Trumbull resident Chris Coulter is not a fan of Bambi.
Deer have been damaging his yard on Reading Road, he says. His home is near Great Oak Park, which is undeveloped forest.
"At times we've see up to six to eight deer in our yard. Lately they appear throughout the day at all hours. They've come up to within I'd say about 2-3 feet from our house! There are numerous piles of droppings all over the yard and they obviously munch on all kinds of flowers and plants. They simply destroy foliage. They used to be skittish, and would run away, now they just stare at you when you say "shoo"! They've become quite brazen," he said.
"It's funny, when I was a kid, you didn't see them much, and when you did it
was 'Oh how cute, how beautiful...' Now I despise them and I feel they're a
definite menace and need to be controlled," he added.
According to the Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance, as of August 2010, the economic impact of deer on Trumbull, in several categories, was calculated at:
- $8.8 million in environment and landscape;
- About $682,000 in motor vehicle;
- $1.5 million in tick control;
- $830,914 in tick-borne diseases, for a total of $11,820,930;
- $337 per capita, and $1,077 for a single-family household.
Trumbull has a real issue with deer, according to Pam Georgas, Chairwoman of the Trumbull Nature & Arts Commission and a DEEP Master Wildlife Conservationist.
"Deer in Fairfield County far exceed the recommended population (we have around 30+ per square mile), so it is a serious problem. Deer are considered generalist, so if populations are high they will eat whatever is available. There are some plants that they prefer, and eat like potato chips, and others they would choose as a second course," she said.
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"Although high levels would likely have to be ingested in large quantities to have an effect, toxic plants can deter deer into leaving a plant alone. Plants with high aromas are less desirable to deer. Deer do not like fuzzy foliage. Plants with thorns and needles can also be less likely disturbed," she added.
Fencing is another solution, but should be more than eight feet tall, according to Georgas.
"You can install string running along the top of your fence or attach balloons, both of which they do not like. There are are ultrasonic devices out there now on the market, but the effectiveness has not really been evaluated," she said.
Deer can also wreak havoc on forests.
"At high populations they can do serious damage to forests, and plant diversity, and have negative impact on the survival of other wildlife species. Because deer don' t have many natural predators and deer have a high potential for reproduction, they can effectively double their population in two years' time. Historic trend; we went from 12 deer in 1896 to an estimated 126,000 in 2006," Georgas said.
So Coulter, who has lived in house for 30 years, is considering a fence.
"It looks like after over 30 years of owning my house here, I'm going to have
to shell out money to get fencing installed, which MAYBE will help," he said.
Finally, he noted, "My wife accidentally hit a deer last year in our area,
as did my daughter's boyfriend. The (scenic) Merritt Pky is consistently
littered with dead car-stricken deer. And I should say we see the deer in
our yard EVERY day."