter that made you stoop to posting immature, irrelevant comments on your community's blog (i.e. "can you make up your mind where you belong"). Hunting is a basic human instinct and one that you will not be able to turn off in certain people. I prefer to eat meat that I have harvested, as is the reason behind hunting for many of my friends. Also, the harvesting of a deer is done in a much more respectful way than is done with cows. Maybe someone with the right mindset can take you hunting, and you'll see there's much more to it than the kill. Take care.
Atuno February 05, 2014 at 02:42 PM
Cole:" Maybe someone with the right mindset can take you hunting, and you'll see there's much more to it than the kill." No thanks, hon - it'll never happen - my father was a hunter, he grew up with it, and gave it up for very good reasons! And it wasn't some bad experience that led me to my beliefs...I absolutely agree with many who posted very valid and logical, based on science, arguments against it on this forum, if you'd care to read.

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