Darien CT suspends town deer hunt indefinitely

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Darien CT suspends town deer hunt indefinitely

From Friends of Animals (FOA)
November 2011

By Susan Shultz, The Darien Times

Darien-based animal rights organization Friends of Animals has vocally opposed the hunt each year since it started in 2005. The organization also filed a formal complaint with the state’s Freedom of Information office regarding lack of response by the town to its requests for information regarding the Deer Management Commission.

The seventh town-sponsored deer cull, which was to start this week in Selleck’s Woods, has been suspended indefinitely by town counsel John Wayne Fox because of unresolved problems with the town deer commission and the town’s insurance.

In a press release from Kent Haydock, chairman of the Deer Management Commission, sent out Wednesday morning, he said the commission had been advised by Fox that the cull would be suspended “pending resolution of certain issues.”

“This does not affect hunting on private land, which accounts for the vast majority of annual deer reduction here,” Haydock wrote.

Outgoing First Selectman Dave Campbell told The Darien Times that the cull was suspended pending the resolution of some organizational problems with the commission in order for it to be covered under the town’s insurance plan.

Campbell said the commission had been operating “on its own,” appointing its own members and other organizational steps independent of the Board of Selectmen, which could go against the Town Charter. In order for it to be covered by town insurance, the commission would have to be more formalized and have appointees made by the board.

The deer commission has been accused of not abiding by the Freedom of Information Act.

Campbell said the cull will not be resumed this year and there’s a possibility a town-sponsored cull in Selleck’s Woods might be discontinued.

In Wednesday’s press release, Haydock apologized to residents surrounding Selleck’s Woods “who were again anticipating this special protection of their families and neighbors from deer-tick disease, dangerous deer-vehicle accidents, and loss of foliage due to continuing over-abundant deer.”

He also apologized to the bow hunters “who were donating their deer harvest to homeless shelters.”

In December 2010, the cull in Selleck’s Woods was cut short due to interference by some dog owners, Haydock said. It ended up killing six deer.